New CEO hopes to continue WDEA success

WDEA’s new CEO Barrie Elvish hopes to continue the disability and general employment agency’s success and growth while maintaining its focus on service delivery.

Mr Elvish becomes just the second CEO in the agency’s history, replacing Mick White who recently retired after 27 years in the role.

He said he was impressed by WDEA’s ability to remain part of local communities and true to its emphasis on service delivery.

“I hope to add value to that and help WDEA transition to the new NDIS system and continue to provide services that clients want.”

WDEA has more than 450 staff across offices in Warrnambool, Portland, Hamilton, Colac, Ballarat, Bendigo, Maryborough, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Mildura, Ararat, Castlemaine, Stawell, Horsham and Mt Gambier.

In the past year the agency serviced more than 10,000 clients under its combined Jobactive and Disability Employment Services (DES) contracts, helping 5024 jobseekers into work.

Mr Elvish said WDEA had undergone massive growth in recent years with new contracts across regional Victoria and South Australia, but had maintained its focus on service delivery.

“The culture at WDEA is very positive and supportive and I hope to continue to provide staff with the best environment to make sure we respond to our local communities and provide the quality services people want and need,” he said.

“We fully support the new paradigm where services will be the choice of the client and believe WDEA is well placed to make that transition.

“We will look at WDEA’s strengths and review why and how we do things to validate that we’re continuing on the right path.”

Mr Elvish was a teacher in South Australia for eight years before moving into the not-for-profit field. He has been the CEO of Autism South Australia, Wimmera Uniting Care in Horsham and the Queensland Crèche and Kindergarten Association.

“I believe not-for-profit organisations are an integral part of the community and the economy and provide services that add value to our society,” he said.

Mr Elvish has moved to Warrnambool with his wife of 42 years Karen. They have two adult sons living in Sydney.

He plans to visit all WDEA sites before Christmas.

Mr Elvish, who recently completed the Noosa triathlon, also hopes to continue his love for long-distance walking, the beach and hot rods.

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  • WDEA Works Employment division incorporates both Disability Employment Services and jobactive.
  • Disability Employment Services
  • jobactive