McCallum Disability Services (MDS) and Ballarat Regional Industries (BRI), two of Ballarat’s leading disability support organisations, have finalised merger negotiations to create the largest BuyAbility Social Enterprise in Western Victoria, delivering significant social and economic impact to their communities.
The merger will expand inclusive employment opportunities for people with disability, provide greater opportunities to partner with commercial businesses and expand the two organisations’ already extensive and diverse services.
BRI and McCallum support more than 600 people living with disability across Central Highlands and Northern Grampian shires. The organisations have worked in parallel over many years, empowering people with disability through the provision of employment opportunities to live the fullest, most independent lives possible.
Since 1953, McCallum has been a trusted provider of adult disability services, including long and short-term accommodation, respite care, day support, outreach services, lifestyle options and supported employment in Ballarat and St Arnaud. Over the past 37 years, BRI has created a range of employment options at its supported employment sites in Ballarat.
BRI CEO Geoff Russell said the merger would provide more flexible and diverse work opportunities for its supported workforce, deliver more services to clients, members, commercial partners and communities and provide staff with more opportunities for career advancement and development.
“By bringing these two longstanding Ballarat organisations together, we are strengthening services for the people of Ballarat. We are proud of the life changing job opportunities we provide for people with disability which include real jobs in the recycling, packaging, event management, manufacturing and maintenance sectors.
The merger will improve service capacity and secure the employment of over 500 staff by providing more effective services to a wider range of stakeholders.
The organisations will operate under their current brand names for the foreseeable future with the two employment divisions being operated under one management structure. There will be no business interruption as the merger is finalised, with all contracts and existing services being maintained.
McCallum CEO Tyrone McCuskey and Mr Russell expressed gratitude for the ongoing community and business support for their valuable programs. The McCallum and BRI boards have endorsed the merger and are expected to give their final approval at AGMs scheduled for late November 2021. The full media release on the merger can be read here: (https://www.mccallum.org.au/static/uploads/files/mdsbri-merger-media-release-final-wfslqhkecxeg.pdf)
Pictured: McCallum CEO Tyrone McCuskey and BRI CEO Geoff Russell.