Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Inclusive Arts

Here's a couple of great organisations doing some amazing work in inclusive arts. By inclusive arts we mean it's for everybody - not just a program or project which is disability specific.

Shopfront is a contemporary arts centre – a cultural network and production co-operative where all young people under 25, regardless of background or ability can create themselves.

Below is a great dance piece they have produced called Zombie vs Bird:

Zombie vs Bird is an examination of the conflicts that arise at home and in the schoolyard, set within the rules and boundaries of a computer game.
Image courtesy of
Another great organisation doing some cool stuff is Bus Stop Films. Bus Stop Films has a focus on creating inclusion within the film industry. So far Bus Stop has been involved with creating three inclusive films, that have been screened both nationally and internationally, these films have also picked up a number of awards including the top gong at Tropfest 09.

People with mixed abilities fulfilled roles within the cast and crew of the films showcasing their talents and ability. The films also provided our participants the chance to be involved in film making at a professional standard.

Their latest work is a short film called The Interviewer, you can find out more about it at the film's website:

Pretty cool don't you think? Have you come across any other companies / organisations doing great work in inclusive arts? Let us know!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Disability not the Problem in an Accessible Society

Image showing the title page of the 'National Disability Strategy NSW Implementation Plan' featuring people with disability accessing the community and work.The above is the statement the NSW Government recently made when it released the "The National Disability Strategy NSW Implementation Plan 2012 -2014". A long title indeed.

The plan commits all areas of government to shift the structural and attitudinal barriers which impact on the lives of people with disability.

The National Disability Strategy NSW Implementation Plan outcomes areas are:
  • Inclusive and accessible communities - transport, housing, buildings, websites
  • Rights protection, justice and legislation – address criminal justice issues, improve access to complaints handling, support people with disability to stand for local government elections in 2016, maximise people’s autonomy through supported decision making
  • Economic security and employment - provide incentives to employ people with disability, create pathways for school leavers and volunteering opportunities
  • Access to personal and community support – through self directed supports and individualised funding, assistive technology, housing for Aboriginal people with mental illness
  • Learning and skills development - early childhood education, improve options to develop skills through community participation, life choices and active ageing
  • Health and wellbeing – improve access to health services, prevention and screening programs

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Improving Employment Participation of People with Disability.

Image showing front cover of discussion paper entitled "Improving the employment participation of people with disability in Australia'.
On 3 December 2012 Minister for Employment & Workplace Relations - Bill Shorten released a Discussion Paper: Improving Employment Participation of People with Disability

 The discussion paper looks at the best ways to:
  • promote and improve equality for people with disability in employment and in the workplace
  • support employers to identify and remove barriers to the full and equal participation of people with disability in the workforce, in recognition of the disadvantaged position of people with disability in relation to employment matters
  •  promote among employers the elimination of discrimination on the basis of a person’s disability
  • foster workplace consultation between employers and employees on issues concerning people with disability in employment and in the workplace
  • improve the productivity and competitiveness of Australian business through the advancement of people with disability in the workplace.

The Government is asking for feedback and submissions on the paper, and would like to hear from:

  • people with disability, their families, carers and community representatives
  • employers – large and small and employer representatives
  • current Employment Service Providers
  • state and local governments
  • the Australian Council of Trade Unions and unions.
Closing date for submissions: 5.00 pm (Canberra Time) 15 February 2013.

You can read the paper here in pdf format
Or for a RTF format you can visit the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations' website here.

What are some ideas you think could help to get more people with disability into the workforce?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2012 National Disability Awards Recipients

The National Disability Awards are part of the International Day of People with Disability celebrations which are held 3 December each year.

Below we've listed the recipients in each catergory, who received their awards from Senator the Hon Jan McLucas last week. You can also read about what they have achieved.

Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award - Dr Rhonda Galbally, of Richmond, Victoria
Dr Galbally has been a tireless campaigner for more than 30 years for disability rights, women’s rights, health reform, more resilient communities and innovation in philanthropy.

Rhonda played a key role in bringing together people with disability, carers and providers of disability services to campaign for change. She spearheaded the establishment of the National 

Disability and Carer Alliance, and with the Alliance has been a driving force behind the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Rhonda is the Chair of the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council and the Deputy Chair of the Advisory Council for the establishment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Minister’s Award for Excellence in Disability Reform – Michael Small, Sandy Bay, Tasmania and Samantha Jenkinson, Karrinyup, Western Australia
Throughout his lengthy career, Michael has dedicated himself to advocating for the rights of people with disability, particularly through the development of government policy and accessibility standards. Michael was closely involved in developing standards for accessible public transport and banking services, led negotiations to improve cinema and television captioning, and now runs an access consultancy that focuses on making practical changes to improve the rights of people with disability and their families.

