What is the ACT Disability Reference Group?
The ACT Government Disability Reference Group has replaced the ACT Disability Expert Panel.
The ACT Disability Reference Group helps the ACT Government to implement the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020.
There are six areas of work for the National Disability Strategy:
- Inclusive and accessible communities
- Rights protection, Justice and Legislation
- Economic Security
- Personal and community support
- Learning and skills
- Health and Wellbeing
About the Disability Reference Group
The Disability Reference Group meets six times a year, for two hours each time. Sometimes three to four Disability Reference Group members will meet in between the formal meetings. Any vacancies will be advertised on the Diversity Register
The current members are:
Ms Alicia Flack-Kone
Ms Flack-Kone is the President of the ACT Down Syndrome Association (ACT DSA), She has a comprehensive understanding of the disability sector, and the daily challenges of working relating to inclusive education and community attitudes to people with disability. Ms Flack-Kone has also worked as an early childhood teacher.
Ms Deborah Eades
Ms Eades is a Koori woman from southern NSW, and a carer with extensive professional and personal experience in understanding inclusion support initiatives and services, particularly for children, teenagers and adults with disability. She has learned to overcome challenges and navigate the disability space to meet her son’s needs. She has three children - two are at university and Sam is the youngest and at Woden School.
Mr Douglas Herd (Chair)
Mr Herd has previously held a senior position working with the National Disability Insurance Agency. He is passionate about promoting increased social and economic participation of people with disability within a rights-based framework.
Ms Louise Bannister
Ms Bannister has worked in the disability sector for almost 20 years, as a consumer representative on a wide range of Commonwealth and ACT committees. She has also worked for not-for-profit organisations including Belconnen Community Service, National Disability Services and Women With Disabilities ACT.
Mr Jackson Sievers
Mr Sievers is a young man who sustained a spinal cord injury in his early 20s. He has experience working as a disability support worker and hopes to contribute the discoveries of both experiences to the DRG. He brings a youthful perspective towards the accessibility and inclusion challenges faced by people with a range of disabilities.
Mr Justin Le Couteur
Mr Le Couteur has 40 years of knowledge accumulated in relation to the experience of people with disability. Mr Le Couteur believes a role on the Reference Group would enable him to motivate and show young people with disability that anything is possible.
Ms Kerry Snell
As a woman who has lived and worked with legal blindness, Ms Snell is a passionate advocate for people with disability. She managed a consumer representative program for nine years and has served as an active member of many high-level ACT health committees and community boards. Ms Snell is passionate about achieving equitable access to mainstream services for people with disability.
Mr Michael Bleasdale
Michael is the CEO of the ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS), a position he took up in September 2018. Prior to this he worked as the CEO and then Managing Director of Home Modifications Australia, after holding the position of Executive Director for both the Attendant Care Industry Association (2012-2013) and People with Disability Australia (PWDA) (2008 – 2012). Michael worked for 16 years as a direct support provider and manager to people with disability, before focusing on research, training and education and eventually peak and advocacy work. He was Principal Researcher with the Disability Studies and Research Institute in 2005-2005, and did course coordination in disability-related subjects at the Australian Catholic University and Charles Sturt University. Whilst at PWDA he directed the Complaints Resolution and Referral Service and the National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline under contract to the Australian Government.
Ms Rebecca Cross
Ms Rebecca Cross is the Director-General, ACT Community Services Directorate. She was previously on secondment from the Commonwealth where she was the Deputy Secretary, Integrity and Information, Department of Human Services (DHS). For two years prior to joining DHS, Rebecca undertook a secondment to Bupa Australia and New Zealand as Head of Government Relations, Policy and Regulation. Ms Cross has an extensive government and social policy background including in health, education, disability, social services and human services and has occupied senior leadership roles in the Commonwealth Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Department of Education and the Department of Employment, Education and Training.
Mr Rey Reodica
Mr Reodica is the ACT Manager for National Disability Services – the peak organisation representing the disability support sector. Mr Reodica comes with a background in government – in both disability services and education – and more than a decade of experience in senior leadership position in peak youth bodies in New South Wales and nationally.
Mr Reodica was previously a senior manager in the NSW Government’s disability portfolio and worked to improve individualised funding approaches under NSW disability supports during the transition to the NDIS.
Ms Sharon Ding
Ms Ding has experience with promoting the inclusion of people with disability through her membership of several organisations including the Disability and Wellness Network, the Disability Education Reference Group, the Marymead Autism Advisory Group and the ACT Disability Working Group of the Parents and Citizens Council. She also brings lived experience as a person with disability and carer experience as a parent of a young child with disability.