Bi-monthly Update July 2018

From the Chairperson

The annual fanfare associated with the month of June means State budget time, and the 2018-2019 Queensland State Budget was handed down by the Palaszczuk Government. QDN, as one of 14 Community Services Peaks was part of the organisations hosting the Budget Breakfast organised by QCOSS at the Brisbane Convention Centre. It was positive to hear the Treasurer and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad give her overview of the budget and

particularly the key highlights for the community services sector. With over 300 people in attendance, it was a great event and as QDN’s Chairperson I was pleased that the 14 Peaks were able to put forward our key priority areas at the Budget Breakfast. These are key areas that the 14 organisations are committed to working together on during the coming year. Four priority areas are the NDIS, accessible and affordable housing, family matters and a human rights act for Queensland, all important for QDN, our members and Queenslanders with disability.

It was positive to see the budget has a focus on supporting people with disability and continuing the transition to the NDIS. As members would be aware, QDN has been continuing to raise what has been happening on the ground for people with disability with regards to interface issues with the NDIS. I was pleased to see that the budget included providing $10 million to maintain existing community nursing and allied health care services, such as assistance with wound care, catheters, PEG feeding, for people who have transitioned to NDIS and where their NDIS plans do not include this. This is an important issue along with the taxi subsidy scheme that still needs to be resolved so that Queenslanders with disability can access the essential services they need. QDN looks forward to continuing to work with the State and Commonwealth Governments and the NDIA in resolving these issues during the transition phase to deliver a positive outcome.

Another emerging issue with regards to mainstream services that members have also been raising is with regards to the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS). QDN members have been telling us about changes in regards to repairs of their equipment and that this is something that has only recently been raised with them. Being able to get out and about and socially and economically participate in community is an important part of everyone’s life and a key goal of the Queensland Government’s State Disability Plan. Aids and equipment are an essential service that enables people to do this. I encourage QDN members to participate in the survey that we are doing in partnership with Health Consumers Queensland and Council on the Ageing Queensland. For more information see page 8 in this e-bulletin.

Advocacy is also a critical service for people, both independent advocacy and systems advocacy. Not only for people to have assistance for NDIS matters, but also for other areas that impact upon people’s lives such as pensions, housing, education, transport, health, and getting a job. QDN was also pleased with the $9.5 million over three years for advocacy in the budget. There are only 10% of Queenslanders with disability who will access the NDIS, so it is essential that anyone with a disability can access advocacy services when and where they need.

As part of this funding allocated in the budget, QDN was pleased to be given a one year grant to undertake NDIS Peer to Peer Advocacy. QDN started this work from 1 July and is getting referrals and phone calls from people wanting support and peer advocacy as they move along the different stages of their NDIS pathway. The NDIS Peer to Peer Advocacy project is assisting people with disability with NDIS access, NDIS planning and can support people who need assistance if they are experiencing challenges. As we roll into the last year of transition for the NDIS, there are 45,000 new people in Queensland expected to be eligible for disability support for the first time in their life, as well as the 45,000 existing people who have been getting disability support. I am pleased that QDN is able to offer support and peer advocacy to people who might need this as we all know that moving to something new has its challenges knowing what to do and how things work. So please contact QDN if you want more information, or to get support through this project. For more information see page 8 in this edition.

One last part of the budget that I would like to draw members’ attention to is the $2.3 million over four years to the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland to support the operation and administration of a Human Rights Act for Queensland. Many QDN members have been part of the grassroots campaign around calling for a Human Rights Act and it is positive to see this translating to action. The Treasurer and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad announced at the Budget Breakfast that this draft bill will be brought to the parliament by the end of the year. I look forward to QDN working with key allies and the Government to provide input into this legislation so that it meets the needs of Queensland and brings human rights to the forefront for everyone.

Nigel Webb, QDN Chairperson

From the CEO

As the CEO of QDN, I am very proud of the work that has been achieved over the past four years across our funded projects in assisting people with disability, their families and supporters and community organisations get ready for the NDIS. 30 June 2018 was the end of our funding contracts for two major projects, the Disability Support Organisation funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency and Participant Readiness – Ready to go funded by Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.

