Bi-monthly Update – September 2018

From the Chairperson

I start my report this month with an acknowledgement to Mike Duggan. Mike passed away on 24 September, peacefully at his home but unexpectedly. Mike made significant contributions to a number of organisations during his life, including Community Resource Unit, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, Lifestyle Options,

Queensland Disability Housing Coalition and QDN.  He was a foundational member of QDN, being a member of the original Interim Steering Committee and post QDN’s Incorporation, Mike served as Vice President on the Management Committee from 2004-2006. Thank you Mike for your wisdom, your passion, your advocacy and your contribution to shaking things up to ensure everyone’s life is valued and people’s place in the community is recognised and upheld. Mike’s funeral was held this week, and our thoughts are with Mike’s family and friends. Vale Mike Duggan.

I am very pleased to report to members that I have been appointed by Sarah Henderson, the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services as the co-chair of the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council. The Council provides advice to the Government and helps drive reform agendas impacting carers and people with disability. Its membership comprises representatives from industry and services sectors and non-government organisations. Members include people with disability, carers and disability sector experts from across Australia. I am looking forward to the opportunity of working with the other members of the Council to ensure the Government continues to be well-informed about matters that affect people with disability and carers. It is important in this time of reform and change that the issues for people with disability across housing, employment, education, health, transport, justice, energy and digital inclusion are high on the agenda. Whilst the National Disability Insurance Scheme is a major reform, and opportunity to change the lives of 460,000 people with disability, this is only 10% of people who identify as having a disability. Everyone needs to have a place to call home, a job, access to quality healthcare, transport that they can use and afford, justice, affordable energy and connection to the digital world. I encourage QDN members to continue to share your experiences and raise issues to inform the conversation with decision makers and policy makers to get better outcomes for people with disability.

Whilst we are Queenslanders with disability, it is important that we have input and influence in the national policy arena. QDN recently made a submission to the Productivity Commission Review of the National Disability Strategy. The Council of Australian Governments introduced the National Disability Agreement in 2009. It is a high-level agreement between the Australian and state and territory governments for the provision of disability services for people with disability. The National Disability Agreement (NDA) is the first of the national agreements the Commission has been asked to review. QDN’s staff, Paige Armstrong, Michelle Moss and Helen Higgins also met with Commissioner Fitzgerald when he was in Brisbane to discuss QDN’s submission and the key issues from QDN’s perspective. It is important that an accountability governance mechanism exists to deliver coherent, measureable and reportable outcomes for people with disability who access services provided by Commonwealth, State, Territory and Local Governments. It is important going forward that there is a clear articulation of each of the government’s roles and responsibilities to be able to deliver the meaningful change needed, and that this links clearly with the other national agreements that focus on mainstream services. Queenslanders with disability want accessible, affordable, safe and quality services and it is important that all levels of government are delivering on this and reporting on how they are achieving this.

Members will have received the notification of QDN’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday 3 November 2018 at Spinal Life Australia. The AGM is an important part of our governance and requirements to operate as a company limited by guarantee, but it also provides an opportunity to reflect on the work of the organisation over the past year, the achievements and contributions QDN has made to leading and influencing change. I am proud of this work, and look forward to the AGM and to sharing with members our Annual Report highlighting the significant work we have undertaken this past financial year. The Board of Directors looks forward to catching up with members who are able to come along at the AGM.

Nigel Webb, QDN Chairperson

From the CEO

As part of QDN’s work with the 14 Community Services Peak organisations, we have identified four priority areas that we are collectively working on this year, the NDIS, a Human Rights Act for Queensland, Family Matters, and affordable, accessible housing.  I am pleased that QDN has joined the movement and signed a Family Matters statement of commitment which reflects our intent to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their organisations to achieve the goals of the Family Matters campaign. Let’s work together to eliminate the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040.

A Human Rights Act for Queensland has also been an important campaign and a reflection of what can be achieved through a grass roots movement of collectively coming together and saying this is important and we need to see this change. Human Rights is the foundation of our work at QDN. The Palaszczuk Government have committed to a Human Rights Act by the end of this year and we need all our members of parliament to know that this is still important to people with disability.

I am pleased to report to members that we are continuing all our work around the NDIS, with the work with the peaks, as well as our projects that we have been funded to deliver helping people with disability through the NDIS journey. The Getting on the NDIS Grid project is working with marginalised and vulnerable people with disability who aren’t connected to the disability service system to let them know about the NDIS and what’s in it for them. The NDIS Peer to Peer Advocacy project is now in full swing and working with people who need support with making an access request, getting ready for their planning meeting or support at their NDIS planning meeting. We are also getting lots of calls from people who are experiencing challenges with their NDIS access request and assisting people through this. I encourage you to call QDN if you need support.

