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.

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 Consultant

Tatum Steers – Bachelor of Commerce (HR & Marketing).

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.

Sue Cudmore General Manager, Operations - Recruitment Solutions

Sue is a Registered Nurse, previously specialised in Paediatric and Neonatal care, with a Post Graduate Certificate in Neonatal Intensive Care and a Masters of Public Health (UNSW).

Sue was selected to participate in a Leadership Scholarship Program (Disability Sector) – funded by NSW Department of Families and Community Services in 2014.

Sue is the businesses lead subject matter expert on home care and disability support, and leads the organisations Risk, Clinical Governance and Quality functions. Sue has previously been a lead consultant providing onsite quality and accreditation support services to a number of hospitals and community centres, and has facilitated a number of hospital governance committees.

Dr. Nicole Brooke CEO - ACIA

Nicole has a strong background in clinical governance, corporate governance, workforce, clinical leadership, quality management and compliance, education and supervision, safeguarding, diversity and advocacy, operational management, research, and government relations. Nicole has more than 25 years’ experience across residential, community and disability care sectors including commencing as a support worker and progressing as a Registered Nurse, Director of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer.

Nicole has an academic background which includes the completion of a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Case Management in Care, Masters of Education, Masters of Leadership, Graduate Certificate in Research Commercialisation and Bachelor of Nursing. She additionally holds qualifications in auditing, policy development, workplace training, return to work, workplace health and safety, food safety, training, and immunisation, and has a passion for career development and community outreach.

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