Bi-monthly update – May 2018

From the Chairperson

Welcome to our May eBulletin and as usual, there is lots going on for QDN, our members and people with disability.

Starting with QDN, on behalf of the Board of Directors I am pleased to welcome Gary Matthews to the Board. Over the past 6 months, unfortunately, a number of our Board members have had health and personal circumstances that have kept them out of action for different periods of time. As a result of this, the Board directed the Nominations and Performance Committee to follow a process to review applicants who nominated for Board Director elections at the 2016 Annual General Meeting to make recommendations for an appointed director in line with QDN’s constitution, section 10.2 (b), up to two Directors may be appointed by the Board for such a period of time as determined by the Board from time to time, for their particular skills and experience.  On review of skills and experience, the Nominations and Performance Committee have recommended to the Board of Directors, the appointment of Gary Matthews as an Appointed Director of the Board.

Gary brings a wide breadth of knowledge and governance experience to the Board, and a regional perspective.  Gary has been a QDN regional facilitator for many years, he is a QDN housing champion and is a member of the Equitable Access Advisory Committee with Mackay Local Council.  Gary held the position of company secretary for MADEC for several years, and he has served as a Director in the same company. In Gary’s employment he has worked across the social housing and disability sectors.  The Board of Directors thanks him for taking on the responsibilities that this position brings with it.

May and June respectively are Federal and State Budget months, and the Turnbull Government brought down their budget on Tuesday 8 May, with the State Budget to be handed down mid June. QDN was pleased to see the Federal Government’s commitment to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Certainty for people with disability to be able to access the supports they need to participate economically and socially in the community is critical. The details around continuity of support for people already receiving supports but will be ineligible for the NDIS is also positive news. However, there is still a range of areas where people with disability, and carers, may be disadvantaged by this budget, particularly around income support. The Budget projects a 2.3% decline in expenditure on Disability Support Pension (DSP) which continues the trend that has been observed as the number of DSP recipients fall by over 70,000 since 2014. The Budget also announced that the Government is extending the trial of the Cashless Debit Card program until 30 June 2019 in communities in South Australia and Western Australia. The Budget also announced that the Carers Allowance will be means tested for the first time, with the government setting a $250,000 income test threshold. Making sure people with disability have jobs, fair income support, accessible and affordable housing, and access to quality mainstream services and disability support is critical. QDN met with Assistant Minister Jane Prentice this week to discuss the National Disability Strategy and key actions to drive these outcomes for people with disability and see real changes in people’s lives.

I was pleased to be invited to attend the opening of the Central Queensland Region National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) office at Chermside on Tuesday 15 May along with Paige Armstrong, Michelle Moss and Alison Maclean representing QDN. Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice and Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk officially opened the office. As everyone knows, the NDIS starts in Brisbane, Logan, Redlands, Gold Coast, Fraser Coast and surrounds and Cairns and far north Queensland including Cape York and Torres Strait from 1 July 2018. The NDIA has started working with participants and in Brisbane has offices operating on the ground now which are staffed and operating. See our interview with NDIA Regional Manager – Queensland Central Region Cathy Pilecki in this edition for more information.

It is important that people who are eligible for the NDIS but who don’t have any funded disability supports start their planning and make access requests to join the scheme. If people need more information or support to do any of these things, please contact QDN and we can talk to you about what we can do to support you through the pathway.

Nigel Webb, QDN Chairperson

From the CEO

I am very pleased to let people know that QDN has developed a toolkit for General Practitioners which was funded by North Brisbane Partners in Recovery and commissioned by Brisbane North Primary Health Network (PHN). The toolkit is for GPs and their practices and is focused on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). GPs and health professionals have an important role in helping participants have diagnostic and clinical information about their disability and its functional impact to meet the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) eligibility access requirements for the NDIS. Through our work with the Getting on the NDIS Grid project, working with people with disability who currently don’t get any funded disability supports, the role of GPs and their need for information to support their patients has been consistently highlighted. I was able to be part of the launch of the toolkit by Brisbane North PHN on Tuesday 15 May and it was great to see over 100 GPs and general practice staff attending the event at North Lakes. The toolkit supports general practice to understand their role in supporting patients to access the NDIS. The toolkit provides practical information for GPs and practice staff about the NDIS, their role, tips and all the relevant information about the NDIS for GPs in one resource. The Toolkit is available on the website (see info below in ebulletin) or for more information you can contact QDN or Brisbane North PHN.