The Disability Support Organisation (DSO) project funded 18 organisations across Australia to establish peer local networks and groups in communities as part of the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Through QDN’s work in Queensland on the project, we saw the establishment of 21 local support groups across a diverse geography of the state and supported the growth and development of local groups with active members. These groups have been a great example of peer leadership, peer support and the power of people coming together to share information, stories, tips and influence change. QDN’s local support group convenors continue to be a connected group of leaders, working with their local groups, to actively convene monthly meetings in locations all around the state. While funding for the DSO project has finished, the local support groups are continuing and QDN will continue to support the groups across the state. We have been actively working with convenors and the groups to support their sustainability and the vital role the local support groups play in supporting individuals, creating change in communities and informing big picture policy issues and conversations. I extend my thanks to our volunteer local support group convenors who continue to do a wonderful job of bringing people together – you are leaders in your local communities. I also extend my thanks to the 100s of local support group members who continue to share their wisdom, knowledge, and support with others in their group and actively contribute to their communities to build a more inclusive Queensland where everyone with disability is an active citizen.

QDN’s Ready to go project has been operating since 2014 when we started with a pilot project with a small group of peer facilitators and project team to deliver “Plan Ahead” workshops co-designed and co-facilitated by people with disability for people with intellectual and learning disability. QDN received funding as part of the Participant Readiness initiative along with 11 other organisations to help Queenslanders with disability and their families and carers prepare for the transition to the NDIS. Our team of peer facilitators and project team expanded and over the past 4 years, this dedicated group have held almost 600 workshops across the state with over 7,000 people. Back in 2013, QDN members told us that they were worried that people with intellectual and learning disability would miss out on information about the NDIS. They raised their concern that there needed to be a dedicated approach to make sure everyone, including people with intellectual and dual disability, got access to information about the scheme and how it would work. As a result of the QDN Ready to go project, people have had access to information in fun, creative and user friendly ways that have enabled them to be active participants, understanding the shift for people with disability around choice and control and being in the ‘driver’s seat’. I would like to acknowledge the hard work, passion and professionalism of QDN’s team of project staff and peer facilitators who have travelled far and wide, with their trusty suitcases in delivering this work. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the other 11 organisations funded through the Participant Readiness Initiative as collectively we worked together to connect with over 32,000 potential NDIS participants and family members. Finally, I would like to acknowledge Minister O’Rourke and the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors for their investment in this work. Queensland was the only state that created an opportunity in the lead up to the NDIS for people who were going to be participants to learn about the changes, what it would mean for them and information to assist their thinking and planning for the transition. With the NDIA and the Partners in the Community – the Local Area Coordinators and the Early Childhood Early Intervention services which are in place across the state, the participant readiness work has come to an end.

QDN continues to work with people with disability in their transition to the NDIS through both the Getting on the NDIS Grid project and the NDIS Peer to Peer Advocacy project. The Grid project is continuing to work with people with disability who are marginalised and experience additional challenges with engaging with the NDIS and the community, voluntary and mainstream services who they are supported by, to assist with information about the scheme and the access process. As Nigel has talked about, QDN is also funded through a one year grant to deliver the NDIS Peer to Peer Advocacy project, mainly in the south-east corner of the state, providing support and peer advocacy to people with disability around NDIS access, NDIS planning and anyone having challenges in their experiences on the NDIS pathway around access and planning. I encourage people to contact QDN if you need independent support or peer advocacy or to find out more.

Paige Armstrong, CEO

Vale Judy Collins – QDN Life member

We are very saddened to learn of the passing of Judy Collins, a wonderful QDN Life Member from Ipswich.  Judy Collins was a founding member of QDN, including a member of the Interim Steering Committee and then, post incorporation a Management Committee Member.  Judy’s stewardship, strategic thinking and commitment to people with disability living good lives in the community helped to shape QDN to be the organisation it is today. Last year at QDN’s 15 Year Celebration Judy was awarded a QDN Lifetime Membership for her contribution to QDN.

Vale Danny Graham – QDN member

We were very saddened to learn of the passing of Danny Graham, a long time QDN member from North Lakes, and also father to QDN’s Local Support Group Convenor Rebecca Bellis. Danny was an active member of QDN Men’s network, contributing his ideas to various consultations on QDN’s policy work and the implementation of QDN’s quality assurance systems. Danny was a strong voice and advocate for issues in his local community. His passion for issues at the local level influenced the direction of the Local Support Group work QDN does today. He is fondly remembered as often saying: “If there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, go light the thing yourself!”

