QDN E-Bulletin Update – July 2020

From the Chairperson

With less than 100 days to the State Election on 31 October, your voice matters now more than ever. QDN is focussed on ensuring that all candidates and political parties understand that Disability Matters in this election.

Based on what we have been hearing from members and Queenslanders with disability, QDN has started working on an election platform document. Housing, health, employment, transport, the digital divide and the NDIS continue to be key issues. I can tell you that QDN’s policy platform is being drafted and will include recommendations to all major political parties on key issues that matter to our members. We have already started consulting Peer Support Group Convenors about what their groups want to see in the policy platform. I encourage you to look out for the tools and resources which will be sent out to members closer to election day.  As in past years, I hope you use these resources to engage with your local candidates around QDN’s key election platform asks.

You will have seen information about our 2020 Annual General Meeting which will be held on Saturday 17 October 2020.  We are now calling for Expressions of Interest for QDN Board of Directors from people who share our vision to ensure people with disability are active and valued citizens.  To get more information about the Call for Expression of Interest for QDN Board of Directors click here.

I wish to thank members for their input into the many submissions we have been writing. Your input is critical in ensuring the voices and rights of people with disability are heard and upheld.  We all need to continue to involve ourselves as we all have a right to receiving the services and supports we need in the right way, at the right time.

The membership of QDN is broad and diverse in disability, age and cultural backgrounds and peer support is fundamental in what we do. In listening to what members have been saying I am pleased to let people know that QDN is working on starting two new groups. One for people under 35 and another for people who are over 65. These peer groups are an acknowledgement by QDN of the need for a more dedicated focus on these cohorts.  You can read more about these groups in the Peer Support Group section.

I am pleased to let members know that the Board of Directors have been working to strengthen QDN’s governance, our direction, and work going forward based on our strategic plan. The Board has recently approved the 2020-2021 budget that includes the new grants and projects from both the State and Commonwealth.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge John McPherson and Philia Polites in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for their tireless work for people with disability. They were both awarded the Order of Australia (OAM).  This was a bitter-sweet moment, as Philia passed away shortly after the OAM was awarded.  Philia, dear friend of QDN and past Board Director, was awarded the OAM for her service to people with disability and to the community.  John, a long-serving QDN Board Director, has been awarded an OAM for his service to people with disability and to access and inclusion.  QDN is so proud of John and Philia for their well-deserved accolades and worthy acknowledgements of their leadership contributions to the disability community.

As we continue to live in a period of uncertainty, I hope you all take care of your health and wellbeing and continue to observe the key safety messages.

Nigel Webb, Chairperson, QDN Board of Directors

From the CEO

It continues to be a challenging time for people with disability who are facing additional challenges during times like COVID-19.  I know the current environment can seem overwhelming at times.  I am pleased that our Peer Support Groups are able to continue to meet online providing some support and connection for people.  It has been amazing to see so many members take up the challenge that technology can sometimes bring with it.

We are grateful for the feedback and perspective that members continue to provide on many different systemic policy areas.  We have particular focus on issues around tenancy reforms, parking reforms, specialist disability accommodation, emergency preparedness and the NDIS.  We have been working on a number of easy-english documents recently and these can be found on our website here.  An important piece of work we are doing with Health Consumers Queensland and the Queensland government is a health advocacy guide called Know Your Rights – getting the hospital care you need during COVID-19.  This is a really practical tool that can help you prepare, know your rights and get the support you need when accessing the health and hospital system.

I am extremely proud of the work that QDN has been part of with the Changing Lives, Changing Communities project.  After two years of engagement this project has come to an end.  This work has brought together communities, developed peer leaders who have established an ongoing community of practice, and has been the seed for real change, and steps towards the vision of communities where everyone ‘contributes, matters and belongs’.

It was great to see members’ experiences and ideas reflected in the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS into Supported Independent Living (SIL) final report.  Many of the recommendations reflect what QDN called for in our submission and public testimony to the committee.  This is yet another example of why it’s so important for you to have a voice and be included in how policy is developed.  You can read the full report here.  I encourage you all to take the time to have a say whenever we call for member input on submissions and consultations.

I know that national regulations for housing accessibility are something QDN members have been calling for, for a long time, so I am pleased to let you know that we will be making a submission on the draft regulations. We know that housing designs do not work for many people, including people with disability and I hope that getting the regulation right will lead to more inclusive and sustainable communities now and in the future. To read more about national construction code accessibility and to find ways of providing feedback please click here.

