A photo of Des Ryan in a dark grey jacket and white shirt with red and blue stripes and wearing glasses.

Des Ryan, Chairperson

Des has a twenty-year history with not-for-profit boards in Central Queensland providing care services to people with disabilities or training. Des has been a board member of Spinal Life Australia’s since 1996, resigning in January 2018, and leading the transition from a community-based board to a mixed board with a diverse skill set from the business and corporate sector.

Des has worked across a vast range of organisations supporting people with disability, including work to increase the employment of people with disability. Des has a strong interest also in Information Technology and has his own established database business Able Disabled. Des was awarded the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award in 2000, and Companion of Central Queensland University in 2008 and is a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal in 2013 for his service to people with disability.

With 50 years personal experience with a disability, Des is working to influence change, driven by the members of this network so that we can influence the direction of the NDIS into the future. Des says the highlight of his life as a person with a disability has been employment and volunteering. These are the two areas, in my mind, that put the cream on the cake. I would like to be able to maximise that opportunity for many others now and into the future.

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A photo of Sharon Boyce with short blonde hair

Sharon Boyce, Deputy-chair

Sharon is a part-time education academic and consultant in disability awareness across the state. She is passionate and committed to social justice – empowering people with a disability and supporting real living independence.

Sharon is the Chair for the Queensland Disability Advisory Council and Regional Chair of the South-West Regional Disability Advisory Council.

Among the awards she has received are the Queensland Regional Achiever Award in 2012 for her work in awareness raising and creating inclusive communities across Australia, a Human Rights Award in 2008 for her contribution to creating inclusion across the community, and a Disability Action Week Award in 2003 for her work writing an accessible children’s story book.

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a photo of Jane Britt with long blonde hair, glasses and a red scarf.

Jane Britt, Director (Chair Nominations and Performance)

Jane has a unique blend of personal experience with disability; expertise in the disability sector; a reputation for high-quality performance; a passion for advocacy and is a human rights expert.

Jane is the National Policy Officer at Blind Citizens Australia, a disability-led organisation, where over 75% of the staff and 100% of the board have lived experience of vision impairment or blindness. Jane is a graduate of Vision Australia’s Graduate Start program in Service Innovation and Design. She has worked with the Disability Leadership Institute as an Engagement Guru and as a freelance writer for the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) and Eureka Street.

As an integral member of QDeNgage, Jane has provided advice and feedback on disability for government consultations with QDeNgage.
She has been a member of the Reference Group for Deafblind Australia and is a Founder of Achilles Brisbane, a not-for-profit organisation assisting people with disabilities to lead an active lifestyle.

Jane brings to the Board considerable experience from across the disability sector. She is an active member of Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and a member of the Expert Advisory and Quality Review Panel for Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA). Jane has recently been awarded a 2020 Vision Australia Award for her commitment to advocacy. The awards acknowledge people and organisations who contribute time and resources to support the work of Vision Australia and the wider blind and low vision community.

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a photo of QDN board member John MacPherson, wearing a white and light blue polo and smiling at the camera.

John MacPherson, Director 

John is a founding member of QDN and is a strong believer that the network enhances its members’ lives and empowers them through information and representation.

John has a highly developed skill set around technical areas. He has represented QDN on many committees and forums including technical advisor during the drafting of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, one of the authors of the Premises Standard, author of the Accessible Rail Code of Practice, and authored or commented on numerous QDN responses to DDA related draft technical documents and DDA related legislation.

John currently represents QDN on:

  • Queensland Rail DDA Advisory Group;
  • Transport and Main Roads Access Committee;
  • Australian Network for Universal Housing Design;
  • Queensland Action for Universal Housing Design.

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A photo of board member Peter Tully, wearing a blue QDN polo and smiling at the camera.

Peter Tully, Director

Peter Tully brings a diverse range of skills, expertise and local, state and national networks to his role as Director on QDN’s Board. He has a strong commitment to community engagement, advocacy and the importance of empowering individuals and communities to be the leaders in their own lives. He consistently takes on a valued role mentoring emerging leaders to develop their own leadership capabilities and take action to drive community level change and inclusion.