Congratulations to Donna Best

We wish to congratulate QDN member Donna Best who has been chosen as Queensland representative for the Self Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU) Self-advocate National project.  As Queensland representative Donna will provide feedback and advice around the development of a national self-advocacy website. Donna will work with QDN’s Brisbane and Gold Coast Hot Topics groups and other self-advocacy groups like Loud and Clear on the Sunshine Coast to get people’s feedback about what they want the website to look like and what resources it has on it.

QDN’s success with Disability Community Events Grant

Discovering Disability and Diversity Awareness and Community Networking Day – Educating Everyone Event

QDN will hold a Discovering Disability and Diversity Awareness and Community Networking Day: Educating Everyone event during Disability Action Week in September.  This event, funded by  Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors – Disability Community Event Grant, will bring together different groups, including local GPs, allied health professionals and advocacy groups who work together to help support NDIS participants. Toowoomba Council staff, different parent groups and anyone who is interested in the direction of Queensland’s State Disability Plan is welcome to join the event.

Date and time:        Wednesday 12 September from 10 am to 1 pm

Venue:                        Level 3 Toowoomba library and the Village Green area

Please check the QDN website for updates about this event.

Brisbane Hot Topics Digital Story Launch – Disability Action Week

Brisbane Hot Topics Local Support Group is nearing the completion of its digital story project. With the help of staff and students from Griffith University, they have developed our personal stories about how they have influenced change and dealt with challenges in their lives.

A group of 15 people standing outside the QDN office in Turbot Street. They all look very happy.
The Brisbane Hot Topics Local Support Group outside the QDN Office

They are also developing a Brisbane Hot Topics group story. As part of this, they identified their many achievements since Hot Topics began and then voted on the key ones they wished to include in a group story. Highlights included the first housing forum, work speaking up so that people with intellectual disability have a voice in the governance of bodies and organisations, speaking up at the Roundtable for People with Intellectual Disabilities and their visit to the ABC which stimulated our interest in sharing our stories. Their key message is that they want to be seen, heard and listened to by government, politicians, and community members – in fact, Brisbane Hot Topics want everyone to know they are here!

As part of Disability Action Week, this group will be launching the digital stories at Griffith University Southbank cinema at 10.00am on September 11. Brisbane Hot Topics want to thank everyone who has assisted them in making this project such a success.

QDN Website

On 30 July QDN will launch its new website.  You will still go to, but you will find a website that is fresh and more accessible.  We hope you enjoy the new look and the features such as font size adjuster, listen to text and translate.  Please call us on 1300 363 783 or email if you have any feedback or questions.

Member Hub

We are also excited to launch the Member Hub for QDN Ordinary members only.  The Member Hub is only accessible to people with disability and informal and formal guardians of members. The Member Hub is a place where members of QDN can access information such as current member specific consultations, member only surveys, Policy updates, what’s new – up to date information, new and views, workshop opportunities, current event sponsorship applications, volunteer opportunities and quick contact form.

Because the QDN website is a public place and the Member Hub is for members only, members will need to use a username and password to access member only content.  Members will have received an email from QDN with more information about the Member Hub and how to access it.

Changing Lives, Changing Communities … play your part

QDN in partnership with QCOSS have been successful in receiving funding through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Grants round for a project called Changing Lives Changing Communities. This will include forums in 6 communities – South West region, Central Queensland region, Brisbane region, Moreton Bay region, Gold Coast region and Far North Queensland region. Information to promote these events will be released soon.

In addition to this, QDN is partnering with QCOSS in work in another 7 communities, building upon work that both organisations have been undertaking to over the past few years to successfully strengthen relationships and improve community outcomes. Building on this work and the momentum of QCOSS’ Movement for change conference and Pulse conversations, QDN’s local support groups, state-wide network and leadership of people with disability,  a series of regional events will be held with the aim of creating real social change in a total of 13 Queensland communities. Changing Lives, Changing Communities will kick off in Capricornia, Fraser Coast and Townsville during August. (which is in addition to the ILC Grant locations)

QDN has partnered with QCOSS and like-minded organisations to make these events happen. Each event will focus on what we have already achieved and what more we can do together.

Community members are invited to join us for this free, two-day event to work out what it takes to create communities where everyone contributes, matters and belongs. Bring a friend; bring a colleague. Work with us to develop a shared vision and go home with actions that you can take individually and collectively to make real social change.

