Visit from the Hon. Minister Martin Foley

On Wednesday 19 July, 2017 OC Connections was visited by the Hon. Martin Foley (Minister for Housing, Ageing & Disability; Minister for Mental Health; Minister for Creative Industries; Minister for Equality).

Several years ago the Victorian Government partnered with OC Connections to redevelop its congregate care facilities and build five new supported accommodation homes in Oakleigh and surrounding areas. Lonsdale Avenue is one of the homes recently completed and we were thrilled to host Minister Foley’s visit. We are especially grateful for the opportunity this has created to enhance awareness of the needs of people living with a disability and ensuring that they have safe and comfortable community living options.

The Minister enjoyed a morning tea with people living in one of the new homes that was built to reflect their needs and personal preferences.

Minister Foley had previously met the people who have moved into Lonsdale Ave at a function at the house in Clayton. Everyone was very pleased to now have the opportunity to show the Minister their own home and to share with him how much they were enjoying living in such a beautiful house.

Overall it was an enjoyable and productive visit and we look forward to the ongoing support from the Hon. Minister Foley.

Lily Rodricks wins the Alan James Award

    The Oakleigh and District Rotary Club has supported OC Connections for many years.

We are thrilled and proud to announce the winner of the Alan James Award at last night’s Oakleigh Rotary Club dinner was our own Lily Rodricks from OC Connections Enterprises. The dinner was a wonderful success.

The award is named after the club’s foundation member, Allan James. Mr James was also involved in seeing the Oakleigh Centre established in 1950. When the club looked to create vocational scholarships, Mr James was adamant that one be awarded to the Oakleigh Centre to ensure ongoing training for a staff member to further their knowledge and skills in disability services.

Accompanied by her husband and Tony Still (General Manager Independence and Employment) she gave a very passionate speech that demonstrated her commitment to furthering employment outcomes for people living with a disability.

Lily will use the scholarship to further her career and undertake professional development.

Please join us in congratulating Lily on her wonderful achievement.

Have Your Say on Rights in Specialist Disability Accommodation

The Victorian Government wants to hear from you about how they can update rights for people living is specialist disability accommodation.

Below are three books about your rights, please click on the picture to open each book.








More information can be found on the Engage Victoria website:

Graduation Ceremony

OC Connections in partnership with Prioletti Consultants are extremely proud to congratulate the recent graduates of the Certificate One Training Course. A graduation celebration was held yesterday at the Clayton Community Centre, well received by all who attended.

All six participants made speeches brimming with pride at their achievements and expressing how excited they all are to continue with their work place readiness training, commencing next week.We are very proud of the graduates and their families for supporting this new endeavour as we look forward to watching them continue to grow and development over the next few years.

We’d like to thank Josie and Darren from Prioletti Consultants for their hard work and passion that enabled this group of OC Connections participants to study and graduate with flying colours.


Mitchell the artist at work




We are delighted to offer a range of artwork produced by Mitchell from the OC Connections day support art program.

We hope you will support Mitchell’s progress as an artist by viewing his wonderful art work. We have recently completed hanging 25 of his pieces at OC Connections.

Mitchell’s art is produced on a board using a coloured marker. He is a prolific artist and he draws from his imagination. He has a unique talent and he repeats an image across a page. Sometimes these works are mirror images.

Mitchell allows the viewer to understand what he is portraying by labelling the work clearly.

On behalf of Mitchell OC Connection is offering his art for sale at $45 for a large piece and $40 for a small piece. This is an amazing price! Consider the walls at your home, flat, unit or wherever you may like an original piece of art. One or two of Mitchell’s works would enhance any area. For this small cost you can have an original art piece that is guaranteed to invoke comment from anyone who comes to visit!

All monies go to Mitchells’ ongoing artistic training and endeavours.

For enquiries call (03) 9569 0603 or visit OC Connections at 773 Warrigal Road Oakleigh between 9.00am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday


Vicki Hayes wins award

We are proud to announce that Vicki Hayes, Manager Redevelopment, received a high commendation in the category of Outstanding Advocate of People with Disabilities at the City of Monash, Sir John Monash Awards last evening.

Vicki has spent her whole working life advocating for people living with a disability and it is wonderful that she has received this very deserved acknowledgment and recognition. Vicki’s advocacy work has, and continues to, change lives.

Please join us in congratulating Vicki and thanking her for the wonderful work she continues to do at OC Connections .


Visit from the Minister for Industry and Employment and Minister for Resources

On Wednesday 19 April, 2017 OC Connections was visited by the Hon Wade Noonan, Minister for Industry and Employment and Minister for Resources and Steve Dimopoulos MP for Oakleigh. We were thrilled to host the visit and for the opportunity this has created  to enhance social enterprises and to ensure that people living with a disability have sustainable and meaningful employment.