Accessible, affordable, safe and quality housing is important for all Queenslanders with disability and has been a key focus of QDN’s work over the past 2 years. The Minister for Housing, Mick De Brenni MP announced on International Tenants Day, 30 September, the Queensland Government’s consultation to renting reforms which is underway over the next two months. These are important reforms to residential tenancy laws for renters and property owners are focused on ensuring  Queenslanders’ needs will be met now and into the future. Queensland has one of the highest renting populations in Australia. It is critical that Queenslanders with disability have a say in this consultation to influence the reforms and what is needed in minimum standards from the perspective of tenants with disability. We all want to see fairer rules and laws that protect tenants, give people security of tenure and enable people with disability to live in accessible, quality, safe and affordable housing. I encourage members to have your say. Information on the dates and locations of consultation events and the online survey can be found at or you can email or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #rentinginqld. Or you can contact QDN.

September 15-21 was Disability Action Week, and QDN was pleased to host three events during the week, one in Toowoomba, one in Deception Bay and one in Brisbane, each hosted by our local support groups in those towns. Our event in Toowoomba was a disability awareness workshop for members and the community. Over 30 people, including people with physical and hidden disabilities attended the workshop and had ‘hands-on’ experience of the varied situations people with different disabilities navigate as part of their everyday lives. Our Deception Bay group hosted an Out & About in Our Community and Beyond Expo with 17 stall holders joining in the celebrations and more than 150 people through the door.  Congratulations to Toowoomba and Deception Bay local support groups on your successful events.

Lastly QDN was pleased to co-host with Griffith University, the launch of the Hot Topics Local Support Group Digital Stories as part of Disability Action Week on Tuesday 11 September 2018. The digital stories are a collection of individual and group stories produced as part of a joint project with QDN, Griffith University and University of Queensland. The event was attended by over 60 guests including family and friends of QDN’s Brisbane Hot Topics members (a self-advocacy group by and for people with intellectual disability) as well as different policy and decision-makers. I would like to thank everyone who attended, Clare O’Connor, Director-General Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors for her speech, and to Morrie O’Connor, Chairperson, Queensland Division, Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID) for launching the digital stories. I would like to thank our Brisbane Hot Topics members and QDN, Griffith and University of Queensland staff for all their work on this project. Hot Topics has shown leadership, the courage to speak up about important issues and the power of the collective voice to influence change.

Paige Armstrong, CEO

Around the Office

Vale Mike Duggan

QDN was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mike Duggan on Monday 24 September, 2018. Mike made significant contributions to a number of organisations during his life, including Community Resource Unit, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, Lifestyle Options, Queensland Disability Housing Coalition and QDN.  He was a foundational member of QDN, being a member of the original Interim Steering Committee and post QDN’s Incorporation, Mike served as Vice President on the Management Committee from 2004-2006. Mike was a valued member of QDN, sharing his wisdom and being a steward of QDN’s values and principles in the early years.  Mike showed all who knew him that it was possible to live a life of value and purpose in the community. Mike will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with Mike’s family and close friends at this time.

Nigel Webb, Chairperson of QDN Board appointed co-chair of National Disability and Carers Advisory Council

Nigel Webb has been appointed co-chair of National Disability and Carers Advisory Council, through to November 2019.  The council provides advice to Government on issues of strategic importance to the disability sector and carers’ sectors.

Paige Armstrong appointed to IAC Intellectual Disability Reference Group

Paige Armstrong has been asked to join the NDIA’s Independent Advisory Council’s (IAC)Intellectual Disability Reference Group (IDRG). The IDRG was established in 2015 to provide systemic and strategic advice to the IAC on how the Scheme could better promote and enable an ordinary life for people with intellectual disability.

We would also like to acknowledge that Donna Best, Rob Ellis and Michelle Moss have been our strongest advocates and raised the need for a Queensland representative on this group.

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

The Changing Lives Changing Communities events in Toowoomba, Mackay, Caboolture, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Normanton are funded through Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness Grants – National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) – a partnership between QDN, QCOSS and ADCQ.

Upcoming ILC Events

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Toowoomba, 10 & 11 October 

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Mackay, 17 & 18 October

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Brisbane, 28 & 29 November

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Caboolture, 3 & 4 December

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Gold Coast, dates to be confirmed for 2019

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Normanton, dates to be confirmed for 2019

 There are another 7 forums that are being held and the QCOSS Board has also approved new investment in these seven events, representing a very real commitment by QCOSS to drive change across Queensland communities.  QDN is partnering with QCOSS on these events too.