Changing Lives, Changing Communities across Queensland – play your part.

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Capricornia, 7 & 8 August 2018

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Fraser Coast, 23 & 24 August 2018

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Townsville, 28 & 29 August 2018

2018-2019 State Budget

QDN Member Update – 2018-2019 State Budget

The 2018-19 State Budget has a focus on supporting people with disability and the continuing transition to the NDIS, particularly people from Far North Queensland, Maryborough, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Logan, Redlands and Brisbane to successfully transition to the NDIS. Read the full report here

International Leadership Exchange

International Initiative for Disability Leadership

Michelle Moss attended an international leadership exchange program as part of the International Initiative for Disability Leadership in Stockholm, Sweden in May. The program included a learning program at the Independent Living Institute (ILI) with a group of 15 leaders from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Nazareth and Canada, and a conference with over 460 delegates from over 24 countries.

The International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) ( is a unique international leadership forum that shares knowledge, innovation and effective practices to support the vision of a full life in the community for children, adults and elders with a disability. IIDL is a collaboration of four countries: Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland and Canada, with participation from the UK, Sweden and the USA. IIDL organizes opportunities for international networking, innovation sharing and problem solving across countries and agencies.

The ILI in Stockholm where Michelle spent her ‘learning match’ is a policy development centre specialising in consumer-driven policies for disabled persons’ self-determination, self-respect and dignity. ILI undertake a range of work and their key projects at the moment are Strategic litigation – law as a tool for social change and Disabled Refugees. There is a strong international focus across the European countries to look at improving the way the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disability is used more effectively as a universal tool by individuals and organisations to shift and influence the social change needed. Internationally also there was much discussion on the focus of policy and governments around accessibility rather than the bigger picture of inclusion. Australia holds a critical position in the policy and legislative space around the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with regards to the fundamental principles and intent of the scheme to shift to the model of individual choice and control. One of the other key areas Michelle was able to discuss with delegates that included Director Generals of some national Disability Departments from other countries, was with regards to leadership of people with disability and engagement. Many countries are implementing targeted strategies and investment in developing and growing the leadership and capacity of people with disability in having a strong and valued voice at the table, to inform decisions and co-design solutions with Government, organisations and businesses.

A group of 15 people, around a big table with laptops and paperwork on the table, having a discussion
Delegates sharing knowledge, innovation and effective practices at the leadership conference
A group of 10 men and women posing for a photo at the conference
15 international delegates who attended the international Initiative for Disability Leadership in Sweden

NDIS Peer to Peer Advocacy

What is QDN’s NDIS Peer to Peer (P2P) advocacy project?

NDIS Peer to Peer advocacy is a 12 month project that runs from 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019, supporting people with disability around the NDIS, including access, pre-planning and planning. QDN has been funded by the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors to work with people with disability (and their supporters) who live in the roll out areas for the final year of transition to the NDIS. QDN will provide support with:

  • Making an access request to the NDIS;
  • Knowing what paperwork is needed for the access request including information from General Practitioners or allied health professionals;
  • Getting ready for the NDIS planning meeting;
  • Having a peer advocate support them at their NDIS planning meeting; and
  • Support and peer advocacy around challenges experienced at any stage of NDIS access or planning by people with disability

QDN’s NDIS Peer to Peer advocacy project will work with people with disability who may not have access to the help they need from other services or informal supports to move through the steps of the NDIS journey.

What support will people get from QDN?

People with disability will be able to get support through phone or face-to-face contact, and also 1:1 support or in a small group session depending on need. The project will give people information, tips, resources, practical support and peer advocacy to help with key stages of their NDIS journey.

People may ask for help for just one part of their NDIS journey, or need support at all stages, and will be matched to someone in the project team, including peer advocates to assist them with the information and support they need. The project team includes peer advocates who are able to share their lived experiences to inform a person’s NDIS journey.

QDN will prioritise people currently not connected to a range of social and formal networks and services to assist them in their NDIS process. QDN will also link people into other organisations such as Local Area Coordinators (LACs), National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) or government departments who are best placed to provide more specific information or assistance.

Who can get support through the NDIS Peer to Peer advocacy project?

People with disability who are living in the areas where the NDIS is rolling out from 1 July 2018 through to 30 June 2019 can get support through this project. This includes areas in the South East corner of Queensland including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan and Redlands, Moreton Bay, Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast Local Government Areas (LGAs).

