Who we are

The Australian Community Industry Alliance (acia) is the peak body for Community Service providers and Independent Community Service Users across Australia.

Our story

The Australian Community Industry Alliance (acia), formally The Attendant Care Industry Association (acia), journey began in 2005 when a dedicated group of of Service Providers recognised the need for an independent organisation, that represents and supports non-government organisations in the Community Services Sector providing services to benefit of people with disability, those with complex or long-term care needs and aged care service users living in the community. acia was established as a peak industry body to address key issues facing this expanding industry. Supported by a grant from the Motor Accident Authority of NSW and under the auspice of the Westmead Brain Injury Unit, acia was established to promote and implement the vision of what was then recognised as an attendant care industry that is known and respected as a provider of quality services that enhances outcomes for service users. While acia commenced as an NSW based association, it is now a national organisation with a national agenda. Today, acia remains the only organisation of its kind in Australia.

acia’s vision is that the Home and Community Services Industry is known as a provider of quality services to community members requiring support in both the disability and aged care sectors.

To achieve this vision, acia provides education, resources and support to the industry, as well as developing and administering its own quality standard (endorsed by the Joint Accreditation System for Australia and New Zealand JAS-ANZ).

Board Of Directors

Daryl Lamb Chairperson

Registered as a Psychologist with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Thirty four years’ experience across Victoria and Tasmania in the management and delivery of community services. Over this period specific focus in various periods on mental health, disability, children and family, alcohol and other drug, housing and homelessness services.

Chair of Families and Children Tasmania Board. Currently Chairperson of acia.

Elise Wardell Vice Chairperson - Southern Cross

With more than 16 years experience in the Community Healthcare Industry, Elise Wardell is the current CEO at Southern Cross.

Before working in the Community Healthcare Industry, Elise worked in the Corporate Sector within large organisations to support large-scale change management, process re-engineering and business systems to accommodate corporate acquisition/divestment activities.

Damon Ashton Treasurer, Director Client Services – Care 1

Damon has enjoyed long working relationships within the disability sector (25 years’ experience) including but not limited to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (formerly the Spastic Centre of NSW), Australian Quadriplegic Association and the Home Care Service of NSW.
These incredible organisations introduced me to some amazing people and some great ideas that helped shape the company I started in 2006. I have worked in various positions during my career including direct care and operational management.

Sunil Bhakri Director – ADS Care

As CEO of ADS Care started the company with my wife Anjna in 2012 and has full responsibility for the organisations operations and performance.

As a small organisation, Sunil’s role is all encompassing, working across all aspects of the organisation, ranging from policies, finances, human resources, management, quality and technology.

As a service provider ADS Care is approved to provide services to a number of government organisations
within Sydney and regional parts of NSW.

Sunil takes on the hands-on side of the role and occasionally works in the field with participants and support workers to maintain an understanding of their day to day challenges and successes.

Earl Schonberger Director – Only Care

Unique multi-faceted experience in the Disability sector – service delivery, consumer, advocacy, tech, fundraising and support of NFPs

CEO – Only Care – Disability Service Provider – established in 2017.

25 years as a ‘consumer’ in the disability sector as a parent of a child with a very complex physical disability.

20+ years on the committee of Leukodystrophy Australia – a peak body national Disability Support Group.

Advocate and spokesperson on behalf of persons impacted by complex physical disability.

B AppSc (Computing)

Tatum Steers Director - Head of Quality, Accommodation and Care Solutions

Tatum Steers – Bachelor of Commerce (HR & Marketing). Currently completing the Juris Doctor.

Tatum is an experienced Quality, Risk and Compliance Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the health care, education and not-for-profit sectors.

Specific to the community sector, Tatum has held various senior positions including Operations Manager and Head of Quality at aged and disability care providers operating throughout Australia.

Nikole Giles-Dickinson Director - Disability Accommodation Australia

Nikole holds Post Graduate qualifications in Critical Care and worked in Intensive Care for many years before moving into the Disability Sector after the introduction of the NDIS scheme.

Nikole brings extensive disability experience, as well as a comprehensive understanding of NDIS framework, and a strong working knowledge of the SDA funding space. Nikole has a well-documented management background, and a unique understanding of the complexities surrounding accommodation in the disability space.
Nikole is a passionate advocate of choice and control and understands the need for participants to have access to appropriate housing options, to maintain independence and the right to live in fit for purpose accommodation that meets the individual’s needs.

Lyn Franco CEO - ACIA

Lyn Franco CEO acia – RN, B.Hlth.Serv.Mgt, MBA

Lyn has over 30 years’ experience in health services holding a number of senior management roles in both the public and private hospital sectors before moving to state management roles in both the disability and aged care sectors. Prior to joining acia as CEO early in 2018 she held the position of Head of Service Development with Australian Unity whilst serving on the acia Board over a 10 period.

Our Objectives

To represent and advance the knowledge and practice of Community Service Industry in Australia by:

  • Enhancing the professionalism of community services by identifying, supporting, promoting and advising on best practice in the sector through policy development, education and quality certification.

  • Advocating for and promoting the delivery of quality service provision for the public benefit.

  • Raising awareness and profile of sector

  • Advocating for the development and implementation of appropriate legislation, policies, practices and programs relevant to the sector at national, state and local levels encouraging intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration between service providers, policy makers and researchers.

To achieve objectives, acia:

  • Conducts education and training and convenes industry forums.

  • Develops acia policies/position papers and guidelines on relevant topics that are a reference point for community service providers and government organisations.

  • Has developed a quality management system scheme, standard and certification program (the ACIS), specifically for the community services industry that has been endorsed by the accreditation body the Joint Accreditation System of Australian and New Zealand ( JAS-ANZ).

  • Publishes monthly newsletters and email alerts for members/stakeholders.

  • Provides industry representation on government advisory committees.

  • Responds to government policy initiatives/proposal.

  • Provides consultancy services to the Community sector on the delivery of quality services.

Our Alliances

acia places a high value on its strategic partnerships and representation on a range of government advisory groups and non-government alliances, including:

  • The National Aged Care Alliance – The Alliance is a representative body of peak national organisations in aged care, including consumer groups, providers, unions and health professionals, working together to determine a more positive future for aged care in Australia. acia is represented as Chair of the Aged Care Quality Group.

  • The Lifetime Care and Support Authority Advisory Council – The role of the Advisory Council is to advise the Minister on matters relating to the Lifetime Care and Support Scheme.

  • EnableNSW Advisory Council (NSW Health) – The Council comprises members with knowledge, skills and experience from both a consumer and service delivery perspective across all EnableNSW programs.

  • National Disability Insurance Scheme Provider Reference Group

  • AAG Reablement Expert Reference Group

  • Perform HR

  • Shanahan Tudhope Lawyers

  • Grant Thornton

  • Gallaghers

Our Project Partners

Strategic Partners

We would love to hear from you !

acia welcomes and encourages any feedback or questions regarding our services and membership.

Contact Us