I am also very pleased to let people know that QDN, in partnership with QCOSS, has been successful in receiving a grant for an Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) as part of the recent national round. The project is called Changing Lives, Changing Communities, and it builds on the great work that QDN has been involved in over the past two years in Townsville with QCOSS, Townsville City Council and the community. There are two parts of funding for the NDIS – individual funding for participants through their NDIS Plans, and ILC funding. The focus of ILC is community inclusion – making sure people with disability are connected into their communities. ILC is all about making sure our community becomes more accessible and inclusive of people with disability. The NDIA is funding projects that focus on personal capacity building – helping people with disability and their families have the right skills, resources and confidence they need to participate in the community, and community capacity building – making sure mainstream services or community organisations become more inclusive of people with disability. Changing Lives, Changing Communities will focus on building inclusive communities through change led by people with disability and community. We are in the process of signing a contract and developing a project plan so we will have more information available soon.

Paige Armstrong, CEO

Around the Office

Commonwealth Games Baton Bearers

Congratulations to our  QDN members who carried the baton in the Queen’s baton relay for the Commonwealth Games.  Geoff Trappett, Peter Tully, Willie Prince and Sharon Boyce.

Photo: Peter Tully holding the baton
Geoff Trappett racing
Photo: Geoff Trappett racing along with the baton

Photo: Willie Prince being handed the baton

Photo: Sharon Boyce with the baton

Willie Prince (in the third photo) also carried the Paralympic torch in 2000.  Of the Commonwealth Games, Willie said “I was carrying the baton for all aboriginal people with disability, in fact, all people with disability.  I was not only carrying it for myself but other groups as well”.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games had a reconciliation action plan and Willie was there with his friend advocating for the reconciliation action plan. The plan highlighted the issues that aboriginal people with disability face.   Willie also volunteered in the kitchen at the games village.  Willie said the whole experience was amazing and very inspirational.

New Toolkit for General Practitioners Understanding your role in the NDIS: GP Toolkit

QDN was pleased to be contracted by Brisbane North Primary Health Network to develop the toolkit for General Practitioners. The work was funded by North Brisbane Partners in Recovery and it contains a range of information for GPs, practice staff and tips to assist GPs in completing access request documentation for their patients. This is a critical role that GPs play in assisting eligible participants to provide evidence of their disability and the functional impacts on their day to day life. The toolkit includes

  • the forms that GPs can be asked to complete and how to complete them, i.e. sample Access Request and Supporting evidence forms
  • examples of how to provide evidence of the patient’s functional impact across six areas: mobility, communication, social interaction, learning, self-care and self-management
  • a full list of conditions that do not require evidence under current NDIS guidelines
  • referral pathways for patients so they can find out more information about the NDIS and where to go for help.

The toolkit is available for download here.

If people with disability or their supporters have any questions about access or their access request form, please call QDN.

QDN and QCOSS successful ILC Grant – Changing Lives, Changing Communities

Partners, Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) are pleased to announce their successful grant “Changing Lives, Changing Communities” under the NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness Grants (Round 2).

Changing Lives, Changing Communities will host community forums in six communities across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas of Queensland.  The forums will be led by people with disability, local community leaders and work in partnership with Local Councils. The forums aim to showcase people with disability as leaders and bring all parts of the community together to exchange information about community and mainstream services, talk about challenges and barriers and work together to co-create local community-owned solutions. Read more

2018 Annual General Meeting

QDN is holding its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 3 November 2018, at Spinal Injuries Association, 109 Logan Rd, Woolloongabba.

The Board will be inviting Expressions of Interest from QDN members with disability interested in appointment to the Board of Directors.  The Board see the benefit of ensuring a diversified group of Board Directors.  The aim is to have a Board that reflects the diversity of experience of the members we serve, with various lived experience.  We encourage all members from all backgrounds and parts of Queensland to consider applying to ensure the Board is reflective of our diverse membership.

If you are a QDN Ordinary Member and feel you have good discussion skills, can think strategically and look at the big picture; and/or have special skills like governance, auditing, marketing and communications or project management please take some time over the coming weeks to consider submitting an expression of interest.  More information will be coming out soon.