QDN can also work with people in other areas where the NDIS has rolled out who may be eligible and are still yet to access the scheme via phone or skype to provide information. The project aims to help people with disability without funded disability services, or where people may not have social supports in their life to complete the NDIS access pathway and participate actively in their NDIS planning meeting. The project may also support people who currently get a disability service who need assistance.

For more information contact QDN on 1300 363 783 or 3252 8566 or email

Policy Work; Our Voice – have your say

Feedback sought regarding MASS issues

QDN has received feedback from some members using equipment supplied by the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS) about feedback they have received about changes to the implementation of MASS Guidelines. QDN is now working alongside Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ), and Council on the Ageing Queensland (COTAQld) to gather information and to raise these issues with the Queensland Minister for Health, the Hon Dr Steven Miles.

QDN is asking QDN members who are not NDIS participants to complete a short on-line questionnaire of their experiences with MASS. This information will remain confidential, however, we will put together a summary of the experiences and systems issues that people are experiencing to raise with the Minister. Please go to the QDN website to access the link to the questionnaire.  Read more here.

Continuity of Support (COS)

QDN has received some questions from members about ongoing supports for people who do not meet NDIS access requirements but have been getting a disability service from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, and are now deemed ineligible for NDIS. There are some people with disability who have been receiving funded services from the Queensland Government that have disability that will not be assessed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) as eligible for funded supports under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

People with disability, their families and carers will be provided with supports and services under continuity of support (COS) Queensland or Australian Government arrangements.

COS arrangements mean that people who do not meet the NDIS access requirements but were receiving a disability service prior to being assessed by the NDIA will continue to receive support consistent with their current arrangements. Disability programs and services are all different, and the way that governments ensure COS is tailored to each program or service. Further information is available here.

Policy updates

UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability – Australian Member Appointment

Ms Rosemary Kayees, a human rights lawyer, researcher and academic is the first Australian woman to be elected to the committee which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, starting 1 January 2019.  Read more here.

DSS funding agreement with Disability Enterprises to be extended

The Disability Employment Assistance (DEA) funding agreement for disability enterprises will be extended, from 1 July 2018 for a year in NSW, ACT and SA and for two years in all other states and territories. This will allow additional time to resolve policy questions related to supported employment.

This month’s federal budget confirmed continuity of support funding for existing supported employees who are ineligible for the NDIS. This will apply for the term of the contract extension and should then be reflected, in grandfathering arrangements in bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, although these have yet to be finalised.


Review of SDA Pricing and Payments Framework terms of reference released

The Terms of Reference for the review of the NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Pricing and Payments Framework has been released.

The review will examine whether the current Framework:

  • allows the NDIA to set appropriate levels of funding;
  • supports the provision of SDA in sufficient volume and form to meet demand;
  • encourages innovation, enables participants to maximise independent lifestyles and inclusion;
  • provides opportunities and incentives for participants to consider value-for-money in their use of NDIS funds, including SDA as a substitute for other supports; and
  • provides flexibility to meet quality and safeguards requirements.

For more information on the Review and Terms of Reference click here.

Disability and inclusion

Millions of older Australians missing out online

Latest research from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner reveals around 2.7 million Australians aged 50 years and over have little or no engagement with the online world. Too much emphasis on web / smart phone based products risks leaving these older people on the wrong side of the digital divide.  There should always be analogue alternatives to digital products. Read more here.


Independent Pricing Review Report released this month

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released the latest Price Guide, which will come into effect as of 1 July 2018. The Price Guide is a summary of the NDIS price limits and controls.  It is designed to assist participants and disability support providers, to understand the way that price controls for supports and services work in the NDIS. The Independent Pricing Review is a key driver to ensure adequate support is available for NDIS participants and to meet their short and long term needs, particularly during transition.

Some Key Highlights and Changes

Price increases

  • Total of 7.64% increase for standard intensity attendant care with daily personal activities and assistance of community participation.
  • New Temporary Support Overhead (TSO) of 2.5% loading for assistance with daily personal activities and assistance with community participation, to give providers temporary support for the overhead costs for providers.  However, this will be reduced to 1.25% for 2019 – 2020.
  • 5.14% increases to align with the growth in wages under the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry (SCHADS) Award as well as the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) by Fair Work Australia.