I am pleased to welcome a number of new staff to the QDN team this month.  Shelley Birrell has taken on the role of Projects Manager and Miles Tollan has been appointed as the Operations Manager. Danielle Flanagan will be working on the Power of Peers Project and Simone Hockins joins the Targeted Outreach team.  Karin Swift has recently moved on from QDN and I would like to thank her for her exceptional contribution to our work and achievements. Karin will remain very connected to QDN as a life member and the peer convenor for the virtual state-wide Women’s Network.  We also say goodbye to Mark McKeon and thank him for several years of dedicated service to QDN.  I also wish to thank Fiona Malcolm for her expertise working a short-term contract on the Targeted Outreach project.

You will have heard many times, we are all in this together, and I am heartened by the way QDN members have reached out to each other and to QDN during the past few months.  As we all continue to manage the changes that COVID-19 forces upon us I encourage you to stay connected with each other and keep remembering the importance of social distancing and hygiene.  Stay safe.

Paige Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer 

Vale Philia Polites

Photo to Philia in a red shirt with a big smileQDN is deeply saddened at the passing of Philia Polites on 2 July, 2020.  Philia has contributed greatly to QDN in many ways over the years.  Philia was an inspirational person, great mentor and a person who was committed to human rights and social inclusion, especially for more marginalised and vulnerable groups and she channelled this energy as a local support group convenor and peer leader.   Philia served on QDN’s Board of Directors from 2015-2019 and as deputy-chair of the Board. During this time Philia was also a member of QDN’s Audit and Compliance Committee. Philia’s skills and knowledge from her public sector and voluntary roles also brought great depth to her involvement in QDN.

Philia was delighted to have recently been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her service to people with disability and to the community.

As a senior Federal Government public servant, Philia was responsible for a number of social justice initiatives, including monitoring, evaluating and reporting on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy and programs. As Director of the Government’s first Access and Equity (A&E) Program in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Philia was responsible for making A&E considerations a central concern for effective policy and decision-making, as an integral part of overall corporate planning and operations.

Philia also has close community links, particularly in the ethnic and multicultural fields, and was a recipient of a Women’s Award for the ACT for her work in women’s health, disability issues and multicultural/ethnic issues.

Philia was a great friend to QDN.  Her quiet and unassuming ways, her whit and sparkle shall be deeply missed.  We thank Philia for sharing her wisdom and being a steward of QDN’s values and principles.  Our thoughts are with Philia’s family and close friends at this time.

Vale Tania Hornberg

Group of 20 people standing closely together looking at the camera.It is with sadness that we say goodbye to QDN member Tania Hornberg.  Tania had a deep knowledge and understanding of disability and she shared this with many people she connected with.

Tania was a QDN member, founding member of QDN’s Charters Towers peer support group and played a key role connecting people with disability together within the local community.  Our thoughts are with Tania’s family and friends at this time.

Sharon Boyce – NDIS Independent Advisory Council

Photo of Sharon in blue shirt smiling at camera.We are very proud to announce the appointment of QDN Board Director Sharon Boyce to the NDIS Independent Advisory Council (IAC), which was formed in 2013 to represent the voice of participants in the NDIS. We are sure Sharon will help ensure that those with limited or no voice are heard and valued and the collective experiences, values and wisdom of all people with disability is represented.  Click here to read more.

The Latest COVID-19 News

COVID Disability Information Helpline

We are updating the COVID-19 information on our website regularly.  Click here to get our latest news and resources.

The Disability Information Helpline provides information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of COVID-19 on 1800 643 787. The Helpline can help assist families, carers and support workers.

Make your own emergency plan for COVID-19

While restrictions are beginning to ease, it is still a time of unknown and uncertainty and COVID-19 is still present in our Australian community. For Queenslanders with disability it is a very important time to review your situation and make sure you have a plan in place for what you would need if we go into a situation again where COVID-19 is in Queensland. It is critical that people with disability understand your needs and supports if you have to stay home for an extended period of time, or themselves or someone who supports, them becomes unwell. It is also critical that your supports including your family, friends and disability supports know your plan and can support you. The Person Centred Emergency Preparedness Tool for COVID-19 that was launched in April this year is a excellent resource that can help you to make your plan.