Social Media Tips from Nigel Webb, Digital Champion

The full series of Nigel’s Digital Champion videos ‘engaging with social media’ has been released.  The Advance Queensland Community Digital Champions program encourages Queenslanders to explore and enjoy the benefits of the digital age – through the stories and activities of inspirational champions.  Watch the videos here

NDIS Access Workshops

QDN is providing small workshops about how to access the NDIS and how to complete the access request form.  People can contact QDN to get support around how to access the NDIS and how to complete the NDIS access form.

Members can elect to either talk over the phone or come in to the office where QDN can do small group (5-6 people) work. This is a free service.  Call QDN and speak with Denise, Troy, Paul, Rebecca or Lisa.

My Housing Matters Workshop – Brisbane May 30 2018

QDN is holding a second My Housing Matters workshop for people with disability and their supporters on 30 May 2018.

It would be great if you can promote the workshop through your networks for people in Brisbane areas. We have had some interest from other areas outside of Brisbane and Jen Barrkman, QDN staff member, has been talking more with them about what is involved. Limited workshop sponsorship opportunities are also available for QDN members. If you would like more information contact Jen Barrkman on (07) 3252 8566 or 1300 363 783. Read more

Planning for my NDIS Planning meeting Workshop

As a follow on from feedback from QDN members that there are still many people who need help to get ready for the NDIS, QDN is now holding workshops on the south side of Brisbane starting on 13 June 2018 with a focus on getting ready for the NDIS planning meeting.

This is not part of any government funded projects and QDN is offering these workshops for a small fee for attendees. These workshops have been co-designed with people with disability and there will be a workshop workbook for participants. People with disability who want to bring a support person only need to purchase one ticket.

Benefit of attending:

  • To help people get ready for the NDIA planning meeting
  • To work through the 5 steps in collecting information
  • Leave with a workbook that will assist people with their planning conversation

You can find out more information and also register for the workshop here

If you would like more information contact Denise Sands on (07) 3252 8566.

Policy Work

Our Voice – have your say

QDN Submission: Inquiry into the need for regulation of mobility scooters, also known as motorised wheelchairs

QDN’s submission on the Motor Scooter Inquiry has been considered and accepted for publication by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee (the committee).

The published submission is available on the committee’s webpage at the following link

Member feedback for TMR accessibility reference group

QDN has been asked to get feedback from any members in the south east corner of the state who have used the new raised platform sections at various stations in the Queensland Rail network. These platform sections were installed ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, to assist with easy access during the Games period, and they would like feedback from people with disability who have used them.

The stations where the platforms were installed are at Beenleigh, Loganlea, Roma Street (platform 3) and Altandi stations, and remain in place at the current time.  Please provide your feedback by contacting QDN on 1300 363 783 or email us

Policy updates

Disability and inclusion

What would a truly disabled-accessible city look like?

Most cities are utterly unfriendly to people with disability – but with almost one billion estimated to be urban dwellers by 2050, a few cities are undergoing a remarkable shift.  Read more


New NDIA sites in Brisbane area

The NDIA have recently opened new offices and we were fortunate to interview Cathy Pilecki, NDIA Acting Regional Manager for Queensland Central who gave us some more information to share with you.

1.    Where are the new NDIA offices located

The NDIA has three sites in Brisbane – Chermside, Oxley and Mt Gravatt.

2.   How do people make contact with the new NDIA offices?

You can visit our Service Delivery sites at the addresses below, or contact us via the email addresses

Chermside – 960 Gympie Road, Chermside – – This site is directly opposite the Tax Office building in Chermside

Oxley – Level 1, The Station Oxley 133 Oxley Station Road, Oxley – – This site is a co-location with the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

Mt Gravatt – Level 2, 57 Sanders St, Upper Mount Gravatt – – This site is located above the Mt Gravatt Centrelink office (this is a temporary location whilst the permanent Mt Gravatt office is being refurbished)

3.     What can staff at these three locations provide?

The main activity at these sites are planning conversations with participants who will phase in from 1 July 2018.  People will also be able to access information about the scheme as well as details of upcoming NDIS forums they may wish to attend.

4.     Can people ‘walk-in’ to the three offices?

Yes, people are welcome to come to our offices at any time during business hours.

5.     When are the NDIA offices open?

Offices are open between 9am to 5pm.

Partners for Brisbane will be announced in the near future, and we will include their office details as they become available.

NDIS Practice Standards

NDIS Practice Standards have just been released and are a key piece of the Quality and Safeguarding Framework, The NDIS Practice Standards aim to prevent abuse and conflict of interest as well as ensure quality outcomes for people with disability. The Quality Indicators are the way in which providers will be measured against these Standards.

