CEO's Message

Welcome to this shortened newsletter for April. We are making last minute preparations for our national conference in Canberra next week, and I look forward to seeing many of members and friends there. We are very pleased that registrations are now approaching 200 and tipped to exceed that figure.

In the past week the date of a double dissolution election has been flagged by the Prime Minister for 2 July 2016. Although this date cannot be formally set until the Governor General dissolves Parliament, and this won't happen until after 10 May, everyone is in election mode. In this edition we highlight the work done by the National Aged Care Alliance on its election platform, which does include housing and home modifications. At the conference MOD.A will be formulating its own election platform with the help of our members and delegates. More details of the process by which delegates can contribute will be provided at the conference.

The conference will be addressing the key question of how reforms in the aged care and disability sectors will impact on the home modifications secto. We look forward to hearing from the Department of Health and the National Disability Insurance Agency on how they see the sector responding to these changes.

MOD.A continues to grow as a national organisation - we now have members in all states and the ACT. We're also very please that there will be member delegates at the conference from all states and the ACT.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter and look forward to seeing you in Canberra!.

Michael Bleasdale CEO

MOD.A 2016 Conference

The MOD.A 2016 National Conference, Modifying the Home - Building | Inclusion | Practice, will take place next week at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 April. We look forward to seeing a large number of our members and other delegates there for two days of discussion about what is current in our sector.

The conference is timely as we are we progress through the most significant reforms in both aged care and disability services ever seen in Australia. Despite the changes happening around us we are still not fully aware of where home modifications will fit in the final version of home based aged care in 2018, nor the approach that the NDIA will take to rolling out its home modification programme nationally. We have an opportunity at the conference to hear directly from departmental officials who are charged with making these programmes work, and to ask specific questions about how home modifications will operate in the future.

If you would like to pre-prepare questions you can do so and send them to Michael at These will be provided to the conference MC, Mr Glen Sorensen, to present to the relevant speaker as appropriate.

At the end of day one we will be serving drinks in the Exhibition Hall and all conference delegates are invited to attend. During this time we will take the opprtunity to engage with delegates and begin formulating our election platform. This election will see the establishment of a government that will be in power and making budget decisions when aged care reforms are completed and the NDIS has been fully rolled out. As an industry we need to identify what we believe is necessary to ensure that the services we provide can continue, improve and expand when these reforms are complete. The election platform will be a statement that we can posit directly to all parties/candidates contesting both houses. The conference provides the perfect opportunity for members and other stakeholders to provide direct input into our final document.

It will no doubt be said at the conference, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Conference Organising Committee, which is made up of MOD.A staff, Sandi Lightfoot-Collins, Ray Dooley and Reena Masrani, Board members Bryan Molan and Catherine Bridge, and Sue Salthouse from Didactice Enterprises in the ACT. Thank you for all the hard work, advice and guidance provided in putting the conference program toget5her. Thank you also to our conference managers Arinex, who will be very much in evidence over the two days providing assistance to delegates.

International News

In the last newsletter we reported on work being done by Foundations, the national network of home improvement agencies in the United Kingdom, to highlight the benefits of adaptations (modifications) to recipients and to authorities, in the form of savings. Paul Smith, Director of Foundations, will be speaking at MOD.A's national conference in Canberra on 28 and 29 April as a Keynote. His presentation will provide an overview of how they are addressing the challenges of an ageing population in the UK.

Foundations and the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) have recently published a report of a joint workshop held to discuss how the key funding mechanism for adaptations, the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), can be improved and deliver more high quality services which benefit individuals and the health and social service systems. Building on examples of good practice and innovation within their member organisations, the report focuses on how delays can be addressed by fast-tracking processes and bringing the different elements within a home adaptation process closer together. This point is raised again in an article which responds to a Local Government Ombudsman report critical of the administration of the DFG resulting in service user distress. Foundations and COT are pressing for co-location of OTs and the home improvement agencies, to improve referral processes and cut down timeframes in the design and build phases, a model which forms the centerpiece of the industry here in Australia. 

The report recommends discretion around charging a fee for smaller modifications - there is no means test applied for work currently under the value of £1,000 (approx. A$1,850) - and perhaps extending this to avoid delay and ensuring work gets done. This demonstrates a different approach to charging client contributions than is currently the case in Australia, and it would be useful to look at whether this has a positive impact on the take-up of the smaller jobs in the UK relative to here.

Both the article and the report are worth reading, and no doubt will form some of the content of Paul's Keynote address on the first day of the conference.

National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) Position Statement for the 2016 Federal Election

The National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) has just released its Position Statement for the 2016 Federal Election - a roadmap that will enable older Australians to age with dignity and independence in a place of their choice with equitable access to affordable supports and care. As a member organisation MOD.A has emphasised the importance of the home and ensuring its continuing suitability as a person ages in place and actively contributed to the position NACA has taken on Blueprint Area 14, that focuses on housing. We support the Alliance advocating for a COAG led strategy to implement age friendly housing (eg: dementia friendly, age adaptive features, modifications and assistive technology) and will continue to feed into NACA evidence of the efficacy of home modifications from both Australian and international research.

