by | 20 May, 2024 | News, RIAC | 0 comments

The Rights Information and Advocacy Centre (RIAC) and the Barwon Disability Resource Council (BDRC) are pleased to announce a strategic merger effective from May 20.

The merger will consolidate their capabilities in the face of mounting challenges, particularly the inadequacy of funding and rising compliance costs. It will also intensify advocacy and support for individuals with disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers, across the Barwon and Geelong region.

 By integrating BDRC’s community engagement efforts with RIAC’s robust advocacy and information services under the RIAC banner, the partnership is poised to deliver a comprehensive suite of programs that is both resilient and adaptive to the disability community’s needs.

 Key benefits of the merger

  • Expanded programs: Leveraging the combined strengths and resources of RIAC and BDRC, the service is set to offer a broader array of services, ensuring that all community members receive the support they need when they need it.
  • Increased accessibility: This merger will enhance RIAC’s reach across the Barwon and Geelong regions, making it easier for more individuals and families to access vital advocacy and support services.
  • Empowered advocacy: Together, the organisation will have a stronger voice in advocating for policy and social changes that benefit people with disabilities, driving the community towards greater inclusivity and support.

RIAC, with a 40-year history and presence in Bendigo, Shepparton, Mildura, and Geelong, provides services across 22 local government areas in regional Victoria and southern New South Wales. The merger with BDRC will broaden the scope and accessibility of its services, with a particular focus on enhancing support in Geelong and surrounding areas.

RIAC Board Chair Carli Leishman said the two organisations were embarking on the merger with BDRC with great optimism and a shared commitment to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities in the Barwon and Geelong region.

“By uniting under the RIAC banner, we are not just merging organisations; we are merging our hopes, dreams, and plans for a more inclusive, supportive community. This is a historic moment for us, and we are eager to see the positive changes it will bring,” she said.

 “As we proceed with this merger, our priority is to ensure a seamless integration of advocacy services and support systems and continuity in service delivery for all of our clients.”

BDRC Board Chair Dianne Thomson said both teams were working diligently to combine their resources to deliver an enhanced suite of advocacy services and support programs.

“Whilst we’re disappointed that BDRC will cease to exist as an independent entity, we are confident our merger with RIAC will ensure that our team can continue delivering the exceptional advocacy and support that has defined our work over many decades in the Barwon and Geelong region.”

For media inquiries, interviews, and further information, please contact:
Sue Masters
Communications Consultant
0448 505 517


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