Adjustment to Participant Plans and Participant Budgets

Participant Plans will be adjusted to match the increases for their disability supports and ensure they maintain the power to purchase the support they need that is reasonable and necessary.

So NDIS participants are not impacted by the price increases for support, automatic adjustments will be made to participant’s budgets and service bookings.  These adjustments will reflect the increase in support costs as a result of price increases. There will be automatic updates to participant budgets and service bookings from 1 July 2018.

Other changes, such as cancellation and travel can not be readily adjusted but the NDIA have stated that they will monitor this closely for individual participants to ensure they are not adversely affected.

QDN sees that it is critical that the NDIA, in their role as market stewards, can ensure that people with disability have true choice and control around services. Adequate pricing that enables organisations to operate and deliver quality services to people with disability is important part of creating that strong market place. The time of transition is a complex environment, and QDN will continue to work with the NDIA and Commonwealth and State Governments to ensure that a strong, diverse and vibrant market is available to all Queensland participants in the NDIS.

NDIS Partners announced for Queensland

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has announced the NDIS Partners in Community for remaining transition areas in Queensland.
Partners in Community provide Local Area Coordination Services (LAC) and Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) services which play an important role in helping people link with the NDIS.

Logan and Redlands and Brisbane suburbs, Moreton Bay including Strathpine and Caboolture
LAC – Carers Queensland  |  ECEI – The Benevolent Society

Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Tablelands, Croydon, Etheridge, Cape York and Torres Strait
LAC – Mission Australia  |  ECEI – Mission Australia

Fraser Coast, North Burnett, South Burnett and Cherbourg
LAC – APM  |  ECEI – BUSHkids

Gold Coast and Hinterland, Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie
LAC – Carers Queensland

Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie

The NDIA is working to source a Partner to deliver ECEI services in the Gold Coast and Hinterland area. In the meantime, the NDIA will be providing these services directly in this area for children aged 0-6. To access support contact the NDIA directly on 1800 800 110.

Commonwealth Ombudsman Office

A report is available in the link below based on information extracted from complaint investigations, stakeholder feedback, briefings provided by the NDIA, and the legislation, policy and procedural guidance relevant to the administration of reviews under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013. Read more here.

Joint Standing Committee

NDIS calls for improvements for participants with hearing impairment

The Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on the NDIS has made three recommendations on how to improve the provision of hearing services under the NDIS.

To read the report click here.

Autism Group established to advise the NDIA

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan has announced the establishment of an Autism Advisory Group to provide guidance to the NDIA on supporting people with autism. Read more here.

National Disability Agreement review | The Hon Scott Morrison MP

The Agreement is designed to ensure the disability services sector delivers outcomes that improve the lives of Australians with a disability.  Read more about this story here.


Australia’s first regional Disability Transport Hub approved

Tamworth locals will welcome a new transport hub, designed to help people with disability embark on journeys within the community and beyond.  The Disability Transport Hub is the first of its kind in a regional centre and will help facilitate vehicle movements for people with disabilities, their drivers and carers. It will also provide 24-hour access to shower and change facilities. Read more here.


My Health Record – Opting Out

The Australian Government announced in 2017 the creation of a My Health Record for every Australian by the end of 2018. This means that by the end of 2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian unless they choose not to have one.

My Health Record is the name of the national digital health record system. Having a My Health Record means your important health information like allergies, medical treatments, medications and test and scan results can be available in one place  Healthcare providers like doctors, specialists and hospital staff may be able to see your records any time they need to like in an accident or emergency. It is expected this will make Australia’s healthcare system more efficient with people receiving faster medical care.

People have choice about if they want to have a My Health Record. There is a 3 month time from 16 July to 15 October to opt out. Some people are choosing to have one and some people are choosing not to. Some people are worried about their privacy and the security of the information and some people see it as a positive to enable all their health practitioners to be able to access their information when and where they need.

With a My Health Record you can access your medical records online.  You can ask your doctor to upload a Shared Health Summary.  This is a summary of your important health information like allergies, medical history, medications and immunisations. A benefit of a My Health Record is not having to explain your medical history or diagnosis over and over again to medical professionals.

The Australian Government announced in 2017 the creation of a My Health Record for every Australian by the end of 2018. This means that by the end of 2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian unless they choose not to have one.

How can I opt out of having a My Health Record?