The easy read version can be found here on the QDN website here. A range of other resources can be found on the QDN website to help people with disability to ‘make a plan’ for COVID-19.

Are you a person with disability over 65 who would like to join a new peer-led group?

QDN is starting a monthly zoom group meeting for people with disability who are over 65 to talk about topics that are of interest to them and to share resources among the group members.

The first online meeting is on Wednesday 5 August 2020 at 1pm.  If you are over 65 years old and would like to join this new peer support group for people with disability please contact QDN at lsg@qdn.org.au or phone 1300 363 783 for meeting log in details.

QDN, over 65's local support group. A group for people over 65 with disability to form connections, share stories and empower each other. Photo of lady in wheelchair holding a cup of tea

Everyday Practice

It is important for people with disability who are NDIS participants to understand their rights to receive quality and safe NDIS supports. It is also important for NDIS participants to understand what the NDIS Quality and Safeguards means day to day in the support you receive. For people with disability who are self-managing, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. Everyday Practice is a user-friendly national resource for NDIS providers and NDIS participants.  You can find out more about Everyday Practice here. On the website you can find a range of videos, fact sheets, guides and interactive online activities containing examples and case studies of NDIS best practice. Look out for QDN members you might know in the videos!  on each link, or go to the Everyday Practice website by clicking here.

Have your sayHave your say

QDN’s policy work is informed by our members lived experience, ideas, insights and feedback.

Your Voice Matters we’re here to provide a platform for you to have your say on matters that affect your life and the lives of people with disability across Queensland.

QDN regularly seeks feedback from members and people with disability on current issues and consultations focused on issues affecting people with disability.

You can find recent submissions on QDN’s website here. We are currently drafting submissions on the following inquiries and would love to hear from you to inform our work. Simply email qdn@qdn.org.au stating which inquiry you would like to contribute to or call 1300 363 783 and ask to speak to the policy team.

Disability Royal Commission Issues Paper on Employment (due 14 August)

We want to understand why people with disability are less likely to be employed and have lower incomes than people without disability. We are also looking for members’ experiences of discrimination at work and how well specific programs designed to increase the employment of people with disability are working. The issues paper asks 9 questions to help people and organisations to provide responses. The paper is available here in Easy Read, PDF and DOCX.

Inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme market in Queensland: issues paper (due 11 August)

The Queensland Productivity Commission is holding an inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) market in Queensland. To inform QDN’s submission to the inquiry, we want to find out about your experiences with the NDIS. We want to hear from people in the NDIS, as well as people with a disability who are not part of the NDIS but are interested in it. Our submission will look at: how well the NDIS market in Queensland is meeting the needs of people in the scheme; if and how the NDIS has helped improve outcomes for people with a disability and their families and carers; if some people face barriers when trying to join or use the NDIS, and; what changes could be made to improve the NDIS market in Queensland. The issues paper is available here in Easy Read, PDF and DOCX.

Disability Royal Commission Issues Paper on Restrictive Practices (28 August)

This issues paper looks at the use and impact of restrictive practices on people with disability. To inform QDN’s submission, we want to know about the effects of restrictive practice on people with disability. We are also interested in understanding how laws, policies and practices around restrictive practices can be improved to better prevent and protect people with disability from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The issues paper asks 13 questions to help people and organisations to provide responses. The paper is available here in Easy Read, PDF and DOCX.

National Construction Code Accessibility (due 28 August)

The Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for a minimum accessibility standard for housing in the National Construction Code is open for consultation at the moment. The Consultation RIS and explanatory document and information about the timelines and process are on the Australian Building Codes Board website.

QDN will be making a submission by the closing date of 31 August 2020. If you would like to contribute your personal experience or story about how accessible housing has impacted you, you can either make a submission yourself, or send it through to qdn@qdn.org.au to include. Let us know if you are happy to include your story with your name removed for privacy.

There is also an online consultation form you can fill out to send feedback through directly to the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB).

Proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code (due 31 August)

The Australian Building Codes Board has released a proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code. National regulations for housing accessibility is something QDN has advocated on for a long time, so we will be making a submission on the draft regulations. We would love to hear from you on your experiences finding accessible housing, what you think accessibility standards should include and how they should be implemented. You can read the proposal here.