Continuing the momentum of Movement for change and QCOSS Pulse conversations, we will kick off the first three of these events in Capricornia, Fraser Coast and Townsville, which were held in August.  Below are upcoming events

Gladstone – Venue to be advised 1 November 9:00am-4:00pm

Cairns – Venue to be advised 8 November 9:00am-4:00pm

Mt Isa – Venue to be advised 13 November 9:00am-4:00pm

2018 Annual General Meeting

QDN is holding its Annual General Meeting on Saturday 3 November 2018, at Spinal Injuries Association, 109 Logan Rd, Woolloongabba.  Important information has been sent out to QDN members and is available on our website

Please call QDN on 1300 363 783 if you have any questions about this pack.

Disability Action Week – QDN activities

Disability Action Week was held from 9 to 15 September 2018 with the theme ‘An all abilities Queensland: everybody has a role to play’.  Disability Action Week is held annually in September with the aim of empowering people with disability, raising awareness of disability issues, and improving access and inclusion throughout the wider community. QDN held three  events for Disability Action week.  The Toowoomba Local Support Group hosted an event  Discovering Disability and Diversity Awareness and Community Networking Day – Educating Everyone Event, which was held in Toowoomba. This event, funded by Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors – Disability Community Event Grant brought together different groups, including local GPs, allied health professionals and advocacy groups who work together to help support NDIS participants.

North Lakes Local Support Group organised a new and exciting expo celebrating Disability Awareness in our community and beyond.  People who attended found out about user friendly technology and support, energy grants and concessions, NDIS Get Ready workshops and community engagement.  There were lots of prizes and giveaways and the event was a great success.  Lastly the Brisbane Hot Topics Group hosted the launch of their Digital Stories at Griffith University Film Studios. More information about all the events in the Local Support Group Update below.

QDN Team – Bridge to Brisbane

Recently QDN staff member Lisa organised a QDN team to participate in the annual  Bridge to Brisbane.  They were called  QDN Fabulae (legends). The event supports a variety of organisations and our team members chose to throw our registration fees into the big kitty rather than select an individual fundraising group. Lisa said “I love participating in public events and being swept up in the spirit of communities. Being new to the big city I wanted to take part in this huge community event and thought I would make myself available to other people who may want to attend but felt uncomfortable entering by themselves”. Other QDN staff who joined me on the day were Margaret and Cindy. It was a wet and drizzly morning with umbrellas and ponchos galore however, that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, and in fact it inspired the team more to get through as we all knew how desperate the country is for rain. By the end of the race the girls were a little weary and their soggy sneakers had turned into cement blocks and stroll turned into a trudge. The QDN Fabulae crossed the line in 1 hour and 24 minutes and finished the morning with a warm cup of coffee, a chat and a laugh.

Cindy, Margaret and Lisa all smiling standing under the umbrella
Cindy, Margaret and LIsa enjoying the Bridge to Brisbane festivities

Micah Moonlight Dinner Dance

This year, QDN attended Micah Projects’ 15th Annual Moonlight Magic Dinner Dance held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday 31st August 2018. The Moonlight Magic Dinner Dance (MMDD) is a community event where guests include business leaders, residents of Level 3 Supported Accommodation, elected officials, formerly homeless people and a broad range of people from the community, nearly half of all who experience economic disadvantage and social isolation on a daily basis.

This event helped break down barriers, improve self-esteem and sought to build a more connected Brisbane community through the enjoyment of dressing up, fine food, music and dance.  It is one of the gala events in Brisbane which is truly inclusive of the broad spectrum of our community.  It was a night of glitz and glamour, sumptuous food and elegant attire but, most importantly, it was a night where socially created barriers were toppled and all members of the Brisbane community came together as equals, to enjoy each other’s company.

Health Consumers Queensland 10 Year Birthday Celebration

QDN would like to congratulate Health Consumers Queensland on their 10 year birthday celebration on 5 September 2018. Health Consumers Queensland started as a ministerial advisory committee within Queensland Health as a consumer body representing the important consumer voice within the  health system, and now operates within the non-government sector. HCQ celebrated at Parliament House with Minister for Health, Steven Miles MP attending and sponsoring the event along with 80 guests. Congratulations on the work of HCQ and all involved over the past 10 years to build a strong consumer voice in health.

