OPA's Volunteer conference, 'Better Together', was held on 14 October 2022.
After two years of interacting mostly online and by phone, it was extremely stimulating and rejuvenating to catch up in person again.
Despite some of our valued rural and regional volunteers unable to attend due to flooding, and a planned visit by NDIS Minister Bill Shorten cancelled due to floods in his electorate, more than 170 volunteers as well as OPA staff and guests, went to great measures to attend the 2022 Volunteer conference in Melbourne.
The conference celebrated 35 years of the Community Visitors Program. We also heard from Chris Varney, Founder and Chief Enabling Officer of the I Can Network as well as Chair of the Victorian Disability Advisory Council and were blown away by the courage and resilience of author Emma Gee, an occupational therapist who has reinvented herself as an expert in person-centred care, advocacy and resilience following a life-changing stroke in her early 20s.
OPA's Systemic Advocacy team spoke about how the hard work and detailed reports provided by volunteers contribute significantly to OPA's reports, submissions and ultimately real change in the lives of people with disability.
Following lunch, there were break-out sessions featuring presentations by a range of experts from organisations including VALID, the Department of Health, the Human Services Regulator, NDIS Commission, RMIT's Centre of Innovative Justice, the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health & Wellbeing and, of course, OPA.
OPA volunteers can download conference papers and presentations from the Volunteer Hub.