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Organisation Overview

Autism SA is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and registered as a charity. Our Board of Directors is structured to represent the interests of the autism spectrum community and bring a range of expertise to ensure the effective governance of Autism SA.  

In accordance with requirements of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act), on 30 May 2018 the Autism Association of South Australia lodged its annual compliance report with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.  The report is available to download here.

Message from the Chair

Mr Troy Mohler

Last year I described the past year as one of continued change for Autism SA; this continues to be true. We always knew that this year would be a year of transformation, not just for Autism SA, but for the whole disability sector.

The Board had anticipated that the level of change required for 2017/2018 would necessitate significant re-investment back into the organisation. To accomplish this, we forecast a significant deficit to fund the required transformation. It soon became apparent that this would not be sufficient to continue to transform, and meet increasing demand and an evolving National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding model.

The changes to the disability sector by NDIS have been more challenging than many foresaw. This is evidenced by the number of mergers that have occurred in the sector, along with major remodelling of some businesses, and decisions to cease providing services in a number of key areas, including peak body activities.

The adaption of block funded not-for-profits into more commercially focused organisations will continue to present the sector with significant hurdles. At Autism SA we still have many challenges to overcome, both internally and externally. Despite the level of transformation still ongoing we are forecasting a positive result for 2018/19 from our hard work, as efficiencies are expected to be achieved and new opportunities are realised.

Last year I spoke of a new paradigm being required, to function like a commercial entity to be sustainable, whilst not losing sight of the organisation’s mission and vision. This still holds firm and any organisation in the sector that cannot adapt, may not survive in the new environment.  

Whilst the NDIS presents the autism community opportunity to finally receive the service and support that they desperately need, the challenge to the sector is to ensure that all the required services are delivered in a sustainable and effective manner. One challenge for Autism SA is to determine how to continue some of the much needed work and services that it provides to the sector, despite these not being funded under the NDIS.

The financial stress imposed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) onto organisations in the disability sector cannot be understated, with the need to fund service gaps and manage the increased transactional load. But those organisations with the will and capability to transform, as well as an asset base to act as a safety net, will survive. Agility will remain a key attribute of organisations that will prosper in the new environment.  

The Board is intensely focused on ensuring that the organisation delivers its services in an effective and sustainable way. The past year has seen significant change in the leadership of Autism SA as the CEO builds the team capable of developing and implementing the change required. The Board will continue to work with the Leadership Team and staff at Autism SA to ensure the success of Autism SA to the betterment of our community.

I would like to pay tribute to the staff of Autism SA. They are the real stars of the organisation, working with our community to help those on the spectrum live the best life they can. I would like to thank them for their patience and commitment as the organisation undergoes continued change to adapt and transform to the new disability market.

I would like to thank Brad Manuel, who regretfully resigned in late 2017 due to work commitments. Brad provided valuable input and insight to the Board with his background in the sector as well as his commercial acumen and experience. I wish Brad all the best for the future.

The Board

The Board of the Autism SA accepts overall responsibility for the corporate governance of the organisation and is committed to ensuring that the principles of good governance are implemented with integrity. The current Board as at 2017/18 Financial Year is comprised as follows:


Jenny Karavolos B.Acc, CPA, MBA (Brooke Scholar), AIPM Company Secretary
Troy Mohler B.Com, GAICD, MBA Board Appointed Director
Ben Willington B.Com, CA, Registered Company Auditor Board Appointed Director
Luke Dale B.Com, LLB (Hons), GDLP, Notary Public Board Appointed Director    
Voula Nisyrios  B.Sc (H), MAICD Client Representative Director
Brad Manuel B.Psych, MBA Board Appointed Director
Donna Dias AdvDipBusAdmin, Dip ECECD, Dip Bus, Dip FI&SW, Cert IV CS, Cert CM Client Representative Director
Julie McMillan PhD, MEd, BTeach Board Appointed Director  

 the 2017/18 Autism SA Annual Report here

Autism SA Disability Access and Inclusion Plan

Autism SA has recently developed an new Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP). It demonstrates our commitment to improving the participation of people with disability across a range of areas.

DAIPs provide a systematic approach for organisations to identify and address barriers to access and inclusion and develop strategies that meet the participation and service needs of people with disability. The plans are active documents that recognise community and cultural diversity and acknowledge the valuable contribution of everyone to the social and economic fabric of our society. Click here to read the plan.