If you decide that you do not want a My Health Record created on your behalf, you will have the opportunity to tell the Australian Government during a three-month period. This period will run from 16 July to 15 October 2018.

For more information about My Health Record or to opt out visit:

QDN can link you to the Primary Health Network in your area who are helping people with information about My Health Record and the ‘opt out’.

Department of Health – $160 million boost for mental health support

Australians with severe mental health illness will now receive more support services in their communities with a $160 million funding boost following a Turnbull Government agreement with states and territories.  Read more here.


Media Release: Report shines spotlight on needs of energy consumers

QDN welcomes the recommendations of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) final report, “Restoring electricity affordability and Australia’s competitive advantage” and the focus on improving affordability and access for energy consumers. Read more here.

Criminal Justice

The Domestic and Family Violence Implementation Council’s progress report, for the period from 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017, has been tabled in Parliament by the Premier.

The report provides an overview of the Council’s activities and progress in implementing the recommendations of the Not Now, Not Ever report over the second year of the Council’s operation.

Page 39 of the report details progress made against Recommendation 10 of the Not Now, Not Ever

Report concerning investigating the impact of Domestic Violence on people with disability: The report is available here.

Getting on the NDIS Grid Update

The Getting on the NDIS Grid project has been extended for another 6 months, actively working to engage with people who are disadvantaged and have not received previous disability support. The staff and peers will continue to take the opportunity to capacity build the communities’ knowledge through sharing information and resources.

The first stage of the project finished by taking part in the annual Brisbane Homelessness Connect event held at Doomben racecourse. Our stall was very busy with lots of people stopping by to talk about QDN as well as the NDIS. People took the opportunity to use the Grid board game to identify supports that they may need and took photos of the board once completed to aid in their conversations with support services and the NDIS. Crafts were available for participants to create necklaces and bracelets. This was a great interactive activity which gave staff and/or peers to have a much more in depth conversation.

DSO Update

LSG members already sharing their experience of their Planning conversations

Local Support Groups in the South East corner of the State have welcomed the NDIS to South-East Queensland from 1 July. Some people have already gone for their NDIS Planning meetings and are beginning to share their experiences at their LSG meeting. This provides an invaluable learning experience for people as groups continue to meet and share stories and experiences from their planning meetings so we can all learn together and make the most out of the NDIS. We look forward to hearing further stories of people’s planning conversations through our LSGs.

LSG groups continuing in 2018-2019

Funding for the DSO Project concluded on 30 June 2018. However, the QDN Board has given a commitment to continue supporting LSGs where there is energy to keep them going. QDN believes it is important to continue supporting people as full transition to the NDIS is achieved. Denise Sands, QDN Projects Lead, will head this area of work and Louise Abson and Karin Swift will continue to provide support to individual LSGs. LSGs have been an invaluable source of information and on-the-ground experience that has informed our policy and strategic influencing work. We are keen to continue this work with Group Convenors and LSGs in 2018–2019

Congratulations, Gold Coast Hot Topics!

Gold Coast Hot Topics was successful in receiving a small grant from the Gold Coast City Council’s 2018-2019 Community Grants Program.  This grant money will assist the group with meeting and support costs for 2018-2019.  Congratulations, Gold Coast Hot Topics, and well done to Rob and Karin for pulling the grant together!

Toowoomba Community Conversation

On 25 June, Paige Armstrong, QDN CEO and Sharon Boyce, Toowoomba Local Support (LSG) Group Convenor, led a Community Conversation around peer support and the role and benefit of the LSG in the local community.

Twenty-eight people attended the event, including people with disability, supporters, the NDIA Local Area Coordinator, and representatives from service providers, community organisations, and government. The event created an opportunity for people to network and connect around common goals, and to discuss the ways in which the broader community could support the continuing work of the Toowoomba LSG.

Local publication the Toowoomba Chronicle also attended and interviewed Sharon and Paige about the Toowoomba LSG, and the upcoming ILC funded project ‘Changing Lives, Changing Communities’. Changing Lives is an exciting community led forum focusing on change and inclusion and will be facilitated in the near future by QDN in partnership with the Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS).

The event was a great success with a number of people forming new connections across the community, and growing the Toowoomba Local Support Group.