Townsville Changing Lives Changing Communities

QDN, QCOSS, Townsville City Council, and Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland (ADCQ) have worked together on 3 annual forums in the Townsville community on 28 and 29 August 2018. The forum had over 100 participants who came together to talk about “what will it take to create a Townsville community where everyone matters, contributes and belongs?” Thirteen projects were identified by community members to co-create solutions to ensure everyone is included in their community, and can access what they need: like a place to call home, good health, transport, education, and meaningful employment. The projects of change have been working in the community to bring about change in the areas of housing, media, employment, diversity and working with practitioners.

Policy Work

Our Voice – have your say: Translink’s bus hailing survey

Take the hailing survey

Bus users are invited to take part in a new customer survey about the experience of hailing a bus in South East Queensland. The purpose of the research is to gain insights into how bus users hail services, where issues have been experienced and the reasoning behind those issues.  The survey is anonymous and no personal details will be collected. To share your feedback, take the survey now.

Our Voice – have your say: Opening Doors to Renting Reforms

The Queensland Government is consulting with the community in regards to renting in Queensland. You can have your say at the online survey can be found at or you can email or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtag #rentinginqld. Or you can contact QDN.

Accessible Housing National Consultation Forums 2018

Accessible Housing National Consultation Forums 2018 are being facilitated by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). The Brisbane Forum is on 30 October 2018 and QDN encourages members in the Brisbane area to attend if you can.  The national consultations include options for inclusion of minimum accessibility standards for housing.

For a copy of the discussion paper and further information on how to register for the upcoming forum or to provide feedback on Options Paper click here.

Family Matters Campaign

QDN has joined the movement and signed a Family Matters statement of commitment which reflects intent to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their organisations to achieve the goal of the Family Matters Campaign .  As part of the work of the 14 peak organisations, QDN is committed to work in accordance with key principles, and to implement corresponding actions. QDN strongly encourages you to pledge your organisation’s support and we can all work together to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040.

13 QDN staff standing looking at the camera with Paige holding the signed statement
QDN staff supporting the statement of commitment

Commission of Inquiry New Generation Rollingstock

On 1 August 2018, retired District Judge Michael Forde commenced an inquiry into the circumstances leading up to and associated with the procurement through a Public Private Partnership of New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) trains that fail to comply with Disability Legislation and functional requirements.

The commission is to have regard to the procurement process for the NGR trains related to compliance with the Disability Legislation and functional requirements.

On 31 August, QDN submitted a response to the inquiry noting the lack of consultation with people with disability during the procurement and design processes. Paige Armstrong and Nigel Webb also met with Commissioner Forde following QDN’s submission. A full report is to be presented to the Premier and Minister for Trade by 3 December 2018. Further information is available here.

National Disability Agreement submission and meeting with Commissioner Fitzgerald

The Australian Government’s Productivity Commission (PC) is doing a review of the National Disability Agreement (NDA) and sought submissions and input during August. The Council of Australian Governments introduced the NDA in 2009. It is a high-level agreement between the Australian and state and territory governments for the provision of disability services for people with disability.  QDN welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback on the Productivity Commission Issues Paper on the Review of the NDA. . QDN also was pleased to meet with Commissioner Fitzgerald while he was in Brisbane to provide direct feedback in regards to the review.

Update on feedback regarding MASS issues

Thankyou to Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) members who provided  feedback about issues around using equipment supplied by the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS) and the apparent changes to the implementation of MASS Guidelines. QDN is currently collating this information to raise these issues with the Queensland Minister for Health, the Hon Dr Steven Miles.

Housing Matters

On 28 August, the Hon Mick de Brenni, Minister for Housing reconvened the Ministerial Housing Council. Key matters at the meeting related to an update on major reforms through the Queensland Housing Strategy 2017-2027 which has now completed its first year of activity; the implementation of Stage 1 Housing Legislation (Building Better Futures) Amendment Act 2017 amendments in the coming months; and noting that the National Building Ministers’ Forum recently considered an options paper on accessible housing to progress future reform of construction codes.

The Accessible Housing Options paper will be released in September 2018 to inform a Regulatory Impact Assessment early 2019. The Council also noted the status of intergovernmental discussions on the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement and the National Partnership on Remote Housing. KPMG also presented their upcoming Affordable Housing Research Project which was commissioned by the department. Further information is available here.

Position Statement – Queensland’s 14 community sector peaks support the introduction of a Human Rights Act for Queensland

We strongly support laws that ensure fairness and equality for all Queenslanders. For the coalition of 14 peaks, a Human Rights Act for Queensland is a priority issue for 2018, and we welcome the Government’s commitment to introduce legislation this year. A Human Rights Act will mean all Queenslanders are treated fairly – particularly for people who experience vulnerability, with whom our members work.  Read more by clicking here.

