Disability ACT E-NEWS (December 2012)

Message from Disability ACT Executive Team
Community development update
Everyone Everyday
I-Day Resource Kit
Buddy Program
Digital Story Telling
Support worker Awards
I-Day Grant recipients
Chief Ministers Inclusion Awards
NDIS Update
Self Esteem & Assertiveness course for women carers


Disability ACT E-News brings together information about recent events to keep you informed of current activities in the ACT. If you would like to include an item in the next E‑News, email Sharon Hooper at Sharon.Hooper@act.gov.au.

Message from Disability ACT Executive Team

Season’s Greetings
As we move towards the end of 2012, Disability ACT wishes clients, their families and carers, disability support workers and disability sector organisations all the best for the New Year. This time of the year, allows all of us to think about the past twelve months and to plan for the New Year. Thank you for the way in which you have engaged with Disability ACT as we aim to deliver services in the best interests of our people with disability.

2012 has gone so very quickly and we have seen quite a lot of change. As we move towards the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the ACT, Disability ACT will continue to work with the disability sector to transition into this new world.

We hope you enjoy the opportunity to spend time with your family and friends over the Christmas and New Year and wish you all the very best for 2013. 2013 is the Centenary of Canberra and if you are looking for an event to attend during the year go to www.canberra100.com.au External Link

New Executive Director, Disability ACT
The Director-General, Community Services Directorate recently announced that Lorna Sullivan will join Disability ACT as Executive Director in February 2013. Lorna has an international reputation for her work in the field of disability policy and practice. She is leaving her current position as the CEO of Imagine Better, New Zealand to join us. 

Lorna has professional qualifications in the fields of Rehabilitation and Psychology. She has been a key driver of innovative service reforms and a primary adviser to the New Zealand Government on matters relevant to people with disability. Lorna has an extensive list of achievements in sector and workforce development, developing tools for families and individuals and in working with the Indigenous and Pacific peoples of New Zealand. Lorna has run businesses and worked in Government as a regional manager for many years. Disability ACT is looking forward to Lorna leading the team through our journey to the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Innovation Grants Now Open
Innovation Grants are available for people individually or representing an organisation for one-off strategic projects and initiatives that aim to create or improve opportunities for vulnerable people in the ACT, including people with disability. These projects would also have potential to assist a number of people including services or supports for carers and families; or by influencing systemic change.

A maximum allocation of up to $50,000 is available per application to support these projects or initiatives. Total funding available this year is $150,000.

Disability ACT will accept applications until 5pm on Monday 25 February 2013. Late applications will not be considered.

An Information Session will be held on:
Wednesday 23 January 2013 at 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Meeting Room, Ballarn Room 1
Lower Ground Floor - Nature Conservation House
153 Emu Bank
Belconnen ACT 2617

To register for this session please email: dhcscontractsandgrants@act.gov.au or phone Diane Warner on (02) 6207 6864.

To obtain the Information Pack and Application Form
Information Pack and Application Form are available here or go to the directorate's grants webpage or the ACT Government Grants website www.grants.act.gov.au External Link and look under the banner Health and Community Wellbeing Grants to find 2012-2013 Innovations Grant or email dhcscontractsandgrants@act.gov.au or phone Diane Warner on (02) 6207 6864.

Community Development Update

Everyone Everyday
The trial of the Everyone, Everyday resource with students in Years 3 and 4 is nearing completion, with feedback being compiled from focus groups, teaching observations and surveys. This information will be used to make recommended changes to the teaching resource in order to meet the needs of primary schools in the ACT. Feedback to date suggests the program has resulted in improved attitudes and more inclusive practices within classrooms of participating schools. Work is underway to develop the resource for K – Years 2, 5 and 6.

The Everyone, Everyday project team participated in celebrations at the I-Day Expo and Markets at Albert Hall displaying program materials and offering a range of free activities including badge making. Children and their families enjoyed this activity, and some fabulous ideas for inclusion were captured on the day.

I-Day Resource Kit
Members of the Community Development team have compiled an I-Day Resource Kit for use in primary schools. It contains lesson plans and whole school activities for teachers to use around I-Day (International Day of People With Disability). The key themes throughout the Kit are: (1) valuing diversity; and (2) focussing on the positive. All government primary schools received a hard copy of the kit, while non-government schools received electronic copies. For more information contact maureen.howe@act.gov.au

I Day Expo and MarketsI-Day Expo and Market
The I Day Expo and Market, held at Albert Hall on Saturday 1 December 2012 has been described as the most successful inclusive event in recent years. The Disability ACT Community Development team formed a unique partnership with the Community Living Project to hold the Expo to celebrate International Day of People With Disability. The partnership aimed to strengthen connections between all stakeholders, and was well-aligned with the 2013 theme of overcoming barriers. The Expo was an opportunity for all Canberrans to join together to celebrate and elevate the status and value of people with disability.

