Annual Report 2022/23

Message from the CEO and Chair

We are delighted to present our 2022-23 Annual Report and share some examples of the tremendous work of our staff and the host of services and supports they provide to achieve our purpose – for the people of East Gippsland to live well. Living well means so much more than having access to treatment for illness and disease. At GLCH we support people wherever they are in their life journey. We build relationships and connections across lifetimes and generations, working with people to navigate and manage the often complex issues that affect our health and well-being.

We contribute to and benefit from the relationships we build with our partners to support our work. We’ve joined with 10 independent community health organisations across Victoria to form the Alliance of Rural & Regional Community Health (ARRCH), which provides a platform for knowledge sharing, advocacy and innovation that collectively impact the social determinants of health to improve health and wellbeing for all. 

The Board and leadership team reflected on the achievements of our 2017-2022 Strategic Plan and understanding of the priorities for the future as we charted a course for the next five years. Our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan will guide us as we work to enhance the experience of those we serve, develop and support our staff, partner for impact, and take action on our commitment to sustainability.

We sincerely thank our amazing staff, funders, and partners. Your support fuels our mission. Together, we’re creating a healthier, happier East Gippsland.

Anne-Maree Kaser, Chief Executive Officer

Carol Ross, Board Chair

Chief Executive Officer, Anne-Maree Kaser and Board Chair, Carol Ross.

Our Directors

Our Board of Directors bring a diverse range of skills, expertise and experience, particularly in areas such as education, health, local government, business administration, information technology, journalism and law.

Each Board Director has strong connections to the local community and provide the organisation with strong governance and guidance.

The Board is made up of eight directors – six who are elected from our membership, and three who are appointed based on their skills and experience.

Our Organisation

The Executive team at Gippsland Lakes Complete Health includes the Chief Executive Officer and six Executive Managers who oversee staff and services across the following units:

Our Executive Management team (left to right), Ainsleigh Whelan, Rebecca Woodland, Cheryl Bush, Anne-Maree Kaser, Penny Cassidy, Chloe Watson and Kathy Dickinson.