Policy updates

New Commissioners for ECQ and ADCQ

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath has announced two significant appointments for key agencies. Pat Vidgen will be Electoral Commissioner for the Electoral Commission of Queensland and Scott McDougall will be Queensland’s new Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. Read more here.


My Health Record Update

As you will have read in the July e-Bulletin, 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.   If you decide you don’t want a record, you can tell the Government during a four-month period from 16 July to 15 November 2018. 

For some people with disability this will be a good idea for people to tell a doctor or hospital about their medical history. However, some people do not want a My Health Record because they see it as an invasion of their privacy.

If you don’t want to record, you have to opt out by 15 November. Click here to read more.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care

On the 16 September Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced there would be a Royal Commission into the aged care sector.  The Royal Commission will primarily look at the quality of care provided in residential and home aged care to senior Australians. It will also include young Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care settings. A brief online public consultation process was held to help the Government develop the Terms of Reference of the Royal Commission. Submissions have now closed and analysis has commenced.

It is expected that the Royal Commission will cover:

  • The quality of care provided to older Australians, and the extent of substandard care;
  • The challenge of providing care to Australians with disabilities living in residential aged care, particularly younger people with disabilities;
  • The challenge of supporting the increasing number of Australians diagnosed with dementia and addressing their care needs as they age;
  • The future challenges and opportunities for delivering aged care services in the context of changing demographics, including in remote, rural and regional Australia;
  • And other matters that the Royal Commission considers necessary

National Roundtable on the Mental Health of People with Intellectual Disability – Communique released

The 2018 National Roundtable on the Mental Health of People with Intellectual Disability was hosted at UNSW Sydney in March 2018 and brought together 130 clinicians, academics and sector representatives to workshop recommendations to improve mental health services and outcomes for this population. Michelle Moss attended as QDN’s representative. The communique has been released and can be found here.


Housing Principles for Inclusive Communities

The Department of Housing and Public Works has recently released a statement entitled: “Housing Principles for Inclusive Communities”.  These principles were developed as a guide to help achieve more inclusive communities. QDN is particularly pleased that the statement is inclusive of QDN’s housing principles of: rights, control, choice and inclusion, that were developed as part of QDN’s Going for Gold Housing Position Paper in 2016.  QDN Housing Champions were integral in leading the work on the development of these housing principles at the Griffith University NDIS Housing Symposium in 2016. QDN thanks our Housing Champions for your tireless work in ensuring housing solutions are inclusive, accessible, and have person-centred outcomes. These principles were developed jointly between Queensland Government, Griffith University, National Shelter and Queenslanders with Disability Network. Click here to read more.

Supported Independent Living Workshop

Karin Swift and Helen Higgins recently attended a workshop on Supported Independent Living (SIL) ran by Disability Services Consulting. The workshop was divided into two sections, information about SIL and a section for service providers on quoting for SIL.   

SIL is funded individually to each person receiving NDIS according to their need and covers shared living arrangements of between 2-7 people. SIL provides support with daily life tasks and is reflective of a 24 hour per day/ 7 days per week support model. Cost of support does not include rent, board or lodging, day to day usual living expenses such as food and activities, personal care supports when the person is hospitalised, in the family home or items covered in other sections of NDIS price guide. Under the SIL model, housing and support are meant to be separate, with separate providers and agreements for both housing (tenancy agreement) and support (service agreement). In theory each individual in a shared living arrangement could have a separate SIL provider but in practice this would be difficult. Participants can get support to explore their housing options if they have a specific goal around this in their NDIS plan.

The second part of the workshop was targeted at service providers and covered creating a quote for SIL. The presenters made it clear that service providers had a responsibility to be value for money for people with disability to ensure the NDIS was successful and ongoing. SIL covers supports provided in the home, while Community Access covers support in the community and holiday support. If a significant change occurred in a household this would trigger a review, however, this should be done carefully as it may not be in other participants best interests as they all need to be reviewed again. If you want to move from your SIL arrangement you have to go through the assessment process and investigating housing process again. If you are unsuccessful, you may stuck.  It is important to quote for individual supports, shared supports and irregular supports. It is important to factor in indexation, professional development and a floating worker.


Market Readiness for the Provision of Services under the NDIS: Joint Standing Committee Report released

In September 2018, the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS released a report following the Inquiry into Market Readiness for the Provision of Services under the NDIS. The report outlines the Committee’s findings on market stewardship, participant readiness, workforce readiness, service provider readiness, pricing, provider of last resort and Specialist Disability Accommodation.  QDN contributed to this Inquiry. The full report can be found here.

