As we look back on another year, we thank our supporters, partners, members, volunteers, clients, and staff.

You can find our most recent annual report here. 

At our AGM, we were fortunate to have Minister Bill Shorten speak to MVLS. A Moonee Valley local, he was generous enough to take the time to inform us about his work in disability services.

At the last election, Bill Shorten committed to tackle the legacy cases in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, where the average waiting time for decisions is 32 weeks. The government has brought in independent experts with disability backgrounds to review NDIS decisions, such reviews costing $10,750 compared to the $30,000 average cost with the AAT. The success of this is that costs were reduced by $15 million and 90% of cases were resolved – saving substantial hassle for vulnerable Australians, and freeing them from a complex and length the legal appeals system.

Minister Shorten expressed his aims to reform the NDIS , which is forecast to grow 8% a year. He aims to focus on early interventions and greater support for parents. This intention is sparked by the agency currently only having 4,000 workers, rushing decisions to service 600,000 people. These reforms aim to create a better NDIS experience where decisions are made more transparently and quickly in an attempt to humanise the system and treat people as legitimate. The NDIS also provides a new employment pathway – there now being 325,000 people who put down as their primary role as working in NDIS related occupation, and we see with many residents from housing estates in Moonee Valley re-enter the workforce via disability services.

Bill also spoke about his commitment to the community legal sector, including his own experience working for 6 months at a community legal service.

We were also joined by guest Jim Berg, patron of ‘The Torch. Jim (and wife Kylie) are also proud Moonee Valley locals.

Jim was the founder of the Koori Heritage Trust Inc and was involved in the establishment of the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. Additionally, he is an author, chair of the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council, served as a council member for 2 years, was a member of the Adult Parole board and was an elder on the Koori Court. He is dedicated to supporting incarcerated indigenous community members which he does currently with ‘The Torch’. The Torch provides art and cultural support to First Nations people currently in or released from Victorian Prisons, with the aim of reducing the rate of reoffending through the exploration of culture through art. It is a fantastic organisation that provides incredible support to current and past First Nations prisoners.

Aboriginal Australians make up around 2% of the Australian population yet represent 28% of the national prison population. Jim spoke of the empowerment of those who have been through the prison system, connecting with their culture and earning a deserved income, even being able to afford a home deposit.

You can directly support their life outside through supporting their art at The Torch. 
100% of the artwork price goes directly to the artist.