The standards and indicators are underpinned by a rights based approach, choice and control and person centred practice. They also have emphasis on strong governance and risk management. Organisations delivering support will need to develop these processes and systems, and for higher risk services, staff will be interviewed to ensure they are imbedded in the organisation.

These will be National Standards and a key difference comes in the form of the specialist modules, which will impact those providers registered or wishing to register to provide these particular service types.  The indicators provide very clear requirements about how providers can meet the requirements of these standards.

There are 4 core standards based on the National Disability Standards and they cover Rights and ResponsibilitiesGovernance and Operational ManagementProvision of Support and Support Provision Environment. Additionally, there are 5 Registration areas that have their own Modules to comply with. Examples of these modules include High Intensity Daily personal activities, (Module 1) Specialist Behaviour Support (module 2 a and b) Early Childhood Supports (Module 3) , Specialist support coordination (Module 4) Specialist Disability accommodation (Module 5)

Letters from Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors about the NDIS

QDN has sent out information to our QDN members and their supporters in the areas where the NDIS rolls out from 1 July 2018 to update and give members more information about the letters from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors in regards to transitioning to the NDIS.  Read more.

Queensland Audit Office report released and tabled in parliament – National Disability Insurance Scheme Report 14: 2017-2018

This audit assessed how effectively the Queensland Government is managing the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and how well prepared it is to oversee services after the transition.  Read more

6 month plan extensions for Queensland South Region

To assist participants to make the most of their current NDIS plans, the NDIS in Queensland South Region is currently offering:

  • 6 month plan extensions to participants living in Toowoomba, Ipswich and northern NSW LGAs who are eligible for a scheduled review of their NDIS plan within the next 3 months
  • The opportunity for participants who have requested unscheduled reviews to talk with a Local Area Coordinator to gain greater understanding about how to use the funds in their plans to access supports and progress towards their goals

The aim of these offers is to assist NDIS participants to understand and make better use of their plans and build their capacity to exercise choice and control over the supports and services they receive.  This will also allow providers to supply services and receive payment for services they deliver for these participants prior to their full scheduled review, which will take place in 2018. If you require additional general information please contact with a subject heading “Plan extension query”.

NDIA accepts Independent Pricing Review recommendations

At the beginning of March, the Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) released the Independent Pricing Review (IPR) Report undertaken by McKinsey & Company, giving in-principle support to all of the report’s 25 recommendations. Find out more about the Independent Pricing Review here.

Resources for Mental Health: Accessible Snapshots

The NDIS has recently developed a series of information sheets called Accessible Snapshots. The purpose of these snapshots is to provide specific, detailed information to people with psychosocial disability, their supporters, and service providers. These snapshots are designed to assist people to understand the requirements of the access process in relation to psychosocial disability, and demystify the access process. These snapshots have been co-designed with members of the National Mental Health Sector Reference Group and people with lived experience. The information sheets cover the following topics:

Accessible Snapshot 1: General information about how the NDIS can support your mental health

Accessible Snapshot 2: Impairment and mental health in the NDIS

Accessible Snapshot 3: Recovery and the NDIS

Accessible Snapshot 4: Functional capacity and mental health issues

Accessible Snapshot 5: NDIS and other services supporting your mental health

To receive a copy of the Accessible Snapshot Series, call QDN on 1300 363 783 or email:


TDSA Think BIG Symposium: NDIS Transport Component -Transport is THE enabler of core supports for NDIS participants’ goals

QDN recently attended a Symposium in Brisbane on the NDIS Transport Component. Main concerns raised at the forum were that transport costs are not being included in participants’ plans. It was particularly highlighted that:

  • Participants are unaware of funding being available for transport to access and use their core funding, excluding the money that has been transferred over from mobility allowance.
  • The symposium reported that there was inconsistency, unfairness and inequality of transport funding, and there was disparity in how transport is interpreted and handled within the participant’s planning meeting and subsequent implementation meeting.  The Symposium reported that participants are having to use their core funding to cover transport costs and to calculate costings around this.  There are no guidelines within the NDIS for pricing for transport.
  • Going forward we wanted to let QDN members know of the following key messages on the NDIS and transport:
  • Preparation, preparation, preparation: it is important for participants to be knowledgeable of their transport needs and prepare for this prior to the planning meeting.
  • People need to provide evidence, at the time of their planning meeting, of the history, present and future needs/supports in relation to transport needs for participants to effectively pursue their goals.
  • Continued advocacy and engagement with the NDIA is needed to ensure ss. 33 and 34 of the NDIS Act is enacted – (c) the reasonable and necessary costs of taxis or other private transport options for those not able to travel independently.

