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Vision Australia has had many controversies and has made many bad decisions since its creation in 2004. The first controversy was its actual creation through the merger of 4 smaller blindness organisations: the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind (RVIB), Vision Australia Foundation (VAF), The Royal Blind Society (RBS), The National Information Library Service (NILS).
So, my first question is: why was this allowed to happen?
And, how does this benefit people with a vision impairment?
In 2006 the organisation was further expanded with the merger of the Royal Blind Foundation Queensland. This merger gave it complete reach across the eastern states of Australia.– The Queensland organisation was very reluctant to join and there is still a viable alternative to Vision Australia in Queensland.
In 2008 Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA) – based in Melbourne – was taken over by Vision Australia. Vision Australia now claim that the inclusion of dog guide services will now be provided for people who are blind or have low vision, and one national organisation will be able to provide all the services required.
[for better or worse – also limiting the choice and availability of service.].
Vision Australia has become a huge bureaucracy, with all the in-built issues and problems associated with a large organisation heavily laiden with middle management.
A large organisation like Vision Australia needs a lot of money to oprate.
And, Vision Australia is a not for profit business.
So, it has to rely on public donations. It then must invest money to make money. But, it made bad investments and lost thousands of dollars.
The reduction of income resulted in reduction of service provision.
if I donated to Vision Australia I would be asking where does the money go; and how does it assist individuals who are blind?
And – I do ask these questions
Vision Australia, Australia’s largest service provider for people who are blind and vision impaired (& often only service) needs many of its practices reviewed and investigated.
With large numbers of people with a disability struggling to find suitable employment – What is Vision Australia doing to assist people find and sustain meaningful employment?
Does Vision Australia have an Affirmative Action policy?
What role are they playing in setting an example of positive community involvement and inclusion for people who are blind?
Is there service provision reaching out to all and is it coming from a contemporary `client` / person focused position?
What is Vision Australia doing to assist people in the outer suburbs and regional areas?
Is there too much emphasis on becoming a RTO rather than providing services
that assist people dealing with the complexities of living with a vision impairment and some of the social and psychological issues that surround this?
I ask these questions after Vision Australia’s latest controversial decision. Vision Australia has until recently operated a workshop
(in many ways a “sheltered workshop”)providing employment opportunities of varying levels for people with varying abilities.
The recent decision to close the service known as Vision Enterprises has received a lot of media coverage.
__ Below is a sample of one news article highlighting the issue. ___
Blind Workers sacked
Sad but unavoidable, says Vision Australia chief executive officer Ron Hooton
The decision to close Vision Australia’s Enterprise arm will affect 73 staff with a disability in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Blind Workers Union Victoria president Margaret Shananan says the decision to close Vision Australia Enterprises will throw these workers on the scrap heap.
This to me highlights the lack of respect and understanding of its clients and its overall reason for being.
The Enterprise program was a vital service like any other that they provide.
What will be the next service they disbanden?