More than just a meal

AMOWA 2017-18 Pre-Budget Submission

March 27, 2017

National Meal Guidelines launched against backdrop of funding uncertainty

February 22, 2017

The National Meal Guidelines were formally launched by the Minister Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, Hon. Ken Wyatt AM MP at Parliament House in Canberra last week. A transcript of his speech can be found here.

While AMOWA and Meals on Wheels continue to develop and forge ahead, funding uncertainly is threatening service viability. National AMOWA President Nelson Mathews highlighted this in his speech at the launch, calling for funding certainty and an extra $5 million dollars in the 2017 budget to address funding shortfalls and inequities. A transcript of his speech can be viewed here.


meeting attendees
The Minister for Aged Care and Minister from Indigenous Health, Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP (centre right) with (from left) Associate Professor Karen Walton, Project Leader, Smart Foods Centre, Wollongong University, and the Project Steering Group; Sharon Lawrence, Dietitian and DAA Representative; Nelson Mathews, AMOWA President and Steering Group Chair; Julie Bonnici, Manager Services Operations, SA Meals on Wheels; Duncan McDonald, Food Technologist.

Australian Meals on Wheels Conference 2017

February 8, 2017

Australian Meals on Wheels Conference 2017 (AMOWA2017), conference runs from 13 – 15 September 2017, Marriott Resort, Surfers Paradise Qld.


To ensure that services and volunteers have the opportunity to budget past the end of this financial year to attend the upcoming AMOWA National Conference, the Early Bird Deadline has been extended to the 31st July. Registrations must be received by close of business on this date to receive the early bird discounted rate.

Download the Conference Brochure here

Download the Conference Program here

Download the Registration Application Form here

The online registration link is:

Inaugural National Meal Guidelines released

October 25, 2016

Ground-breaking guidelines supporting innovative and flexible delivered meal programs have been released today by the Australian Meals on Wheels Association. The National Meal Guidelines were developed by the Australian Meals on Wheels Association in partnership with the Smart Foods Centre, University of Wollongong.  The guidelines represent the first nationally consistent approach to nutrition, menu planning and meal presentation for organisations providing delivered meals through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.  They are an excellent resource for other services providing meals for older people – in community centres, the consumer’s own kitchen, or in residential care settings.

A formal launch of the Guidelines, along with distribution of copies to member services, is expected to occur in November 2016.

Download the Guidelines

National Meal Guidelines – Landmark Document Close To Completion

August 26, 2016

Photo – Kathryn Dowling
The Wollongong Project Team includes Senior Professor Linda Tapsell, and pictured above (left to right) members of the Smart Foods Centre, Wollongong Team (W) and AMOWA Steering Committee (SC)- Associate Professor, Karen Charlton (W), Food Technologist, Duncan MacDonald, (SC), Dr Anne McMahon (W), Professor Peter Williams (W), SA Meals on Wheels Operations Manager, Julie Bonicci (SC), Project Leader and Associate Professor, Karen Walton (W), Dietitians Association of Australia Representative, Sharon Lawrence (SC) and Steering Group Chair, President AMOWA, Nelson Mathews (SC).


National Meal Guidelines
Landmark Document Close To Completion

Following very strong buy-in from the sector during the stakeholder consultation process that included leading experts on nutrition and grass roots providers, both the steering and project groups had a lot to weigh up and consider.

Project Steering Group Chair and AMOWA President, Nelson Mathews says, “Balancing the nutritional science, which tends to be prescriptive, and the practicalities of individual service’s resources, and the need for greater flexibility in relation to consumer choice, has been the biggest hurdle”

“This is shaping up to be a landmark document” said Nelson. “We feel we’re very close to releasing something the sector can be proud of”

The National Meal Guidelines will be released on the 10th of October on this site, with hard copies mailed to all providers in the following weeks. A launch to celebrate the release will take place in late October, early November.

National Meal Guidelines – A New Approach To Food

National Nutritional Guidelines have been recommended by various stakeholders involved in the home delivered meals sector for over a decade. We’re very excited to announce that AMOWA received a grant from the Australian Government for the purpose of developing National Meal Guidelines following a proposal submitted in October 2015. After an invited tender process a team for the Smart Foods Centre, University of Wollongong was chosen to undertake the project.

The Department of Social Services, Key Directions for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme paper, made the following recommendations as a result of the Home and Community Care (HACC) Meals Review (page 60):

  • Develop voluntary National Nutrition Guidelines for delivered and centre-based meals (based on existing state guidelines).
  • These guidelines will be developed from July 2015 to provide nationally consistent, practical advice to meal providers to support their existing efforts in enhancing the nutritional quality of meals and responding to nutrient requirements for frail aged clients in particular.

The change in terminology from ‘nutritional guidelines’ to ‘meals guidelines’ was recommended by AMOWA and agreed to by the federal government. It was thought that the term ‘nutritional’ was too restrictive and did not adequately encompass important factors such as packaging, texture, choice, appearance and quality, all vital in encouraging best practice and ensuring that consumers are more likely to eat the meals provided.

Stakeholder Engagement – Workshops, Surveys and Phone Interviews
There are three phases to stakeholder engagement. You may choose to engage in one, two or three of the phases.


Shaping the Future of Volunteering

May 26, 2016

Australian Meals on Wheels Association – Shaping the Future of Volunteering (2016)
AMOWA, supported by Challenger, commissioned research to explore what motivates people to volunteer, what might make them stop volunteering and what detracts from the volunteering experience.  The research was based on volunteers’ own experiences using a narrative approach, providing a rich perspective on a complex issue.  The findings will help Meals on Wheels and other services that rely on volunteers to better target recruitment and retention strategies.

Download report