The event had a record number of participants, with estimates putting attendance at between 800 and 1000. Senator Kate Lundy opened the Expo and ABC Radio’s Genevieve Jacobs did a sterling job of quietening the crowd and was Master of Ceremonies for the morning.

The crowds were entertained by X-Factor’s Declan Sykes, the infamous rock band Rudely Interrupted, Dream Team dance troupe, Lyneham High Jazz band, Young Music Society, Belly Dancers and ‘Count Us In’ choirs from Hawker Primary, St Thomas the Apostle and St Vincent’s Primary Schools.

There was a huge array of market stalls, showcasing the skills of people with disability; information stalls; as well as a range of ‘come and try activities’ such as softball, soccer, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, bocce, and even badge-making.

Feedback from the day suggests it was a great success. One respondent said it was “fantastic, fun and vibrant”, while another enjoyed it because of the “festive and inclusive atmosphere”.

A very sincere thanks to all those who participated, volunteered their time and made the I-Day Expo and Market an event to remember, and a whole community celebration.

Buddy Program
Students from Cranleigh and Fraser primary schools were invited to participate in a Buddy Program with the Disability ACT Community Development team and Softball ACT. They were all keen to be involved, and met each other every week for 10 weeks. All students participated in many activities, including a softball game at the very ‘grand’ Hawker stadium. It was a great way to develop relationships and gain insights into the huge range of skills, interests and abilities of all students.

Fraser students said they were very nervous at first, but quickly overcame their reservations and really enjoyed the time with their buddies from Cranleigh. Diana said she “loved meeting and interacting with Dylan and Ashley”, while Ashdon reported that “you learn things you didn’t know before”, and that it’s “good to hang around with kids who aren’t like you”. Others reported that it was great fun, and that the Cranleigh students were “very active and outgoing”.

Students from Fraser were asked at the beginning of the program if they were nervous about meeting children with disability. There was a unanimous ‘yes’ with all students raising their hands. During discussions at the end of the program, the same students were asked if they would be nervous about spending time with children with disability in the future – no hands were raised. Valuing difference is a critical component of inclusion and it is great to see young people leading the way.

Disability Support Worker Awards
On Thursday 30 November 2012 the Disability Professionals Learning Network hosted the 5th Annual Disability Support Worker Awards. These awards celebrated the valuable contributions workers made supporting people with disability in the ACT. A record number of nominations were received creating a challenging task to determine the winners.Disability ACT Support Worker Awards

The award winners for 2012 are:

  • Best Individual Support Worker Kelvin Ingrey from Just Better Care
  • Rookie of the year Liza Venus from ADACAS
  • Long Service Award Pam De Pasquale from Disability ACT
  • Team Leader Award Melinda Mitchell from House with No Steps
  • Team Award Alison de-Maine, Rick Carey, Tia Spencer and Stephen Cullen from Hartley Life Care

The awards were presented by Maureen Sheehan, Deputy Director General, Community Services Directorate. Ms Sheehan acknowledged the dedication, professionalism and skill of all workers in the field who make a positive difference in the lives of people with disability, paying special tribute to award winners on the night.

The Disability Professionals Learning Network is a joint initiative of government and non government disability workers that raises the professionalism of support workers by increasing career and training opportunities and fosters the sharing of information and learning between workers.

I DAY grant recipients and events
Each year Disability ACT offers one off grants for initiatives for the International Day of People with Disability. Administered by NICAN, many applications were received and recipients were chosen based how the activity related to this years’ theme, breaking down barriers and celebrating abilities.

Among the 10 recipients were:

  • Technical Aid to the Disabled ACT for Walk a Loop, a walk around Lake Burley Griffin to raise awareness of I-Day;
  • Carers ACT for a event formally launching the Uniquely Us Cafe;
  • The I-Day Expo and Market organised by the Community Living Project;
  • Gungahlin Regional Community Service for an art exhibition and Amazing Race-style event; and
  • The Human Rights Commission to stage a gala event featuring films made by, with and about people with disability.

All of the events were a great success and promoted inclusive opportunities that highlighted the supporting themes of International Day of People with Disability.

Chief Ministers Inclusion Awards
The 2012 ACT Chief Minister's Inclusion Awards were presented at a gala dinner on Tuesday 4 December 2012 in Gandel Hall, National Gallery of Australia. The awards celebrate organisations and individuals who have championed the inclusion of Canberrans with a disability.

