History of Interchange Victoria

Interchange was started in 1981by parents of children with disabilities. The focus of the program was to address the lack of family based respite care services available to families who had children with disabilities in their local community. This was achieved through the development of the Host program. By the end of 1982 six programs in Australia had been established and Interchange programs had begun to employ professional staff to support families, hosts and other Interchange volunteers.

By 1994 there were 21programs state-wide. At the beginning, the focus of all Interchange programs was on the development of the Host program. Over the years, Interchange has expanded and now provides a variety of respite options from 26 agencies.

State-wide, Interchange programs now provide up to ten service types. These include recreational programs, youth groups and school holiday programs. An integral part of the growth of Interchange was the development of Interchange Victoria now called Interchange Incorporated. Interchange Incorporated was conceived in 1984 with the goal of achieving a recurrent funding commitment from the Victorian government. This goal was achieved in 1986. Since then, funding for Interchange programs has been transferred to the Home and Community Care (HACC) program. This has enabled state-wide coverage and significant program development.


History of Interchange Gippsland Inc.

Interchange began offering support to families in Central Gippsland in 1986, with the establishment of the Host Program funded by HACC.

In 1993, Interchange Gippsland piloted a new program, which became known as the Flexible Family Respite Program. This program employs paid  carers and aims to provide respite that meets families’ needs. The Flexible Family Respite program is a Department of Social Services funded program. The year 1994 saw the establishment of the ROADIES Program; a recreation respite program for young people between 14 -18. ROADIES is designed around the needs of young people with disabilities who live in Latrobe and Baw Baw Shires. The ROADIES program is funded by HACC.

In 2001Interchange Gippsland was successful in gaining Disability Services ‘Great Breaks’ funding to run the Teenage Vacation Program, also for families living in South Gippsland and Bass Coast Shires.

The Respite Home and Community Program, similar to the Flexible Family Respite Program, but targeted specifically for isolated families living in South Gippsland and Bass Coast Shires, was developed in 2002.


Social and family support activities, such as the family camp, mother’s retreats, father’s retreats, the Sibling Camp and the Interchange Christmas party are an integral part of our programs. Such activities support and maintain matches, help orientate new or prospective volunteers, provide an opportunity to thank volunteers and to maintain contact with families waiting for a respite program.


In 2012 Interchange Gippsland was successful in its application for Innovative Respite funding from DHS, which allowed Interchange Gippsland to run Roadies South and the Aboriginal Family Camp. 2012 also saw Interchange Gippsland obtained recurrent funding for the Friendship Group Latrobe.

Interchange Gippsland Inc. continues to advocate for more respite services for families living in the Central Gippsland area, as to date unmet needs remain, with many families still waiting for respite services.  During 2016 Interchange Gippsland commissioned the book, ‘The Sky is the Limit’ – 30 Years of Interchange Gippsland to commemorate their significant milestone.

In 2017 there are 17 programs now reaching across the six local government areas of Gippsland.


Interchange Gippsland Inc. Snapshot

Organisation Names

1986 -1995
Interchange Central Gippsland

1995 -1999

1995- 2014
Interchange Central Gippsland

2014 – present
Interchange Gippsland



1986- Interchange Central Gippsland formed with the Host program

1993- Commenced Flexible Family Respite

1994- Commenced ROADIES program (Latrobe, Baw Baw)

2001- Commenced Teenage Vacation Program (South Gippsland, Bass Coast)

2002 – Commenced Respite Home & Community (South Gippsland, Bass Coast)

2003 – 2005 ROADIES rages disco

2004- Commenced Family Choices (South Gippsland, Bass Coast)

2012- Commenced Individual  Support Packages

2012 – Commenced Roadies South

2012 – Commenced Aboriginal Family Camp

2012 – Commenced Friendship Group Latrobe

2013- Commenced Holiday Options Program HoP in Latrobe

2013- 2014 Commenced MyTime in Moe

2013- 2014 Commenced MyTime Wonthaggi

2013- Commenced Friendship Group (Wonthaggi)

2014- Commenced Young Adult Service (YAS) in Wonthaggi

2014- Commenced Holiday Options Program HoP in Bass Coast/ South Gippsland

2014- Commenced Friends For Life- Latrobe

2015 – Commenced Tracking East

2016 – Commenced HOP Baw Baw

2016 – Commenced Supported Accommodation Project

2016 – Commenced Roadies East

2016 – Commenced YAS Latrobe


Office Locations

1986- Tarwin Street Morwell

1989- Hotham Street Traralgon

1995 -1997 Arygle Street Traralgon

1997- Grace Berglund Centre Warragul and Hazelwood Road Morwell

2001- Ollerton Drive Moe and South Gippsland Highway Korumburra

2005 – Monash Road Newborough and  McIndoe Arcade Leongatha

2009 – Monash Road Newborough and  Church Street Leongatha

2013 – Monash Road Newborough and Watt St Wonthaggi

2016 – Commercial Road, Morwell and Watt Street Wonthaggi


Coordinators/ Managers/ CEO’s

1986 – 1989 – Carol Benham

1989 – 1999 – Beth Wilson

1999 – 2004 – Heidi Kennedy

2004 – 2008 – Sandra Mounsey

2008 – 2009  Heidi Kennedy

2009 – current Debbie Knight