QDN will continue to monitor this important issue.


Domestic and Family Violence Progress Report

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: Read more

Rights and advocacy

Public Advocate Annual Report

On 5 April 2018, the Public Advocate’s Annual Report 2016-17 was tabled in the Queensland Parliament.  Much of Mary’s work over the past year has centred on disability, including the continuing roll out and implementation of the NDIS, the Queensland mental health system, and the aged care sector with particular focus on elder abuse. Read more here

Ready to go Update

Ready to go is in its final month for the project. This work has been funded for the past 4 years by the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors under the NDIS Participant Readiness Initiative. QDN has been one of 11 funded organisations to deliver on this important work to people with disability, and their families across Queensland. QDN is proud to have had over 8000 contacts through workshop activities for Ready to go. It is a fantastic effort and a great deal of hard work by our Peer Facilitators, Project Staff and our QDN members who have assisted in getting the word out there about the project, and delivering on the work. We will give you a final wrap up of the project in the next ebulletin edition, however, remember, while this project is finishing, your local support group will continue to talk about the NDIS and members support each other to get ready for the NDIS planning conversation.  Further information about the Disability Local Support Groups can be found at or by calling QDN on 1300 363 783.

Getting on the NDIS Grid Update

The Getting on the NDIS Grid Project team have been very busy engaging with front line staff and people with disability across a broad range of environments to help people get ready to access the NDIS. The work is growing in momentum as more people find out about it and the NDIS is getting closer and closer.

We are pleased to show off one of our newly produced resources – ‘Getting on the Grid’ game and cards that have been developed. It is a great tool for having a conversation with a person who may be eligible for the NDIS to talk with them about what supports they may need on a day to day basis across the 6 areas of mobility, communication, learning, social interaction, self-management, self-awareness.

Photo: The new Getting on the NDIS Grid board game

DSO Update

LSG – Community Conversations

Jen Barrkman, QDN Projects Lead and Lou Abson along with Mike Fisher, convenor from Sunnybank group, hosted a conversation about peer support in Moorooka funded by JFA Purple Orange. The workshop was a wonderful opportunity for convenors of other QDN local support groups, potential new local support group members, local community, members and representatives of community based neighbourhood centres to share their wisdom and experiences about what peer support means for people with disability.   Responses include acceptance, fun, helping and supporting each other, taking a journey together, developing common understanding, moving from solitary to connection, sharing stories, building our capacity.

 Photo: The group discusses Peer Support at the Moorooka event

Hot Topics Digital Story Project Update

Brisbane Hot Topics group has now begun its digital story project to learn how to make a digital story.  Members are hard at work deciding what individual story they wish to focus on for the project. They are also developing their group story of the achievements of Hot Topics.

Griffith University are doing action research to find out what works and what doesn’t work in doing the project.  We look forward to finding out what stories come from this exciting project.

Photo: Digital Stories group participants hard at work planning their stories

Cairns LSG – First meeting!

On 26 April the Cairns Local Support Group held their first meeting following the QDN run community conversation in March. Fifteen people attended the meeting at the Cairns Library, and discussed the various interests and goals of the group. The group began to get to know each other and new Convenors Wayne Maitland and Ailsa Rayner, and spent some time discussing and developing their meeting guidelines. The next meeting is planned for 31 May, and will focus on accessing the NDIS. Alongside a representative from the NDIA, Peter Gurr, the Convenor of the Townsville Local Support Group will also be at the meeting, and will share with the group their experiences of the NDIS so far.

Have you joined a Local Support Group yet?

Ask us how…

Some local support groups are looking to expand their membership.  If you are interested in being part of a group contact QDN at or phone 1300 363 783.

Housing Community of Practice Local Support Groups

Recently we held a teleconference where we discussed a number of housing issues. One issue of concern related to SDA housing under the NDIS. There are a number of challenges being raised with regards to how the pricing structure for support funding under Supported Independent Living (SIL) and if this option will facilitate true choice and control for people with disability about with whom and where they live. Disability Services Consulting has produced this review of what they think about Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and Supported Independent Livings (SIL) policy and how it is working to serve the needs of people with disabilities. Disability Services Consulting identify that SDA and SIL are currently not sufficiently linked in policy or practice, potentially having serious consequences for participant’s rights.  Read more

Wendy Lovelace spoke recently about universal housing design at a Sunshine Coast Access Advisory Network (SCAAN) meeting. She spoke in her role as Convenor of QDN Housing Community of Practice and Australian Network for Universal Housing Design. The good news Wendy shared at the meeting is that in 2021 universal housing design may be more likely to be included in a review of Building Code.


