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History

OAK has a rich history in the Tasmania, founded in family and community.

Our Story

OAK Tasmania is a not-for-profit organisation that has been operating in its own right since 1992. Originally known as the Retarded Citizen’s Welfare Association (RCWA), we were founded in 1953 by parents who wanted to improve the life of their disabled children once they had left their specific needs schools.

The RCWA became a statewide organisation consisting of branches, regional committees and a State Council. Fundraising was the main activity with a significant portion of funds derived from the Miss Tasmania Quest. Through successful fundraising, and some Commonwealth funds made available as a result of the 1967 Handicapped Persons Act, the idea of establishing business services for people with disabilities who were leaving school, became a reality.

In 1992 the RCWA became OAK Enterprises, and with a chairman and board of directors, we grew substantially in the areas of supported employment and providing day services for people with a disability. We changed our name to OAK Tasmania in 2013.

In 2016, we merged with Optia Limited (trading as Possability) to create OAK Possability, Tasmania’s largest disability services provider. The merger has further enhanced opportunities for our clients and employees, and positions us strongly for the new NDIS environment.

OAK Today

Our services and programs place a strong focus on working in partnership with people with disability, their families and carers.

We support people to reach their full potential at home, work and in their community. OAK has grown to become an innovative organisation, evolving with individual, personalised services that drive true inclusion. OAK is professional and flexible, as well as being an Employer of Choice. Our programs and services are available to people of different ages, interests and abilities via a number of locations in the greater Hobart area, all fully accessible for people with mobility restrictions.

We also offer a broad range of employment opportunities for people living with disabilities. Our businesses employ 162 people with disabilities in mail & distribution, timber manufacturing, commercial sewing, paper recycling, security shredding, potting mix production, light manufacturing and horticulture. In total we proudly employ and support more than 450 Tasmanians and are the largest employer of people living with disabilities in the state.

True to the tree of our namesake (OAK), we are deeply rooted in family and community values, grounded in genuine, reliable service, and continually expanding our reach into the community.

“We wanted Brett to be in an environment with other people who have a similar disability to Brett, giving him the opportunity to learn and develop without putting pressure on him. Through OAK Tasmania we found out about Special Olympics and the courses that were available to Brett at the Polytechnic. My advice to parents of a child with disability is to get their child involved in as many activities as possible to give them the opportunity to develop intellectually and to learn life skills and make friends. OAK Tasmania has been the foundation for it all.”

Leanne, Parent.

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