The 2012 Award for Excellence was awarded to the ACT Social Enterprise Hub. This is a virtual network, linking organisations with partners and business mentors to establish social enterprises - feasible and profitable businesses that also satisfy a social purpose. The Social Enterprise Hub also received the award for Innovation in Inclusion, for helping to create long-term employment opportunities for those who were excluded from the labour market.

The evening was a great success due to the commitment and enthusiasm of many dedicated staff from Disability ACT working with BDW, the event organisers and BLITS.

Congratulation to the 55 nominees and to the winners:

  • National Mailing & Marketing winner of the Inclusion in Medium to Large Business;
  • Canberra Theatre Centre winner of the Inclusion - ACT Directorate or Agency;
  • St Edmunds College winner of Inclusion in Education and Training;
  • Lord’s Taverners Australia, ACT Branch winner of Inclusion in Sports;
  • Belconnen Arts Centre winner of Inclusion in the Arts;
  • Novotel Canberra winner of Inclusion in Hospitality and Tourism;
  • ACT Social Enterprise Hub winner of Innovation in Inclusion;
  • Mrs Louise Bannister winner of The Margaret Spalding Award (Inclusion by an Individual).

NDIS Update
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher together with the Prime Minister signed an historic bilateral agreement at the conclusion of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on Friday 7 December 2012, confirming funding and arrangements for the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) from July 2014.

The Commonwealth Government has committed $10.6 million for enhanced services and NDIS readiness in the ACT, as well as $12 m to be spent in the ACT on sector development.
The ACT will be delivering enhanced disability services from 1 July 2013 and working to prepare for the full roll out of the NDIS from July 2014. The scheme will extend additional support to people with disabilities and their families, allowing them to access funds to meet the cost of a range of needs relating to their disability. The scheme will also ensure that all Canberrans are covered by the scheme.

The NDIS offers real reform of the disability services in this country and the ACT is proud to be one of the five launch sites around the country.

With the signing of the agreement and the introduction of the legislation, we are now on our way to implementing the NDIS and bringing its tangible benefits to the people of the ACT. Go to the COAG website for more information at www.coag.gov.au/node/485 External Link

There is still a lot of work to be done to prepare for the changes the NDIS will bring, however the potential benefits for all Canberrans particularly for people with disability, their families and carers will be extremely significant.

On 29 November 2012, the Australian Government introduced the draft National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Bill External Link into Parliament.

The Bill will gives people with disability a right to realise their potential, and to have choice and control over the decisions that affect their lives. The legislation sets out the framework for the national scheme – that will start to operate in five launch sites around the country from mid-next year. It sets out key elements of the scheme, such as how eligibility will be determined, and the reasonable and necessary supports the NDIS will provide.

The Bill has been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for consideration. During this time, the Australian Government will continue to work with states and territories on the legislation, and consult with people with disabilities, their families and carers on the detail of the Bill, to ensure that they can continue to provide feedback about this important reform. It is the Australian Government’s intention to bring a final version of the bill for a vote in the budget session of parliament next year ahead of the start of the first stage of the NDIS from July 2013.
People with disability, their families, carers and advocates will also have an opportunity to comment on the Bill on the Your Say forum External Link on the NDIS website. You can also view provide feedback to the ACT Government by emailing NDIS@act.gov.au. I encourage you to view the ACT Government’s NDIS website at the following web address www.communityservices.act.gov.au/disability_act/national_disability_insurance_scheme.

The ACT Government, in consultation with the NDIS Expert Panel, will continue to provide comment and input to the Bill to ensure people with disability and their families have more choice and control over their lives.

The Bill and its guide may be viewed at the following website: www.ndis.gov.au/towards/ndis-draft-legislation/ External Link Also, the Prime Minister’s media release regarding the introduction of the Bill can be viewed at www.pm.gov.auExternal Link


Digital Story Telling
A quick reminder about 2 workshops in January 2013 for school-leavers with disability. Workshops are free, but places are filling up, so if you’re interested, email maureen.howe@act.gov.au. Please check previous e-news for more detailed information on Digital Story Telling.

Self Esteem & Assertiveness Course for Carers
A six week course for women who are caring for someone with disability will be run in February 2013. This course is delivered in partnership between Disability ACT, Women’s Information & Referral Centre and Carers ACT.

Dates: 11, 18 and 25 February 2013 and 4, 18 and 25 March 2013
Time: Mondays 9:30 am – 12 noon
Venue: Carers ACT, 80 Beaurepaire Crescent, Holt
Cost: Free

Bookings are essential as places are limited. For more details on the course and to book a place please contact Disability Information Service on 62071086, or email disabilityact@act.gov.au