Currently one of the local support group convenors and Housing Champion, David Swift, raised an issue regarding home modifications for people living in Department of Housing properties and NDIS. From peer conversations beginning at Local Support Groups and David’s own experience living in public housing, the issue of home modifications and how this links with goals in NDIS plans emerged. QDN investigated the issues with DHPW and has developed a question and answer document that is available to members on the web. A summary of this document is available below.

Got a question about home modifications and you live in public housing?

Many of our members live in public or social housing and are wondering about home modifications and NDIS. We have asked the Department of Housing and Public Works (DHPW) for answers to your questions. We have summarised a few of the questions and answers. More detail is available on QDN’s website.

These answers only apply to people currently living in DHPW properties or those owned by the Department and managed by Community Housing providers. They are for Queensland only as other State Housing Departments may have a different arrangement about home modifications with the NDIS. If you get any information different to this let us know and we can let the Department know.

Should I include home modifications in my NDIS plan?

Most modifications won’t need to be part of an NDIS plan at all.  You should instead contact the department for a DHPW occupational therapist (OT) referral.

An OT from DHPW will assess your needs during a home visit.  The department may fund home modifications recommended by OTs relating to health, safety and independence.

How do I ask for a modification?

Contact your local Housing Service Centre and they will take a referral over the phone for an OT to make an assessment.

How long will it normally take for an OT to do the assessment?

When a person is referred for an OT assessment, they are usually placed on a waiting list. When taking the referral, Housing Service Centre staff will ask you questions to find out about the difficulties you are currently experiencing.  People at most risk of injury will be prioritised for assessment.  Once the OT has completed their assessment and report for modifications, it may take up to three months for the modifications to be

completed. If the modifications are minor, such as the provision of grab rails, the waiting time is likely to take less than three months.

What things might I ask the NDIS for that the DHPW won’t provide?

There are some modifications that DHPW won’t provide such as installing ceiling track hoists, air conditioners, bidets, environmental controls and modifications related to leisure and therapy equipment. The NDIA may agree to fund these items, and you would need to discuss these as part of your NDIS plan.

What do I do if I am in community housing owned by the Department

The tenant must contact their community housing provider.  The provider will then make contact with DHPW to consider if the request is within reasonable adjustment.


First2Care platform

The transition to the NDIS is opening the doors for entrepreneurs and digital innovators who are creating new products and services to support people with a wide range of disabilities. We recently met Andrew Wallace from SMS who has been working with a number of QDN members and others to co-design First2Care – the NDIS Plan Management App that helps people dream, plan and live the life they want.  First2Care is an on-line tool for people with disability and their carers.  It’s a tool that helps people manage their NDIS pre-planning, staff, and ongoing NDIS plan management.

Andrew Wallace from SMS says “First2Care is a very easy to use online tool to help people undertake NDIS pre-planning work”.  It is free for people to register to use First2Care and if you wish to use the next level of tools a monthly fee, which is currently $16.50 applies.  You are find out more here. First2Care would be happy to attend group meetings to demonstrate the First2Care app for members. Please contact QDN if you would like contact details.

My Rights Queensland

New information tool a much-needed resource for people with disability
On April 9, ADA Australia, in partnership with Legal Aid Queensland, launched My Rights Qlda free online tool providing information for Queenslanders with disability.

My Rights Qld is a simple, one-stop-shop for information that supports people to better understand and exercise their rights. It covers a wide range of topics including the NDIS, substitute decision-making, health, mental health, housing, discrimination and much more.

ADA Australia identified a resource gap for people with disability trying to navigate Queensland systems to find help to protect their rights. Information about how to seek help, or complain about issues impacting them, is often scattered across multiple websites and written in jargon-heavy language.