Our Achievements

Melissa Ceely, Diabetes Educator & Parkinson's Nurse
After the retirement of Professor Iansek, our Parkinson's clinic transitioned to Canterbury Neurology under the leadership of Dr Richard Blaze, allowing us to continue weekly specialist video conferencing for Parkinson's clients. Our Parkinson's nurse has completed a postgraduate course in Parkinson's care and is now undertaking the Australasian Neuroscience Nurses Association's pathway to becoming a Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Nursing Specialist.
Melissa Ceely, Diabetes Educator & Parkinson's Nurse
Amanda Crombie, Dementia Clinical Nurse Consultant & Lisa Tyter, Aged and Complex Care Nurse
In response to the growing demand for our dementia nurse consultant and the need for a succession planning strategy, we introduced the aged and complex care nurse role. Our dementia nurse practitioner mentors the position, and the incumbent is gaining skills and knowledge while completing postgraduate studies. With a significantly older percentage of the population in East Gippsland, the need for additional nurses skilled in this field is evident.
Amanda Crombie, Dementia Clinical Nurse Consultant & Lisa Tyter, Aged and Complex Care Nurse
Amanda Hack, Podiatrist & Melissa Ceely, Diabetes Educator & Parkinson’s Nurse
Our diabetes educator and podiatrist have completed training to become DESMOND presenters. This is a worldwide validated education program for people with Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Victoria has engaged us to deliver this program for East Gippsland, which is usually only available close to Melbourne.
Amanda Hack, Podiatrist & Melissa Ceely, Diabetes Educator & Parkinson’s Nurse
Paula Morgan, CEO Lakes Entrance Aboriginal Health Association & Rebecca Woodland, Executive Manager of Corporate Services
Our Corporate Services executive manager joined the chief executive from Lakes Entrance Aboriginal Health Association to present case study research at the Lowitja Institute’s third International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference in Cairns. Their research focused on the experiences of Aboriginal people seeking primary health care during crises. It highlighted the role of ACCHOs (Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations) in supporting community health and wellbeing and will inform planning and practice for managing future crises.
Paula Morgan, CEO Lakes Entrance Aboriginal Health Association & Rebecca Woodland, Executive Manager of Corporate Services
Our Information Technology team has undertaken cybersecurity-specific training and used external expertise to ensure our organisational data is secure. We established a cybersecurity workgroup to regularly monitor and discuss cybersecurity trends such as vulnerabilities, risk management, governance practices, and breaches.
This year, we supported the Change It Ourselves initiative by allowing our staff to change the date they celebrate Australia. As a community health service, we work in partnership to address inequity and improve the social, health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We recognise that celebrating on January 26 is deeply distressing for many. We will continue to advocate to change the date until it is moved to one that unites us all in an inclusive national celebration of this wonderful country, Australia.
Pictured from left are Family, Youth & Children's Services team members, James, Richard, Abby, Melissa and Hannah
We recruited an Aboriginal Cultural Advisor (Abby, pictured thrid from the left) to support our Family, Youth and Children's Services Unit to improve their understanding of Aboriginal clients and their health issues and to create a culturally safe and welcoming environment. Abby also plays a key stakeholder relationship role with Aboriginal services and is responsible for supporting and improving service access for Aboriginal clients.
Pictured from left are Family, Youth & Children's Services team members, James, Richard, Abby, Melissa and Hannah
Our Bushfire Recovery Support team is a statewide provider of recovery support. The team's name has changed to reflect this and is now Emergency Recovery Support in line with Emergency Recovery Victoria. In October 2022, Emergency Recovery Victoria asked our team to assist Windermere with the intake for the floods in northern Victoria. Twelve months on, they still actively support 163 flood-affected residents. They have had 350 flood referrals, with residents still needing support and waiting for allocation. They also still support 100 bushfire-affected residents.
Regional Assessment Team Members
After seven years, the Commonwealth Regional Assessment Service for older clients was transferred from Gippsland Lakes Complete Health to Latrobe Community Health Service on 1 July 2023. The decision was not easy, however, due to the increase in demand and the inability of the Department of Health to increase funding to cover our budget shortfalls. Five staff were affected by this decision, with three accepting redundancies, one returning to their previous position, and one finishing their fixed-term contract. We thank the team for their excellent work and commitment to clients.
Regional Assessment Team Members
Ainsleigh Whelan, Executive Manager of Support, Therapy, Education & Prevention
The RWAV Conference, 'Working Together To Enhance Victoria's Rural Health Workforce,' was held on 16 February 2023. Our executive manager for the Support, Therapy, Education and Prevention unit was invited to be a panellist. The panel discussed key issues that impact rural communities, the viability of the rural health workforce in Victoria, and the potential solutions.
Ainsleigh Whelan, Executive Manager of Support, Therapy, Education & Prevention
Children enjoying their new outdoor learning space
An awesome new outdoor learning space at our Children's Centre in Lakes Entrance was made a reality with the help of a Victorian Junior Landcare and Biodiversity grant in conjunction with local suppliers. Created by children, early childhood teachers and educators, the outdoor learning space is an excellent addition to the facilities. It will foster an appreciation of the natural environment, help children develop environmental awareness and provide a platform for ongoing environmental education. Children can explore, play and care for the garden, which includes native plants and child-size watering cans. It has a miniature fairy garden, bird feeder, bird bath, and native animal-themed chalkboards for art and creativity.
Children enjoying their new outdoor learning space

Our Wins!

Executive Manager of Corporate Services, Rebecca Woodland with Business Traineee, Cherika Hayes and  HR Manager, Paul Hopkins 

We were ‘Highly Commended’ at the 2022 Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI) Wurruker Awards in Melbourne.

The Wurreker Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations in Aboriginal education and training and acknowledge how high-quality training can open new directions for Aboriginal people.

We were finalists in the Community Based Employer Award category for our traineeship program, which aims to employ at least 25 per cent of Aboriginal trainees as a pathway to enter the health sector and develop successful careers.