Competition and collaboration between service providers in the NDIS – Report by Centre for Social Impact

Through the rollout of the NDIS, this report examines the effects of the introduction of a more competitive environment on collaborative working between providers who had historical relationships of working together. The data showed that while collaborative efforts were largely perceived to be continuing, there were signs of organisations shifting to more competitive relationships in the new quasi market. This shift has implications for care integration and care co-ordination, providing insight into how increasing competition between providers may affect care integration. Download the full report here.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme: a chronology – Research paper by the Parliamentary Library

This research paper provides a brief history of the NDIS, including the context from which it emerged, the NDIS’s early development and the passage of legislation, and debates and issues. This is followed by a table listing milestones in the development of the scheme from 2007 until 30 June 2018. To download the full paper, click here.

New NDIS participant pathway

The new NDIS Participant Pathway to improve the way participants and service providers engage with the NDIS has now been released.  The new pathway is designed so that participants will find it easier to understand information, connect with NDIA, Local Area Coordinators and supports.  Assistance with pre-planning can now be accessed and plans will be easier to understand.  The new pathway promises improvements to the portal and NDIS website so navigating these will be clearer and simpler. For more information about the new NDIS participant pathway click here.

NDIS workforce improvements

On 24 August, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, the former Minster for Social Services, announced workforce improvements to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) that included an additional 750 staff to be hired over the next 12 months and targeted training of 6,000 planners and front line staff, the staffing cap to be increased to 3,138 in 2018-2019 and 3,230 in 2019-2010 with a further increase in 2020-2021 bringing the new ongoing cap to 3,400. The Government will also introduce amendments to the NDIS Act to allow more staff to make access decisions and to approve plans.

Further information is available here.

Queensland celebrates NDIS milestone

Queensland has reached an important milestone in the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with more than 20,000 Queenslanders with disability now signed up to the scheme. Queenslanders with Disability Network has been funded to provide peer advocacy support during the transition.  Click here for more information on NDIS partner organisations within Queensland,   For Minister O’Rourke’s media release click here.

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Practice standards and rules

NDIS Quality and Safeguards rules and practice standards have been released. Disability Services Consulting have done an initial summary which is comprehensive.  Click here to read more.


A future without violence for people with disability

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin has released a report into violence against people with disability in institutional settings. “More than 4.3 million Australians have a disability. They experience violence at a higher rate than other people in the community. People receiving disability services in institutional settings are even more vulnerable to violence,” the Commissioner said.  Read the full report here. 

Digital Inclusion

Telstra has partnered with RMIT University, the Centre for Social lmpact (Swinburne University of Technology), and Roy Morgan Research to deliver the third Australian Digital Inclusion Index. It gives an important multi-year overview of digital inclusion in Australia. This has decreased for people with disability, and this impacts on people with disability as digital inclusion is now fundamental to full participation in our economic and social life and an ever increasing number of essential and community services and other communications are going digital.  To read the report click here.

Ready to go celebrations in August

With the Ready to go project winding down on 30 June 2018, Peer Facilitators, Project staff (current and previous) and support workers came together on Thursday 2 August to celebrate the great work that has been achieved over the life of this project.  In 4 years, Peer Facilitators, project staff and supports had travelled many kilometres, visited many towns across Queensland and had many stories to tell about their adventures and experiences.  In this time, we held 574 activities and reached 11,040 people. QDN would like to thank everyone who was a part of the Ready to go project over the past 4 years.  You have supported people with disability in Queensland to have a better understanding about the NDIS, and assist them with their pre-planning for a better outcome of NDIS support.

A selection of photos in a gallery from the Ready to go project
Snapshots from Ready to go

Getting on the NDIS Grid Update

The Getting on the NDIS Grid team have been visiting caravan parks and supported accommodation facilities connecting with residents and talking about the NDIS and what it could mean for them.  The team has been working  collaboratively with organisations and voluntary supports, who have a closer and longer relationship with residents, and can introduce and assist QDN in identifying potential NDIS participants.

QDN continues to chair the Getting on the NDIS Grid – Supported Accommodation meeting where mangers of Supported Accommodation, NDIA, Department of Communities, Qld Health, Carers Queensland, disability community organisations and QDN come together to best work together in supporting people in their access and planning journey.

Getting on the NDIS Grid project worker, Lisa McDermott, and Peer Leader, Alison MacLean, attended Pride Day celebrations at New Farm Park in Brisbane on Saturday, 22nd September, where they were able to engage with people and community and talk about NDIS eligibility and access.

Alison and Lisa wearing blue tutu's with the QDN sign in the background
Alison MacLean and Lisa McDermott looking good in their blue tutus!