Disability Royal Commission

You can still share your experiences of violence, neglect, abuse or exploitation with the Disability Royal Commission. This is so important to learn more about the lived experience of people with disability and how we can help prevent abuse in the future. If you want to make a submission there is information at this link here.

The DRC have been doing work to develop communication materials that are accessible to a wide range of people, in different format and different languages.  You can find the link to these resources here.

Survey on the changes to NDIS during COVID-19

There were a lot of changes made to the NDIS during the COVID-19 crisis. Now the NDIA want to hear from participants about their experience with the NDIS during the pandemic. The NDIA have funded the University of Melbourne to survey participants about their experiences during the pandemic.

The survey is voluntary and anonymous. All the answers will be pulled together and then shared with the NDIA. The NDIA will then use the information to decide what changes to keep and what changes will be reversed. You can read more about the survey here. You can fill in the survey here.

Policy Updates


New NDIS Price Guide

Following the Annual Price Review, the NDIS has recently released its NDIS Price Guide 2020-21 which will be effective from 1 July 2020. Notable new initiatives include:

  • Psychosocial recovery coaches to offer additional support
  • New line items for Individualised Living Options (ILO)
  • Set price limits for SIL supports to replace the current quoting and negotiation process
  • Supports in Employment to increase employment opportunities for participants

Every Australian Counts has put together this summary and you can read more here – NDIS prices – the good, the bad and the ugly. You can also check Understanding the Price Guide on the NDIS website for information on how the new guide may affect you, your family and your carers.

It’s important to be aware of pricing changes so you can be sure you are getting value from your plan over the next year and can track your budget, and to have the opportunity to talk to your service providers about price changes.

Expansion of Community Connector program
The Commonwealth Government has announced an expansion of the Community Connector program. Community Connectors will reach out to people with disability and their families and give them a hand with all things NDIS – including applying for the NDIS and working through planning. Four groups will be targeted for help:

  • people with a psychosocial disability
  • people from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
  • people from a Culturally or Linguistically Diverse background
  • elderly parents or carers of adults with disability

The Community Connector program has funded several national organisations to deliver this work. You can read more on the NDIS website here.

Cost of living

Changes to JobSeeker and JobKeeper
The Federal Government has announced that the Coronavirus Supplement will be reduced to $250 per fortnight from 25 September and will be kept in place until December 2020. We know that 25-30% of people receiving JobSeeker (formerly Newstart) are people with disability. Many QDN members are telling us they need every cent they are currently receiving in order to cover the basics – housing, groceries, bills and transport. QDN will continue to join with our community sector allies to call on the Federal Government to raise the rate of JobSeeker permanently.

In addition to changes to JobSeeker, the Federal Government have also announced that the JobKeeper payment will fall from $1,500 a fortnight to $1,200 a fortnight in September and fall again in March 2021. You can find more information on income support payments, including eligibility and reporting requirements here.

Additional energy rebate
The State Government has announced an addition $50 rebate for Queenslanders to assist with energy bills. The additional rebate means Queensland households will now automatically receive a $200 rebate to help offset household electricity and water costs. You can find out more about the rebate here.


New disability parking rules
The Palaszczuk Government passed reforms to make those with vision loss eligible for disability parking permits for the first time.  This reform also sees the doubling of fines for drivers who illegally use disability parking spaces.  These changes come into effect from 31 August 2020.

This important change will ensure people with diverse disability that need disability parking for access and safety can get what they need. It also means that people without disability parking permits, who choose to illegally park in these designated places will be fined.

QDN member Elisha Matthews, founder of disability advocacy group No Permit, No Park has strongly led the campaign to try and get a range of measures in place to deter people from illegally parking in disability parking spaces. This expanded criterion will now make Queensland consistent with Federal Government Social Security Guide.

The Queensland Government website will have up to date information to let people know when they can apply for a parking permit under the new rules and information can be found here.  More information about the eligibility criteria and new applications for people who have been diagnosed as legally blind will be available here soon.

Taxi subsidy scheme extended until October 2021
QDN commends the Palaszczuk Government’s announcement to ensure National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants continue to have access to taxi subsidies.

Queensland’s Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS), which provides a co-contribution payment of up to $25 per trip for NDIS participants with disability who are unable to use other forms passenger transport, will be extended until the end of October 2021.