Samantha has dedicated her professional life to fighting for disability reform in Western Australia and across the country. Samantha’s many achievements include her work on a number of projects to increase the choice and control of people with disability, participation on a number of ministerial advisory committees, and her contribution to the state’s Count Me In: Disability Future Directions strategy.

Emerging Leaders Award – Gerard O’Dwyer, Guildford, New South Wales
 As an actor with Down Syndrome, Gerard is using his profile to challenge entrenched stereotypes, particularly of people with an intellectual disability. His work includes dramatic performances in film and television, including his role in the film Be My Brother, for which he won Best Male Actor at the 2009 Sydney Tropfest Film Festival. Gerard is currently an ambassador for Karelle Life Enrichment Service, a provider of services to people with intellectual disability.

Excellence in Improving Social Participation Award – The Captioning Studio, Adelaide, South Australia and Australian Communication Exchange, Stones Corner, Queensland.
From the Sydney Opera House to the Arts Centre in Melbourne, The Captioning Studio’s innovative, accessible technologies and services are helping people with hearing impairment to better access performing arts. An example of the studio’s innovations is the world-first technology GoTheatrical, which enables people who are deaf or hearing impaired to enjoy live theatre by accessing live captions on their mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets.

Australian Communication Exchange is considered Australia’s leading service provider for the deaf, hearing and speech-impaired communities. Examples of its range of technologically advanced services include silent tweets—a smart phone app that allows users to post and receive important public announcements—and its new web captioned telephony service, which provides live captioning for telephone calls that can be accessed from a computer or smart phone over the internet.

Excellence in Improving Employment Opportunities Award – Telstra Corporation
Telstra Corporation is expanding its successful Supported Workforce Program, which currently partners with 13 Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) nationwide to provide meaningful and ongoing employment for more than 200 people with disability. With a demonstrated commitment to delivering accessible services to Australians with disability for many years, Telstra was the first major Australian corporation to develop a Disability Action Plan in 1996.

Excellence in Accessible Communities Award – Safe Futures Foundation, Eastern Region, Victoria
Safe Futures Foundation delivers early intervention, emergency and crisis support, as well as accommodation for women and children with disability who are experiencing family violence. The organisation fills a vital gap in the area of family violence and safety, and acts across the domestic violence and disability sectors to raise awareness of the risks faced by women with disability.

Excellence in Improving Personal and Community Support Award – Mary D’Elia, Hobart, Tasmania
In her role as State Operations Manager, Family and Community Services, for Baptcare, Mary D’Elia has played a pivotal role in policy reforms to improve the lives of Tasmanians living with disability. She has worked extensively with the Tasmanian Government to help develop and deliver the state’s Gateway Services – a single entry point for consumers to family and disability services in Tasmania.

Excellence in Advocacy and Rights Promotion Award – Communication Rights Australia – Moorabbin, Victoria
Communication Rights Australia is an advocacy and information service for people who face challenges communicating. For more than 30 years, it has advocated for people with communication difficulties to ensure that their rights and interests are respected and realised. In addition to working with individual clients, Communication Rights Australia provides a range of outreach services, including presentations and seminars at public forums.

Excellence in Improving Health Outcomes Award – Family Planning Queensland, Fortitude Valley
Family Planning Queensland in Fortitude Valley were awarded for their commitment to ensuring people with disability have access to the information and resources they need to make informed choices about their sexuality and reproductive health. The organisation also delivers positive messages to people with disability about their sexuality, sexual development and safe sex.

Excellence in Improving Education Outcomes Award – Geoffrey Warren, Clifton Hill
 As the Principal of Clifton Hill Primary School for the past 23 years, Geoffrey’s extraordinary leadership has ensured inclusive educational practices have been embedded across every aspect of school life. A culture of respect and the expectation of achievement is a striking characteristic of the entire school community, and the judges were impressed by Geoffrey’s dedication to creating a collaborative culture. The school consults regularly with families and allied health professionals so that it can benefit from the extensive knowledge and expertise of all parties.

Yooralla Media Award of Distinction – The Project, Network Ten, Victoria
 The Project has received this year’s Yooralla Media Award of Distinction for its unparalleled commitment air a range of issues across the disability sector, and to follow up stories to enhance the viewers’ understanding of these issues and their consequences. One of its stories, Finding Hope, was named the winner in the Television – Best TV News, Feature or Documentary (less than five minutes) category at the 2012 Yooralla Media Awards.

Visit the IPwD website to find out more.