Peer to Peer Advocacy Project

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) has been funded by Department of Communities, Disability and Seniors to undertake a one year project to support people with disability with NDIS peer to peer advocacy. The project is for any person with disability who may be eligible for the NDIS or is on their way to accessing the NDIS and they need:

  • Support with NDIS access or NDIS planning or
  • Support or peer advocacy if they are experiencing challenges as they move along their NDIS pathway

We have a full team of project officers and peer advocates employed to deliver on this project. We are working with people in Brisbane, Logan and Redlands, Gold Coast, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, and can provide remote support via phone or skype to other areas across Queensland.

Over 20,000 Queenslanders have now signed up with the NDIS. Many people have said they are happy with the support they are now getting and having more choice and control over how they get those supports. However, there are many more people who may be eligible and are yet to sign up and make an access request. QDN is able to work with people who want support with NDIS access, getting ready for their planning meeting, and at their planning meeting. People can contact QDN on (07) 3252 8566 or 1300 363 783 or email to access this free support.

Local Support Group Update

Deception Bay LSG ‘Out and About in Our Community and Beyond Expo’

Congratulations to Deception Bay Local Support Group for hosting yet another very successful Expo Celebrating Disability Awareness on 13 September 2018 at Market Square Deception Bay.  The Deception Bay LSG were successful in receiving $1900 sponsorship from the Moreton Bay Regional Council, with 17 stall holders joining in the celebrations and more than 150 people through the door.

The Out & About in Our Community and Beyond Expo embraces and celebrates diversity in the local community, and raises awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by local people with lived experience of disability. The group looks forward to continuing to grow this successful event next year!

five people gathered for a photo with Chris holding a certificate of appreciation
Deception Bay Local Support Group Members with Brendan Waite MP from Chris Whiting’s office giving a gift of thanks for this support

Hot Topics Digital Stories Launch

Over the past four months, seven members of the Brisbane Hot Topics group have been working on a project alongside QDN staff, Griffith University and the University of Queensland, to lead and develop their own digital story. The digital stories were formally launched on 11 September at the Griffith University Film School, as part of Disability Action Week.

When initially discussing who they would like to see their stories, the answer from the storytellers was ‘family, friends, and decision makers’. This wish was realised, with the launch drawing an audience of over fifty people including a mix of dignitaries and policy makers, QDN and Griffith staff, hot topics members, and family and friends of the storytellers.

Hot Topics members did a fantastic job in their roles as facilitators of the event, with Alison Maclean and Michelle Mullane as Masters of Ceremony, Willie Prince giving the acknowledgement to Country, and Donna Best speaking about the project on behalf of the Hot Topics members involved.

It was wonderful to have the presence of Clare O’Connor, Director-General Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors who spoke as part of the proceedings, and Morrie O’Connor, Chairperson of the Qld division of the Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability formally launching the stories. Also in attendance were dignitaries and representatives from the NDIA, Public Advocate of Qld, Public Guardian of Qld and Digital Capability Development, Department of Housing and Public Works.

Seven individual digital stories were screened, as well as the Hot Topics group story. The seven individual stories are owned by the people who made the stories, and the group story by QDN. The Hot Topics group story will be shared on the website soon, and provided members give permission, we will also share some of the individual stories that were produced. A huge congratulations to all involved in making the project such a success. Click here to access the group digital story.

Caboolture LSG welcomes the NDIA

Leanda and Tony from the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) Community Engagement Team were guest speakers at the August meeting of the Caboolture Local Support Group (LSG).  This meeting was a great success with 65 people in attendance. Group Convenor, Matt McCracken said: “This was a great opportunity for people in the Caboolture community to come together and learn about the NDIS and what is in it for them. I am pleased that the Caboolture LSG was able to provide this opportunity. A great conversation was held with many people’s questions being answered. We look forward to more opportunities to link with the NDIA as the NDIS rolls out in the region from January 2019”.

 Many people sitting at a big table listening to a man speak at the front of the room

65 people attended the August meeting of the Caboolture Local Support Group

Toowoomba Local Support Group – Disability Action Week event

QDN’s Toowoomba Local Support Group ran a disability awareness workshop for members and the community as part of disability action week celebrations. Paige Armstrong, QDN CEO introduced the event which was facilitated by Sharon Boyce, Local Group Convenor. Over 30 people, including people with physical and hidden disabilities attended the workshop and had ‘hands-on’ experience of the varied situations people with different disabilities navigate as part of their everyday lives. A key outcome of the workshop was the creation of a canvas by participants, with participants putting their handprint and signature and a comment about inclusion and disability on the canvas. The completed work will be presented to the Local Council who have agreed to hang it within the council building as a reminder of Disability Action Week 2018.  The canvas also provides a lasting link between the Toowoomba Regional Council, QDN and the Local Support Group and reinforces a key message that as a community we really live inclusion and we need to support and grow this more every day.