The Minister enjoyed a morning tour of our organisation and met with staff and participants to discuss the great work OC Connections is doing in the social enterprise space.  Participants were able to explain to the dignitaries  how successful the OC Connections car wash and administrative support programs are and  just how important work was to them. This visit was a wonderful  opportunity to showcase the work that OC Connections does. We were able to demonstrate what we are doing to support people to enable them to work, feel confident and succeed. This includes the work to build their independence and employment opportunities leading through to supported and open employment.

The Minister mentioned the Government’s commitment to breaking through the procurement barriers that are currently in place for smaller operations. He also talked about the Government’s new Social Enterprise Strategy released in February this year designed to set community expectations about  employment opportunities for people living with a disability and assisting employers to see just how great and valuable these employees are.

We talked about the NDIS and the opportunity that it will provide for people to have social and economic participation – (and of course as a result people will not need to rely on a disability pension).

Overall it was an enjoyable and productive visit and we look forward to the ongoing support from the Hon Minister Noonan and Steve Dimopoulos MP.

OC Connections wishes to thank the Minister and his entourage and Steve Dimopoulos MP for organising this event.

Attendees:  Hon Minister Wade Noonan, Steve Dimopoulos MP, Maurice Pitard (Chairman), Therese Desmond (CEO), Vicki Hayes, Catriona Starr, Justin Bruce, Tony Hogg, Athena Kontonis, Deb Groves, Geoff  (DAAP), Jessica (DAAP & Car Wash), Rishi (Car Wash & Factory Team leader), Tracey (Factory employee and Brand Champion).

Bunnings Fundraiser

A group of school girls ran a fundraising sausage sizzle and cake stall at Bunnings, Chadstone on Saturday 8 April to raise much needed funds for OC Connections, here’s how it went…

On Friday 7 April these community minded young women commenced their eight hours of planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning and labelling to produce all that was needed for a successful cake stall. Ensuring that they followed safe food handling guides that they had learned the prior year during the school cafe program, they baked savoury and sweet muffins, protein balls, chocolate brownies and cup-cakes for sale.

Saturday they were all up early to set up for the sausage sizzle and cake stall, an attractive display and tantalizing treats was prepared and they told all that passed by about the good that their contribution was making to the local community.

OC Connections would like to say a massive thank you to the team for their time, effort and hard work at the weekend. It was a fantastic event and we are extremely thankful for the funds raised for the organisation.

They did an outstanding job in not only planning and organising the cake stall and sausage sizzle but in actually ensuring that the whole day was a success. It is only through having dedicated volunteers like these young women that we are able to maintain the high level of service that we provide.

So from us all at OC Connections a massive well done and thank you.

2017 school leavers and the NDIS

The Department of Health and Human Services has released a fact sheet for students with disability in Victoria who are completing school in 2017 and living in an area that will transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). It is also for schools and support teachers who will assess young people with disability leaving school in 2017.

The fact sheet features information on the following:

• What is the NDIS?
• Which areas will transition to the NDIS in 2017?
• How will the Department of Health and Human Service, the Department of Education and the NDIA work together?
• What do I need to do to get ready for my plan?
• What about school leavers who live an area that will transition to the NDIS in 2018 or later?

Download the facts sheet here

For more information about the NDIS and your plan go to

BSWAT Payment Scheme

The Department of Social Services has released the first issue of the BSWAT Payment Scheme newsletter. It has important information for people about the BSWAT Payment Scheme. The newsletter is designed to keep people informed about the scheme, and provide content and resources that can be shared.

The first issue includes: 

  • What is the scheme and who is it for?
  • Federal Court approves the BSWAT class action settlement
  • Easy Read webpage is now available
  • Watch and share our first video
  • We recently wrote to people who could be eligible
  • We will be calling supported employees
  • What’s on our website?

For more information visit the website

What’s else is on the website?

On the BSWAT Payment Scheme website, you will find:
• Information about the scheme, including the payment process and eligibility
• Online registration form (instant registration)
• Payment application form
• Easy Read webpage
• Easy Read Handbook
• Resources for supporters: families, nominees, advocates, ADEs, GPs, financial counsellors and legal advisors
• Shareable resources like videos, Facebook posts and content.
We will soon have new and refreshed information and materials, and we’ll let you know about them via this newsletter.

How to apply for BSWAT payment scheme

People can register and apply for a payment at the same time by completing the application form. The form must be received by the Department by 30 April 2017.

People can choose one of four ways to apply:
1. Apply online using the smart form (by 30 April 2017).
2. Download and email the form (by 30 April 2017) to
3. Download and post the form, ensuring it reaches the Department in time to:
Department of Social Services
BSWAT Payment Scheme
GPO Box 9820
4. Call the hotline on 1800 799 515 to complete the form over the phone. The Department will send the completed form back to the employee to review, sign and send back.
For more information about completing the application form, visit the BSWAT Payment Scheme Resources webpage.

If a person is not ready to apply, they can register for the scheme by 30 April 2017. They then have until 30 November 2017 to apply for a payment. It’s quick and easy to register for the scheme using this online form. Or, people can call 1800 799 515 or send an email.