Peter has been a member of QDN since 2006, and was awarded life membership in 2017. He has taken on a significant number of leadership roles in QDN’s work including Regional Facilitator, Ready to go peer facilitator, Housing Champion, Getting on the NDIS Grid, Peer to peer advocacy, Bright Sparks, Changing Lives Changing Communities and most recently in Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction. He regularly undertakes engagement for QDeNgage providing valuable feedback and insights on key disability issues from his lived experience. Peter has also played a key leadership role nationally with Every Australian Counts Campaign and is a member of the Intellectual Disability Reference Group – Home and Living to the Independent Advisory Council NDIA.

Peter is a small business owner, and provides IT services and support to a range of organisations. Peter is embedded in his local community of Ipswich, and was a Baton bearer for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay. He is  a key community leader who works collaboratively with Local, State and Federal Governments, members of parliament and community and disability services to ensure Ipswich is an inclusive and welcoming city for all of it’s citizens including people with disability.

 

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A man wearing a red and grey checked buttoned up shirt and wearing glasses and smiling at the camera.

Peter Gurr, Director

Peter was born in Cairns and has grown up in Townsville. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago. A boilermaker by trade and a licensed building contractor, Peter operated his own business in the building industry until three years ago when his son took over.

He has a Diploma in Community Service with electives in disability.

Peter brings to the Board his extensive business knowledge, and a passion for helping other people with disabilities and learning more about himself. He is finding the disability sector interesting and challenging.

He is an active QDN member taking on roles including Regional Facilitator, Convener of the Townsville Local Support Group, and Peer Facilitator for QDN’s Ready to go Project.

Peter has been married to Joy for close to 30 years, and they have two great kids, Emma and Lachlan.

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QDB Board member Gary Matthews, wearing a red buttoned up shirt with long hair and smiling at the camera.

Gary Matthews, Director (Chair Audit and Compliance)

Gary has several years of experience as a Director and Company Secretary. He has skills and knowledge in corporate governance and strategic planning including overseeing the development of several programs, including projects for people with disability. Gary has in-depth knowledge of housing issues and policy having held housing related jobs in both the public and private sector.

Gary is a member of the Access and Inclusion Reference Committee of the Mackay Regional Council in his capacity as a QDN Regional facilitator where he has the opportunity to advise and collaborate with Council and businesses about access issues. Gary has an Arts Degree with majors in Social Science and Media and Communications.

As a member of QDN for eight years, a regional facilitator for the Mackay Local Support Group since 2013 and a QDN peer facilitator with the “Ready to go” project Gary brings a great depth of knowledge and lived experience to the board of directors. Gary has a disability, having been born with Spina Bifida.

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QDN Board member Stacy Miller wearing a black shirt, has shoulder length brown hair and is smiling at the camera.

Stacey Miller, Appointed Director

Stacy is an appointed skill-based director of the Board. As a lawyer, with 16 years’ experience and a partner of her own firm, Stacy will bring her knowledge and expertise to the board discussions and deliberations.

She has vast experience working across a broad range of areas of law, including litigation, intellectual property, insolvency and Royal Commissions. Stacy is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland, a solicitor of the High Court of Queensland and a member of the Queensland Law Society.

She is looking forward to contributing to QDN’s work, engaging with QDN members about the needs of people with disability in Queensland, and how she can further human rights law in our community and advance the position of people with disability.

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QDN Board member Colleen Papadopoulos, wearing a white shirt and white jacket and necklace, with short light brown hair and smiling at the camera.

Colleen Papadopoulos, Company Secretary

Colleen is a practicing Chartered (Corporate) Secretary and Independent Director with board/committee experience in a number of capacities, including Chair, Deputy Chair, Executive Director and Independent/Non-executive Director.

Her professional qualifications include a Master of Public Health, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance.

She has credentials as a Performance Auditor, Strategic Analyst, Risk and Project Manager, with (honours/cum laude) undergraduate degrees in Writing (Humanities: technical, business, creative writing), and Society and Culture (Behavioural Sciences: anthropology, socio-biology and environmental psychology).

She is a mediator and facilitator, with experience teaching independent living skills and in assisting people with disability and disadvantage.

Colleen’s service to the Board is informed by over 25 years’ experience in governance and public administration, largely devoted to understanding and addressing complex social and organisational issues in the health and community services sector (both US and Australia).

She has a passion for assisting community boards to build governance capacity and improved performance, and has a record of successfully leading companies through audit and compliance improvement, incorporation, transition, restructuring and culture change.

Colleen is a Fellow Member of Governance Institute Australia and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (UK), and Member of Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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