Deaf Services and Deaf Society merge ratified by members
The proposed merger between Deaf Services and the Deaf Society will occur, after the proposal met the requisite number of votes from Deaf Society Financial Members at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on March 6.
The intention to merge was first announced on February 11th and will create Australia’s largest whole-of-life service provider for Deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind Australians.
The EGM was called by the boards of both organisations to ratify the winding down of the Deaf Society to facilitate the merger. A positive vote of 80% was reached from Deaf Society financial members and life members on two special resolutions.
Both boards have resolved Brett Casey, CEO Deaf Services will lead the new organisation as CEO, and Leonie Jackson, CEO the Deaf Society will head the organisation’s policy and political advocacy agenda in a new Executive Advocacy role.
Leonie Jackson said it was important to see the Deaf community support for the decision, which will mean a greater range of services and programs, as well as greater resources and efficiencies.
“Throughout this process it has been clear that the majority of our community are very excited by the prospect of a new merged organisation representing the interests of the community”, Ms Jackson said.
“We have received positive feedback from members, the community and importantly our staff – who have supported the opportunity to work more closely with their interstate counterparts as the largest whole of life provider in the country.
“This merger will ensure a range of new programs and initiatives are delivered across Queensland, NSW and the ACT when and where they’re needed,”
Brett Casey said the merger would serve to further strengthen what is already a strong partnership between the state based organisations - forged by a common history, vision and purpose spanning over 200 years.
“In addition to our expanded service offering, this new organisation will have an unparalleled opportunity to represent and advocate for the Australian Deaf community,” Mr Casey said.
“I look forward to working with Leonie in her new Executive advocacy role as she works alongside all levels of government to deliver increased equity for Deaf Australians.
Both Ms Jackson and Mr Casey stressed that the new organisation would not mean a diluted service to existing clients and members. Rather, a merger will allow the best of both organisations to be brought together.
“It will be business as usual, but also business done better. Current clients and participants of the Deaf Society and Deaf Services can look forward to increased representation and services,” Mr Casey said.
“As a result of the passing of the special resolutions the Deaf Society will be wound down, and the organisation’s assets will be transferred to Deaf Services. The resulting organisation will adopt a co-branded model while the community is consulted on our new, future focused brand.
“Over the next 5 months our organisations will amalgamate our systems and processes in preparation for the full commencement of the new, merged organisation on July 1.”
Established in 1913 in NSW, the Deaf Society works in and for the Deaf community with a vision of Equity for Deaf people. The Deaf Society is headquartered in Parramatta with seven offices across NSW and the ACT, providing a wide range of supports and services.
Deaf Services is a leading Queensland based not-for-profit organisation providing support to Deaf and hard of hearing Australian’s from nine offices across the state. It has delivered programs and supports to enable the Deaf community to live full and independent lives since 1903.