Paul Hopkins and Rebecca Woodland pictured with HR team members, Deanne McKendry and Carol Culpitt.

Our innovative cadetship program picked up an award at this year’s Gippsland PHN awards. 

This win is a genuine joint effort that recognises our successful partnership with Federation University Australia to develop the cadetships that offer education, training, support and work for third and fourth-year Fed Uni students completing a degree in occupational therapy.

Corporate Services executive manager Rebecca Woodland says the win is a ringing endorsement of the positive way we are developing our own talent base and offering health career pathways to local students.

In 2023, we are expanding our cadetship intake to include physiotherapy and speech pathology. For more information, email humanresources@glch.org.au

Helath promotor champion, Jaquie preparing a delisiously healthy lunch for lucky local shcool students.

Our Population Health and Community Wellbeing Worker Jaquie was acknowledged as a Health Promoter Champion in the Vic Kids Eat Well (VKEW) awards. 

Jaquie has supported local schools and out-of-school hours care services to implement VKEW, including Toorloo Arm Primary School and Gumnuts Lakes Entrance OSHC, both receiving Big Bites Awards.

Jaquie’s acknowledgement reflects her strong connection to our community, her passion for kids’ health and her expertise and knowledge in community-level health promotion. In offering advice for actioning ideas, she has focused on making it as simple as possible to achieve “bites.”

Valuing our volunteers

Melas on Wheels volunteers, Heather and Marg.

Social Support vounteers Gina and Donna, pictured with client Pam (centre).

Student volunteers Charli and Jay from Bairnsdale Special School getting ready for their Melas on Wheels deliveries.

We appreciate the amazing contribution made by our dedicated and committed volunteers over the past 12 months.

Our volunteers are a significant and integral part of the work we do and the services we provide. They bring a wealth of experience and expertise to assist in a range of roles within our organisation, enabling the smooth and efficient running of many of our programs and groups.

Volunteering is about making a difference in your community, and our volunteers genuinely do this, like Heather and Marg.

Heather and Marg (pictured) are best friends, and Meals on Wheels volunteers passionate about giving back to their local community.

Heather, who has been volunteering for almost 20 years, has an impressive collection of National Volunteers Week badges to her credit and no plans to retire.

She says she enjoys talking to people and giving them something to smile about, while Marg loves her weekly “pet fix” via our clients’ furry companions.

“We enjoy each other’s company and get along well together,” Marg says of delivering meals with Heather as her co-pilot.

Volunteering has been found to improve self-esteem, happiness and satisfaction with life. Volunteering in the community creates opportunities for social interaction, and evidence suggests that supporting others is a particularly beneficial form of social connection.

Studies have found that people who volunteer live longer than those who do not. Older volunteers tend to walk more, find it easier to cope with everyday tasks, are less likely to develop high blood pressure, and have better thinking skills. Volunteering can also lessen chronic pain symptoms and reduce the risk of heart disease.

We have many volunteering opportunities, including Meals on Wheels delivery, medical transport, carer respite and social support. You can even volunteer to read books to children at our Children’s Centre in Lakes Entrance or spend some time in the garden as part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.

We’re always eager to recruit new volunteers. For more information about how to get involved, TAP HERE or call 5155 8300.

Our Year in Numbers

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Number of phone calls received
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Number of emails received
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Homelessness clients supported
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New staff joining our team
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Hours of service - Nurses & Medical Students
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Km our home support team travelled to care for clients
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Hours of service - Allied Health & Social Support programs

Being kind to our planet

We have committed to climate action leadership by setting a net-zero emissions target by 2030, and are taking action on climate change to protect the natural resources that sustain us, so East Gippsland remains a great place to live – today, tomorrow and for future generations.

Our purpose is for people and communities to live well, and our value of compassion includes being caring and kind to people and the planet. Pursuing a net-zero target aligns with our purpose and values and sets an example for other local organisations and businesses. It also allows us to build our climate resilience and encourage the community to commit to sustainable practices via promotions and communication.

Ultimately, we know a healthy planet is vital for a healthy population, and sustainability is important to our people, consumers, communities, and business success.