3 people standing 2 people sitting, looking at the camera smiling at the forum
Sharon Boyce and dignitaries at the event in Toowoomba

Member profile and congratulations in order!

Hi everyone. My name is Madelyn Ehlers. I belong to the Hot Topics Brisbane Group, and I have been a member for four years. I have just received an award called Next Gen Athlete Program from the Lord Mayor of Brisbane. I received a one off grant for my ten-pin bowling, plus a certificate. I bowl at Mt Gravatt Centre every Saturday morning. I enjoy playing as a team. I was very lucky to be able to start a new activity after retiring from my athletics with Paralympics. I think as many people as possible should try to get out of their comfort zone, especially in the disability sector. It would be good if more people could get help and support from their family and friends.

A big congratulations to Madelyn on her achievement. More information on the Next Gen Athlete Program can be found here.

If you know of anyone in your Local Support Group for whom congratulations are in order, let us know at (and send pictures!)

Madelyn standing holding her certificate looking very pleased
Madelyn Ehlers, Brisbane Hot Topics Member show us her certificate in the QDN office


Member Profile

John MacPherson – QDN Board Director

What have been your key roles in representing QDN over the past 12 months?

I represent QDN on the Queensland Rail, Transport and Main Roads, TMR, and Brisbane Airport Corporation Accessibility Reference Groups.  This involves regular quarterly meetings and irregular meetings when issues arise.  I have met weekly for the last few months with TMR as part of the NGR Project Working Group.  The ARG has been working through the DSAPT non compliances in the NGR train.

With your role on the Department of Transport and Main Road (TMR) New Generation Rollingstock (NGR) reference group what are the opportunities to influence and make a difference to policy and shape what happens on the ground for people?

The TMR ARG can be an interesting environment.  We are seeking to promote a working culture of working collaboratively so we can see change and discuss matters opening and for people with disability to be involved from the beginning.

What is your highlight from this past 12 months and why?

Authoring the QR / TMR ARGs’ submission in response to the State of Queensland’s application for temporary exemption from the DSAPT. It placed us in a strong position and enabled us to negotiate and put forward some solutions and options for a way forward that demonstrated our goodwill and value as partners rather than supplicants.

From our Friends

CSIA – Digital Stories of Inclusion

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) are funding creative, innovative, accessible and inclusive projects for people with disability in our communities. CSIA is partnering with NDS to create resources which help people to better understand inclusion. CSIA have launched a number of new videos, some featuring QDN members Daniel, Kara and Peter, which strengthen capacity to promote social and economic inclusion for people with a disability in Queensland communities.  Through the Inclusion Ready project, CSIA are sharing stories about the types of inclusion you can have in your community and the impact it can have for business, government, groups and people with a disability. Click here to go to the videos.

QAI “violence against PWD” forum

On Monday 24 September Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) held the “Violence against people with disabilities in their homes” Forum. There were a range of special guest speakers, including actors with disabilities who performed 5 short vignettes highlighting some serious issues that many people with disabilities face on a daily basis.  Guest Speakers included Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwan and Former Senator and Social Campaigner Andrew Bartlett.

The forum and ongoing project will help to increase general understanding and awareness of violence against people with disability, including the impact it has on a person, the potential perpetrators of violence and the diverse settings and ways in which it can occur. QAI are launching resources – two booklets, five videos and a website.  These will be widely distributed to people with disability and their families and are designed to raise awareness for and on behalf of people with disabilities who experience violence, in terms of responding to violence, identifying avenues of support and challenging forms of legislative violence.

Community Resource Unit (CRU) 3 events to mark 3 decades

This year CRU celebrates its thirtieth anniversary and they invite everyone to join them on 26 and 27 October at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for three events to mark three decades.  CRU invites you to join them for one, two or three of the events.

Click here for event details.

The Hopkins Centre Symposium – Bold ideas

The annual symposium this year focuses on people with a disability as researchers or driving research.  The latest research will be on show and they also have Emma Griffiths from ABC radio hosting a topical panel, Professor Karen Fisher from University of NSW as a keynote and Kevin Cocks (who is their Patron) opening proceedings.

The event will be held at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, but will also be available through video streaming.  Click here for more information, access the program or to register.

QDN Tel: 3252 8566 or 1300 363 783 | |