Our Proud History
As WA’s leading provider of disability services, we are proud of our history.
Activ was founded in 1951 by a passionate group of families who felt their children with disability were marginalised and unable to participate in wider society.
When we established our first large-scale industrial work site in 1957, it was a fantastic innovation, introducing new opportunities for people with disability to participate in employment, further their workplace skills and socialise.
Now, more than 70 years later, we recognise that societal values have shifted.
The community – and people with disability – have vastly different expectations about how to access meaningful support than they did in the 1950s.
They want more individualised opportunities for development, designed to meet each person’s specific needs, and more personal attention from support workers in smaller-ratio settings.
We have seen this view supported by shifting Government policy and funding priorities, with increasing focus on more targeted and personalised support.
Activ’s new approach
As a result of these changes, Activ has made the decision to close all of our large-scale industrial work sites over the coming months and refocus our efforts on growing community-based work opportunities, such as cleaning, maintenance and gardening services.
We are also introducing new Academy-style services to provide people with disability with more personalised support under three key themes of Live, Play and Work.
Through the Activ Academy, Activ will support our customers to develop skills for independent living as well as access therapy and provide opportunities for meaningful social connection.
We understand this is a big change for our customers and supported employees and we are working closely with them and their families and carers, to identify their best options moving forward.
We are also working with government to build up our alternative services as quickly as possible to provide new and better choices for our customers and supported employees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Click on each question to read the answer.
How many sites is Activ closing?
What services are remaining open?
How many Activ supported employees will be affected by this change?
This change will affect over 700 supported employees. However, we’re doing all we can to find each supported employee alternative opportunities, both within and outside Activ.
We’re currently finalising our Activ Academy offering and we are in a formal consultation process with our supported employees.
When will this happen?
What is the alternative for Activ customers and supported employees?
In place of large-scale work sites, we will focus on community-based work which will allow more individual attention from support workers in smaller-ratio settings such as cleaning, maintenance, and gardening.
We are also introducing new Academy-style services to provide more personalised support under three key themes of Live, Play and Work. Through the Activ Academy, Activ will support our customers to develop skills for independent living as well as well as access therapy and provide opportunities for meaningful social connection.
We are working with government to build up our alternative services as quickly as possible to provide new and better options for our customers.
How many affected supported employees will be able to transition to other services?
Activ is working with supported employees, their support coordinators, families and carers to identify the options available to them – either within Activ or through services delivered by other providers. We can’t provide a definitive number until that consultation is finished.
Within Activ, we are looking to develop opportunities for community-based work in smaller-ratio settings such as cleaning, maintenance and gardening.
Our Academy offering will provide access to a range of personalised programs over shorter periods to develop important life skills like employment training and using public transport, as well as cooking, fitness and using digital media.
It’s important to understand Activ Academy services are not designed to replace the full day’s work at a large-scale work site.
Depending on Government support, we hope to quickly scale up our capacity to offer services to any supported employees who are interested.
Why is Activ changing its services now?
Why is this happening so quickly?
We understand this announcement will be upsetting to many of our staff and supported employees. We would have liked to take more time with this transition. Unfortunately, we simply can’t afford to.
Changes to NDIS funding priorities and likely changes to the Supported Wage System have sped up this shift, making the continuation of large-scale work sites unsustainable. As a result of these policy changes, our large-scale work sites must close.
However, Activ is taking a leadership position in reshaping the future of disability services by providing more meaningful, personalised, independence services to our customers.
Aren’t large scale industrial services at the core of Activ’s purpose?
Activ’s core purpose is to offer people with disability opportunities to enjoy full participation in their community and to empower them to pursue the life they choose. These changes will enable us to continue providing that valuable service.
We are proud of our history, but we recognise that society has moved on from large-scale industrial work sites. Activ is refocusing our efforts to meet community expectations and the clear shift in Government funding priorities.
Why aren’t large-scale industrial work sites affordable?
Prior to moving to the NDIS, Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) such as Activ were block-funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS).
Under the NDIS’ funding structure, the funding for supported employees can no longer be used to help offset lower returns from work completed by those supported employees through the ADE. In may cases, this means that large scale ADEs cannot compete effectively with commercial companies who provide similar services, and don’t employ people with disability.
At the same time, there has been a strong movement to increase wages for people living with disability, with likely changes to the Supported Wage System (SWS).
Increases in supported employee wages cannot be offset by NDIS funding or most commercial contracts – making large scale industrial sites unsustainable.
Activ has carried losses to maintain its large scale industrial site services for several years but can no longer afford significantly increasing losses of up to $6.5 million per year into the future.
The Disability Royal Commission has heard negative commentary about large scale industrial work sites. Is that why you are shutting them down?
The evidence heard by the Disability Royal Commission highlights some of the reasons society is moving away from the concept of large-scale industrial work sites for people with disability.
It’s important to understand that there are many different forms of Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs), with different working environments.
However, Activ recognises society’s attitude to large-scale industrial work sites has shifted and we are taking a leadership position in reshaping the future of disability services by providing more meaningful, personalised, independence services to our customers.
Where can I find out more?
If you are an affected Activ customer or supported employee or their support coordinator, family member or carer and were unable to attend our briefing on these changes or you have further questions, you can contact the Employment line on 9387 0483, or by emailing Employment@activ.asn.au.