The Palaszczuk Government has also agreed to extend TSS memberships due to expire on June 30 by another six months and would continue the lift incentive payment for drivers of wheelchair accessible taxis to give priority to TSS members who are required to travel in a wheelchair.   This means close to 4,000 members won’t have to visit their doctors and organise a certificate to prove membership is still required, which is particularly beneficial during this COVID-19 time. A copy of the media release by the Minister for Transport can be found here.


Specialist Disability Accommodation changes
On 18 June 2020, Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, announced increased flexibility and choice in living arrangements for NDIS participants who have Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) in their plans.

SDA rules have been changed so that couples can share a bedroom if they wish, and children will be able to share a room with their parent or siblings.

QDN has long advocated for people with disability to have independence and choice about where and with whom they live and welcomes improvements to the delivery of SDA.

Housing is fundamental to people’s quality of life and has been the subject of a number of policy submissions and focused advocacy by QDN.

This recognition brings increased opportunity under the scheme for people with disability to live independently with their families and for social inclusion in their local community.

This change comes in addition to the new SDA Design Standard and SDA Innovation Plan – these are all elements of broader SDA Framework Reforms by the NDIA to encourage innovation in the development of specialist housing solutions.

QDN will update when further detail is released by the NDIA from 30 June – see Minister Robert’s announcement here and more information on the NDIS website here.

Local Support Group Update

Under 35s local support group for people with disability

QDN has started a new peer support group for people with disability who are under 35 years old.  The new QDN Y group will meet monthly online and is a space for younger people with disability to connect with each other, learn new skills, and to have a voice.

If you are under 35 years old and would like to join this new local support group for younger people with disability please contact QDN at lsg@qdn.org.au or phone 1300 363 783 for meeting log in details.

Brisbane and Gold Coast Hot Topics connect with self-advocates from Canada

20 People on a Zoom meeting looking at the camera.The Brisbane and Gold Coast Hot Topics groups had the opportunity to have an online zoom meeting with Respecting Rights and New Advocates groups for people with an intellectual disability in Canada. It took a little bit of organizing for the Hot Topics groups in Queensland to dial in at 9am on Friday, 3 July from Brisbane and the Gold Coast to connect with the Canadian groups on their Thursday night, 2 July at 7pm but we did it!

The groups were excited to meet and enjoyed sharing their stories especially around speaking up for themselves, growing group membership, the different disability schemes in each country and how their group meetings run.  Members really loved talking about the different foods in Australia and Canada, the weather, sports, and what holidays the two countries had in common. Such wonderful connections were made that some of the group members even planned on becoming Pen Pals and visiting each other in each other’s countries!

All agreed the meeting was a success and we are all excited to meet again in the future. They even floated the idea of doing a project together to celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities 2020.

Connecting people with disability during COVID-19 through access to mobile devices

QDN is working with GIVIT which is a not-for-profit organisation to provide mobile devices and data to people with disability who require some additional assistance during this time.

GIVIT has sourced some mobile phones with data through organisation and corporate donations.  These can be provided to people with disability who do not have access to a mobile device and who are experiencing extreme social isolation during COVID-19 as they do not have funded supports and are living alone or in supported accommodation.

QDN is helping GIVIT to match devices with people with disability who are extremely isolated and do not have access to a device to be able to connect with the community, talk to their family and friends, make doctors’ appointments or shop online for essential items.

Contact QDN at lsg@qdn.org.au to find out more about eligibility and available devices for mobile devices through GIVIT.

QDN would like to thank GIVIT for working with us around this important initiative helping extremely social isolated people with disability become connected during COVID-19.


QDeNgage consultants have continued to give their feedback to government, business and organsations on a range of topics, providing input into consumer reference groups, advisory groups and co-design sessions.

Several consultants have continued to meet as a COVID-19 Disability Advisory Group, sharing their diverse perspectives on the range of issues arising for people with disability during the pandemic. QDN has provided ongoing feedback to the Queensland Government through the Queensland Disability Advisory Committee (QDAC) and other key meetings that QDN is part of. This month we will hold the final meeting of this group, turning our attention to the potential solutions and recommendations for government to consider in response to both this ongoing public health emergency and inform ongoing planning for  future emergencies.