To address this, an online resource full of easy-to-access information was created to

help streamline the pathways for people with disability; and help Queenslanders resolve issues they may be having. Accessibility continues to be one of the most common barriers for people with disability.  My Rights Qld is accessible from a smart phone, tablet or computer and can be found at


Member Profile

Mathew Townsend – QDN member, founder of Nature Freedom, advocate and keynote speaker

Photo: Mathew Townsend

Mathew Townsend is a disability advocate, adventurer, environmentalist and sustainability champion. He is currently establishing a social enterprise business, Nature Freedom.  Mathew, along with a group of passionate and talented young people, introduce and connect young people with disabilities and mental health to adventurous conservation projects, bush regeneration, and leadership development.

Mathew is a public speaker and innovator in discovering sustainable, inclusive and accessible community development. He recently attended and presented his ideas at the Global Greens Congress at Liverpool as well as speaking at local public forums in Brisbane.  Mathew is a member of the QDN’s Brisbane Local Support Group.

He is passionate about bringing communities together, helping them be socially inclusive and accessible for all abilities. In 2017 he was a Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation for Young Australians program on developing social entrepreneurship, which developed Nature Freedom today.  Mathew’s vision is improving sustainability, inclusion and accessibility of our communities where it helps to improve the lifestyles of diverse populations.

Mathew is currently participating in the Autism CRC Future Leaders Program as the next group of emerging leaders in the Autism community.  In Program 3 Adulthood, the focus is on improving opportunities for autistic people to successfully participate in higher education and employment, and identifying best practice in physical and mental health management.  In their program Mathew has come across an amazing, logical and ‘perfectly making sense’ TEDx talk from a young lady on the spectrum, Elisabeth Wiklander, from Sweden.  Mathew encourages you to ‘grab a snack or drink and sit back and watch one of the most brilliant TEDx talks ever seen’.   Watch Elisabeth’s video here.

If you thought Mathew was busy enough, think again – he has recently accepted a keynote speaker invitation for the next Autism in Education ASPECT Autism Australia’s Conference, which will be held in August. We wish to congratulate Mathew on his amazing work and for helping to create an inclusive, accessible and accepting society.

From our Friends

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network Queensland

ATSIDNQ attended and held an information stall along with 50 other service providers at Punyahra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health expo at Beaudesert.

They also held a stall at the 2018 Cairns Disability Expo with around 45 other services where many new members joined the Network from both Expos.  Yarning groups were held in Brisbane North, Maryborough and Bundaberg this month with guest speakers from Mamre Association INC’s pave the way NDIS readiness program attending to speak with members and share information.

They were asked to speak on behalf of ATSIDNQ members to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme about NDIS Market Readiness held in Cairns.   The latest newsletter is available here.

The Arts are for Everyone

Access Arts has been working to support people with disability or disadvantage for over 30 years and believes that everybody deserves quality access to arts activities and the opportunity to work towards a career in the arts.

Access Arts’ work is widely recognised and the artists excel across all art forms. They also reach out to the community, listen to what people want and provide professionally facilitated arts workshops that give members a creative outlet. Read more

Australian Society for Intellectual Disability – Queensland Workshop

A Queensland workshop is being hosted by the Australian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID) as a lead up event for the ASID National Conference.  All profits will go towards assisting self-advocates attend the National Conference.

The topic of the Queensland workshop is “People with intellectual disability: How to promote good physical and mental health and healthcare”.   Professor Nick Lennox will be leading the workshop, which will be held on 4 June 2018 at 257 Gympie Road, Kedron.  Read more

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Seeking participants for a research study ‘Slips, trips and falls on trains and at railway stations’

The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS-Q) and the Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology are seeking participants for a research study to understand how passengers navigate at the train stations and on trains.

The findings from this study will inform ways to improve railway station and train design.

The research team are seeking participants who are either or a combination of:

  • People who are 60 years and over 60 years of age,
  • people who use a wheelchair, walker, crutches, or any other mobility aid to move through public spaces,
  • people travelling with prams,
  • people travelling with luggage.

Participation in the study involves two sessions. The first session involves wearing Tobii eye-tracking glasses during rail travel and lasts approximately 70-75 minutes. The second session involves an interview and lasts for 15-20 minutes. The project, ‘Slips, trips and falls on trains and at railway stations’, is being undertaken as part of an Australasian Centre For Rail Innovation (ACRI) grant. Please note this study has been approved by the QUT Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number 1700000323).

If you are interested in participating, please contact Robyn Coates (email or phone 07 3138 7713) or Vesna Popovic (email or phone 07 3138 2669) for details of the next step. You will be provided with further information to ensure that your decision and consent to participate is fully informed.

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