In 2022, we established our Sustainability Committee to support the implementation of our 2022-2025 Sustainability Plan. The plan focuses on reducing emissions and building and preparing our climate resilience.

To date, the Sustainability Committee has implemented a range of waste management solutions to reduce what we’re sending to landfill at our larger sites, including:

Healthy Eating Facilitator, Andrea taking care of compost with The Lounge Crew.

Supporting our community

Helping our community access services

Our sexual and reproductive health hub, Clinic 281, had the opportunity to contribute a rural service provider perspective by participating in the Victorian Auditor General Office Supporting Sexual and Reproductive Health Audit. The audit focused on access, which is crucial for people in East Gippsland, particularly for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups with access to local and affordable services.

 

For example, a woman from a culturally and linguistically diverse background contacted Clinic 281, seeking advice on a suspected unplanned pregnancy. Our staff engaged translation services to support the consultation and organising necessary investigations. At the subsequent consultation, the woman was advised that she was not eligible for a medical abortion. 

 

With no local access to surgical abortion services in the area, Clinic 281 staff contacted several known services in Melbourne and found a suitable and affordable option. 

 

Clinic 281 staff developed a step-by-step plan to ensure the client could safely attend the appointment and organised follow-up care. This included helping her buy train tickets and transport once in Melbourne. 

 

The client was so grateful for the care and support she received from our team that she delivered a card and home-grown vegetables to the clinic as a token of appreciation. As a result of the care and support provided by the staff at Clinic 281, other women from her community have attended the service. 

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On the Move - supporting children and young people through innovation

Warren, our Children and Youth Groupwork Facilitator, wanted to better engage with children and young people in remote locations across East Gippsland and provide them with group-based and individual support. His solution? To go mobile in a custom Mobile Activity Van (MAV) decked out with the latest virtual reality technology and other mobile digital devices. 

 

After securing the necessary funding, he conducted a series of community engagement sessions in remote locations such as Cann River and Omeo to seek input from children and young people.

 

He learnt they wanted access to specialised and universal services in their communities. They expressed that they often felt left out, and the geographical distance to required services was a significant barrier that was also affected by their inability to transport themselves and their reliance on caregivers.

 

They also spoke about their need for safe spaces, such as youth centres, where they can socialise and seek support. 

 

The MAV will fill these voids.

 

Fast forward several months, and the end product is incredible and a testament to the children and young people who were part of the co-design process. 

 

Together, we have created an innovative mobile technology hub providing an engaging and specialised assistance space for children and young people without them leaving their communities. And it's all wrapped in a design that uniquely illustrates the Gunaikurnai Country lands and waters.

 

To learn more about this project, please contact Warren on 5155 8300. 

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Melanie's Story

My name is Melanie, and I’ve been part of the Home and Community Care Program for Younger People since January 2022. I am 47 and have a neurodegenerative disease that slowly shuts down my autonomic functions. I am bedridden and require personal and domestic care.

 

And thank goodness for GLCH. They’ve been utterly excellent from my initial assessment to now. From the very start, my assessor, Tara, sought to fully understand my needs and set up a program of care to attend to them. Everything was and is so thorough and attentive and very centred around my requirements and preferences.

 

My workers are all great. Each has their strengths. They are all very kind and empathetic while being efficient and organised. I feel very comfortable with them and very pleased with the scheduling team should I change my roster. Changes are communicated quickly, and I always feel confident they are on top it.

 

I’ve also found management to be kind and accessible - Tara, Sophie and Penny have been very helpful, especially with working around my limited finances. I have very little family support, and I’m from Melbourne, so my close friends are down there. So, what they do for me is critically important, especially given my prognosis.

 

The thought of being this sick now without all this support is awful, and I’m thankful every day for how great they all are and how lucky I am. I can’t imagine receiving this level of service in Melbourne, or at least not so personalised and client centred as here. I’m an ex-corporate HR executive who worked in multinational consulting firms in my former life. I understand the challenges of service delivery and budgets and probably have pretty high and specific expectations. But honestly, GLCH has impressed me to no end.

