DFI Annual Report 2019

Issued on September 11 2020

Letter from our Chairperson

Gary Lee


Writing this address in May I cannot ignore the COVID-19 emergency that
we find ourselves in. All has changed so quickly into our ‘new normal’. Our
nation works together to valiantly respond and start to rebuild.

I am mindful of the impact on those with disabilities who are trying to live in
the community, many of whom already had inadequate access to in-home,
Personal Assistant and other services that they needed. Those under 65
who have no choice, due to a lack of community supports, but to move
into a nursing home found themselves in the eye of this pandemic. These
examples, alone, highlight the need for the new Government to strongly
step up it’s implementation of the UN CRPD in its programme and to make
sure that the needs of people with disabilities do not again get lost in this
nation’s recovery programme.

2019 was a hugely challenging year for DFI. In February, our main funder,
without warning, unilaterally, and retrospectively, cut our funding by 20%.
This created an immediate and serious difficulty for us as an organisation
and ended with us losing some very valued members of staff. The
response to this financial crisis by staff was phenomenal. It caused us to
reflect on the work we do, how we do it and some new approaches were
developed. Work was redistributed and re-focused.

It is a testament to the commitment and skill of our staff that we continued
to provide a high level of service and made significant progress in terms
of our strategic plan. Our work in 2019 is set out in this review for your

I would like to sincerely thank all our staff for their considerable efforts in
2019, in particular to pay tribute to the senior management team who have
led, and continue to lead, through very difficult and unprecedented times.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the work and support of my fellow board
members, committee members, volunteers and our member organisations.
The environment that we all work and live in has become more difficult and
challenging for people with disabilities and our organisations.


See the DFI Annual Report 2019 highlighting our work throughout 2019.

Gary Lee