A group of around 15 people sitting around tables. They are listening to Paige speaking. Paige is standing at the front of the room.
Paige speaking at the Toowoomba Community Conversation

Two year journey of the Ipswich Local Support

The journey of the Ipswich Local Support Group began just under two years ago during July 2016, when Peter and Linda Tully started talking to Ipswich City Council to find a venue for the meetings, which they supported. Peter and Linda and QDN CEO Paige Armstrong promoted the group via many avenues and the Community Conversation about the formation of the group was held on Thursday 8 September 2016.
The Community Conversation was hosted by QDN’s CEO Paige Armstrong and Peter and Linda. Thirty Ipswich local community members, families and service providers attended the community conversation as people who were interested in supporting people with a disability to better engage within the Ipswich Community, plus begin the process of understanding with the NDIS would mean for the community.
Following the Community Conversation where QDN gained the support from the Ipswich Community, thanks to Ipswich City Council providing a meeting location the first QDN Ipswich Local Support Group meeting was held on Saturday 17 September 2016 at the Humanities Building in Ipswich.

Meetings followed and were well attended and the group decided how the group to operate and its aims within the Ipswich Community. The outcome from the first two group discussions with QDN support, was that the QDN Ipswich Local Support Group would meet on the third Saturday of every month between the months of February and November from 10am until 12noon. Over the past two years the group has been actively involved in the community, with two particular events in Ipswich being the Fresh Futures Market plus the Blair Disability Links Booklet. The group hosted a range of speakers over the past years including Local, State & Federal Members of Government, from NDIA & NDIS LAC Partners. It has also included Ready to go and the Bright Sparks Program plus Workability Queensland, and community input with West Moreton Hospital and Health Service. The Local Support Group as well as providing peer support to members around preparing for the NDIS, has been actively contributing to influencing change and inclusion in the community, including being successful in encouraging Ipswich City Council to upgrade its disability toilets in the Humanities Building and the library with push button powered doors.

Peter in a blue shirt handing a green suitcase back to Denise.
Peter Tully handing the Ready to go suitcase back to Denise Sands

From our Friends


What is ATSIDNQ? ATSIDNQ is a network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, their families and carers.  It was established to raise awareness of need, provide connection and enable a collective voice for members on the issues important to them.

Why become a member of ATSIDNQ?

  • Be part of a growing network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability, their families and carers
  • Receive bi monthly newsletters and gain information about things you may wish to link into
  • Be part of a closed Facebook group where members can contribute,  discuss and communicate with each other
  • Be involved in having your say about the issues impacting you to add to the collective voice of the Network which informs policy and government

Complete an online application at or download a form and post or call  1800 718 969

Legal Aid Queensland’s Social Security Appeals

What types of legal problems can Legal Aid Queensland help with?  Visit the Legal Aid Queensland website to see a list of legal issues Legal Aid Queensland can help with.  For more information click here or call 1300 65 11 88.

Invitation to complete a survey

Fourth year medical students from the Western Sydney University would like to invite members to be part of a study conducted to explore how NDIS clients and/or their carers have experienced support or help from their General Practitioner (GP) during their NDIS journey. This information will help make better decisions about how GPs can help NDIS users in the future.  Read more here.
Should you wish to discuss the research further please reply to this email or alternatively contact Dr Lise Mogensen at or 02 4620 3041.

Youngcare At Home Care Grants – opening soon

Youngcare is a not-for-profit organisation working with young people with high care needs who are living in, or facing the threat of living in, inappropriate housing. Youngcare’s At Home Grants program is available to those aged 18-65 and provide one-off grants between $2,000 and $10,000.  Grants have previously been approved for the provision of essential support items such as hoists, high low beds, wheelchairs, emergency respite care and modifications to make homes more accessible.

Individuals with or without NDIS funding can apply. Applications for the grants in Queensland will open 1 August 2018 and close on 12 September 2018. Read more at Youngcare website: or Online information booklet here.

Sarah raises issues facing women with disability

Former QDN Staff member Sarah Houbolt, attended the United Nations Conference of State Parties CRPD in New York, on behalf of Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA). The conference was a great success and Sarah had the opportunity to raise some of the key issues facing women and girls with disability in Australia. Watch a short video of Sarah speaking to the UN.  Watch the video here.

Contact Us

We have a new enquiry form – AskQDN on our website, which you can use to contact QDN.

Enquiry formAskQDN

Telephone3252 8566 or 1300 363 783

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