 

My loved ones are also very thankful for the service and feel relief knowing I’m in good hands.

 

Thank you to everyone at GLCH involved in my care and to the Board for ensuring good people are in leadership. Good organisations start at the top, and from my viewpoint, you are all doing a fantastic job in what can be a tough sector.

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Frank's Story

Frank is 74 years old. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease three years ago. He had never done any exercise specific to his Parkinson's, or heard of the PD Warrior program our allied health team delivered in Lakes Entrance.

 

Frank lives with his wife on a farm. When our team first saw Frank, he struggled to manage his large vegetable garden and piggery. He also avoided leaving the farm because he lacked confidence in social situations.

 

Frank thought there was nothing he could do about his Parkinson's except to take his regular medications.

 

His mood was low, and he felt he had lost his usual cheeky sense of humour. He was also having trouble sleeping, affecting his ability to complete daily activities.

 

Enter Harry, our neurological physiotherapist. She assessed Frank and found that Parkinson's affected how he walked, his balance and movement. She referred Frank to the world-renowned 'game-changing' exercise and education program, PD Warrior, in September 2022.

 

Harry gave Frank specific exercises to help slow the progression of his symptoms, and he started his PD Warrior exercise sessions with one of our allied health assistants, Remmie, once a week.

 

He was also given a home exercise program focusing on retraining his balance and gait and practising moving with large, exaggerated, powerful movements.

 

After five months of diligent exercise, Frank was surprised by how good he felt. He was back, tending his pigs and vegetables with ease. He was walking better and for longer and was sleeping well. His zest and confidence for life had finally returned!

 

Frank now has a twinkle in his eye, and his cheeky sense of humour has reappeared. He has been leaving the house more often and reports, "I am moving better and feeling much happier."

 

His only regret is that he wishes he had known about PD Warrior years ago. "It's helped me return to the life I always wanted," he says.

 

Frank has joined our PD Warrior group, including others who want to live their best life with Parkinson's. He benefits from their motivation and support and enjoys a coffee and chat after each gym session.

 

As he reflects on the transformation since starting PD Warrior, he says, "I thought I was at the end of the road, but there is so much more potential for the future."

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Team Donna!

Donna is an NDIS Support Coordination client living with her partner in the remote Bendoc community near the NSW border. Donna has a brain injury that affects her balance, communication, memory, and mood. It prevents her from driving and makes some basic daily activities difficult. 

 

When Donna got her first NDIS plan, she wasn't sure what to expect. She thought it might support her to do a couple of online courses or participate in craft workshops. She felt that her remote location would prevent her from accessing much more. She wasn't sure how it would help her to improve her daily life.

 

Our NDIS Support Coordinator, Susie, visited Donna twice over six months and spoke to her on the phone every few weeks. By the end of the first six months, Donna had access to:

  • The necessary equipment to attend telehealth appointments.
  • Specialist assessments with an occupational therapist, speech pathologist, and neuropsychologist.
  • Assistive technology including, a bath transfer bench, toilet surround, a 'handybar' for transferring in and out of high 4WD, and a personal alarm in case of falls.
  • Physiotherapy every month in Bega, NSW and regular shopping trips with her neighbour, who began working as her independent disability support worker.

Another neighbour works in Donna's home and yard, reducing trip hazards and improving level paths to reduce her risk of falling.

 

Susie returned to Bendoc after six months when Donna's NDIS plan was due for renewal. Donna had her team of local supporters (Team Donna) and welcomed Susie with home-cooked scones and a spread of chips and dips.

 

Susie and 'Team Donna' spent an enjoyable afternoon carefully reading the recommendations in five different specialist reports and planning how her support budget can best used to improve her day-to-day life in the coming year.

 

The support Donna has received through her NDIS plan has made it easier for her to be independent, expanded her circle of trusted supports, taken the pressure off her immediate family, significantly improved her mood and reduced the risks to her safety.

 

It has improved the quality of Donna's life without leaving the remote community where she feels at home and has created employment in a community where opportunities are otherwise limited.