The Position Statement will shortly be made available on the NACA website in their section on Aged Care Reform. If organisations and individuals wish to support it, and/or wish to keep up to date with election activities, they can sign up to the AgeWell Campaign.

Aged Care Resources for Providers and Consumers

The Department of Health have made available resources for service providers and consumers to update and inform them about changes happening within aged care. See the News and Updates section under Ageing and Aged Care, currently on the DSS website:

We are told that information will be regularly updated with fact sheets, videos and presentations. In coming months there will be a particular focus on resources to support providers and consumers to understand the home care reforms including progress of the Increasing Choice in Home Care changes and what stakeholders need to know. Feedback on the content available on the website can be given to

The development of resources to support, prepare and inform service providers and consumers of changes is important to a new, national and centralised system like My Aged Care (MAC). Its commencement in July 2015 together with the changes brought in by the introduction of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) has proved challenging for the delivery of home modifications and maintenance services. Information and public awareness of how these services operate in the new systems is still limited and in some cases inaccurate. MOD.A would like to see a more widespread public information campaign with easily accessible information for consumers on any services they may need to access, including home modifications and home maintenance.

Sector Notices - Positions Vacant

Scope Home Access is a large NFP service provider of home modification and maintenance services (Allied Health and construction) to the Disability and Aged Care communities across the Illawarra, South-Eastern NSW, Hunter/New England regions and the ACT.  They are in an exciting growth period with the aged care and disability reforms bringing with them opportunities for diversity and innovation in the services they provide. The service currently has the following vacancies.

Administration Officer (Client Services) Permanent, FT (35 hrs/week) -South-coast NSW office

We are seeking a highly motivated Administration Officer to work with our expanding team providing service to our South Coast NSW clients. Candidates will preferably have some knowledge of the aged care/disability sectors. Our new office and soon-to- be Home Modification Centre is located in Wandandian, just 15 minutes from the sparkling waters of Jervis Bay.  Interested in a 'sea change'? Call Catherine Wade on (02) 4443 5871 for further information.

Carpenter Permanent, FT (38 hrs/week) ACT office

For this position, the ACT and surrounds provide the opportunity for an exciting 'tree change'. A great company culture mixed with excellent resourcing and training opportunities is available to an experienced construction team member (carpenter), working out of our Mitchell, ACT office. If you take pride in providing quality work and have an understanding of the issues facing people with a disability, we'd love to hear from you. For more information call Bill Cooper on (02) 4821 9634.



Home Modifications Australia (MOD.A) National Conference - National Convention Centre, Canberra, 28-29 April 2016.

Webinar: Ehancements to the My Aged Care system and an update on the ACAT transition. May 2016 (date to be confirmed).

ACS State Conference - Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney. 4-5 May 2016.

Understanding and Surviving the CHSP and Home Care Package Reforms - Melbourne, 12 May 2016. Brisbane, 19 May 2016.

Claiming a Positive Future: the power of possibility. Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane. 20-21 May 2016.

National Care Facilities Expo - Sydney, 20-22 May 2016.

International Dementia Conference. Grand Designs: "Are we there yet?" Sydney 16-17 June, 2016.

International Federation on Ageing 13th Global Conference, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, 21-23 June 2016.

11th Annual Associations Forum National Conference, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne. 4-5 July 2016.

Australian Assistive Technology Conference: Collaborate, Empower, Transform - Realising opportunities with assistive technology solutions, Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Gold Coast, Queensland, 27-29 July 2016.

Active Ageing Conference 2016: Wellness, reablement and restorative care in aged care. Swissotel, Sydney, 4 August 2016.

Universal Design Conference, Sydney Town Hall, 30 -31 August 2016.

ACSA 2016 National Summit. Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, 6-9 September 2016.

Free online courses on disability and a good life

Disability and a Good Life: Thinking through Disability (commences 16th May).

Disability and a Good Life: Working with Disability (commences1st August).

For further information contact Leanne Dowse or see more here.

Grants/funding opportunities

In 2016 Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across all industry sectors. From 10 February 2016 the initiative will provide women in all industry sectors with grants for leadership development. More specifically, grant applications are open to women employed in all sectors at two levels. The deadline for expressing your interest for this funding in your sector ends on 29 April 2016.

  1. Senior Management and Executive level Women Leaders can apply for $12,000 Individual Grants to undertake the Advanced Leadership Program.
  2. Women Managers can apply for $5,000 Individual Grants to undertake the Accelerated Leadership Performance Program.

For further details or to obtain or submit an Expression of Interest Form please contact Ian Johnson at the office of the National Industry Scholarship Program, Australian School of Applied Management on 03 9270 9016 or via