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Building resilience and better mental health outcomes

Connect Well East Gippsland & Wellington Farmer Resilience is a project facilitated by Gippsland Lakes Complete Health and has been delivered by the Department of Health in partnership with Agriculture Victoria and the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions. This project is supported by the National Centre for Farmer Health through a Community of Practice, which will lead to a co-designed evaluation approach. The Connect Well East Gippsland & Wellington Farmer Resilience Project is funded via the Victorian Government’s Smarter Safer Farms Strategy Agriculture-dependent Community Resilience project.

The aim of this project is to connect with small rural communities across East Gippsland and Wellington Shires directly or through existing networks and work with those communities to develop and support events, programs or workshops that will build resilience and contribute to better mental wellbeing outcomes for agricultural-dependent rural communities.

Events have included the Ensay Working Dog Demonstration with Joe Spicer from ABC Television’s Muster Dogs program and a Farmer’s Night Out in Glenaladale. These events gave farmers and rural community members opportunities to connect, participate in activities and share challenges and highlights with others who attended. The Ensay Working Dog Demonstration saw a large crowd enjoy four one-hour demonstrations, and the day was made possible due to the hard work and dedication of many local volunteers.

An ANZAC Day commemoration in Meerlieu brought attendees together over breakfast, and local rural community members could share stories of family members who had served in the armed forces. A bugler and bagpiper made the day special; local volunteers ensured everything ran smoothly.

Highlights of this project include working with communities to bring together their rural community members for Christmas celebrations and supporting agencies and organisations to deliver events such as farm succession planning expos and workshops focusing on emergency planning and preparedness.

The Connect Well East Gippsland & Wellington Farmer Resilience Project has utilised the strength of small rural communities to help build individual resilience through community-led events, workshops and activities. Agriculture-dependent communities are sustained by strong bands of volunteers and their capacity to work together to ensure better outcomes for their communities.

Meerlieu locals at the ANZAC Day service and breakfast.

Meerlieu locals at the ANZAC Day service and breakfast.

Inclusion & Diversity

At GLCH, we value and respect the diversity of our staff, clients and communities in which we work and live. We strive to deliver inclusive, accessible and culturally safe services. 

Over the past year, achievements of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee have been:

TAP HERE view our Inclusion and Diversity Plan.

Marnie, Ashley and Bec wearing the t-shirt Ashley and Aboriginal Cultural Officer Abby designed for NAIDOC Week.

Healthy Lifestyle Programs

Active Living

Adult Health & Wellbeing

Children & Parenting

Children's Centre Programs including:

Paediatric Therapy Programs

Staying Connected

Social groups for people of all ages, abilities, and interests (Lakes Entrance based unless otherwise indicated).

Young People’s Health & Wellbeing

Finance Summary

Gippsland Lakes Complete Health delivered a surplus result of $2,871,896 for the 2022-23 financial year, maintaining a strong financial position to embrace future opportunities and challenges as they arise.

 

Operating result

Our operating result for the year, including depreciation and gain/(loss) on disposal of assets, was a surplus of $2,871,896.

 

Gippsland Lakes Complete Health continues to be supported in seeking and successfully attracting funding required to build and expand service delivery.

 

GLCH has a sound financial base, showing strong liquidity and associated ability to meet all employee and program commitments. Employee costs continues to represent the largest area of expenditure, accounting for 59%, followed by client costs representing 30% of total expenses.

 

Assets and Liabilities

GLCH maintains a strong financial position, strengthen with a 5% increase in total assets, and total liabilities declining by 5% during the period.

 

Governance

The Board recognises the importance of a strong governance framework and supports this with established Finance and Quality Governance committees that meet bi-monthly. The Finance Committee reviews financial reports, ensures accounting policies are applied, recommends the approval of audited annual financial statements, and ensures that issues raised as part of internal and external financial audits are addressed.

 

Audited Financial Statements

Gippsland Lakes Complete Health prepares General Purpose, reduced disclosure financial statements in accordance with the requirements of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Audit Act 1994.

 

Tap the button below to view a complete set of Financial Statements, notes and Auditor’s Report.

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