QDeNgage has also facilitated a number of co-design groups, where consultants have contributed to the development of specific resources for people with disability. This includes both the development of a COVID specific health advocacy toolkit for people with disability entering the hospital system, and an easy English version of the rental tenancies practice guide. This resource will assist people with disability as tenants to negotiate with landlords when experiencing hardship due to the impacts of COVID19. Both of these resources will be finalised and released shortly – watch this space!

QDeNgage are seeking new consultants – if you are a person with disability and you would like to contribute your feedback and ideas, QDeNgage might be for you! Visit our website here to find out more and apply to become a QDeNgage consultant, or give us a ring to talk to a friendly staff member on 1300 363 783.

QDN Projects

Targeted Outreach Project

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and our project partners QCOSS and ADA Australia (through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network Queensland) along with the Queensland Government, are helping more eligible Queenslanders with disability join the NDIS and experience the benefits of the scheme through the Targeted Outreach Project.

Through this work we want to give people with disability who are currently not accessing the NDIS the opportunity to learn more about the scheme, decide if it is for them and how it can support them, and let people know how to connect with QDN for free help to apply for the NDIS.

A key part of this work is having Local Champions who can share their NDIS journey with people with disability.  The Local Champions in the Targeted Outreach Project are leaders in their communities with strong local community connections and a lived experience of disability. They are on the ground providing local information, connecting people together in local communities and sharing peer to peer information by and for people with disability about the NDIS.

Get to know our Local Champions for Moreton, Maryborough and Sunshine Coast here.

For more information about the Targeted Outreach Project call us today on 1300 363 783 or complete the online form and we’ll get in touch or email targetedoutreach@qdn.org.au. You can also visit the QDN website for more information.

Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

The Disability Inclusive and Disaster Resilient Queensland project is a partnership between QDN, the University of Sydney, the Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) and Queensland Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors. This project is focused on making sure the needs and voices of people with disability are included in disaster planning, management, and response. QDN has been continuing our work in Phase Two of this project, supporting individual emergency preparedness planning for people with disability, using peer-to-peer approaches.

In February, twenty-five people with disability attended training around emergency preparedness. Since then these peer leaders have been working to develop and formalize their own individual emergency preparedness plans, with some also facilitating emergency preparedness conversations with their local support groups. Peer leaders have been contributing to the University’s research on the needs of people with disability in planning for a disaster, and how peer approaches support the planning process.

Part of this work is also in developing and strengthening the connections between people with disability and local emergency services personnel. In Townsville, the local support group hosted a conversation with their local Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), learning from them and also sharing their own experiences of disaster in the region. Sunnybank local support group is also planning on connecting with their local emergency services in their upcoming meeting.

QDN staff and peer leaders have been working with the University of Sydney to produce a person-centred emergency preparedness (P-CEP) planning workbook, scheduled for release in August 2020.  This resource will help people with disability to work through, develop and document their own individual emergency preparedness plans.

You can learn more about this project (including in easy English) here.

Changing Lives, Changing Communities

The two-year Changing Lives Changing Communities (CLCC) project, funded by a NDIA Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant came to an end in June 2020. CLCC was the result of a successful partnership between QDN, QCOSS and the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHCR), the QDN members who have been part of this project and the many individuals who have supported this work in communities across Queensland.

The Changing Lives, Changing Communities project was a series of two-day forums, held over two years in six locations across Queensland – focused on co-creating communities where everyone contributes, matters, and belongs. Unfortunately, due to the impacts of COVID-19, we were unable to hold the final two forums on the Gold Coast, and in Normanton.

In June, QDN hosted a ‘Deep Dive’ conversation with eleven of the CLCC local champions with disability across Queensland. During the conversation we reflected on the impacts of the project at an individual level and more broadly in communities, and the ways in which people with disability had stepped up and into leadership. Tony from Normanton captured beautifully the work and the approach when he shared – ‘to bring out leadership within yourself is to make other people blossom, to have a voice’.

During the two years, over 700 participants from across the community attended the 10 forums, and generated 68 ideas for action. The impacts of this project are wide reaching, and will continue to contribute to the momentum for real change and inclusion in communities across Queensland. We will be posting the final reports of the project to the QDN website so watch this space.

Member Profile

John McPherson

Photo of man with mustache in blue and white shirt, smiling at the camera. .Dr John MacPherson has been involved with QDN since the initial meeting in 1998 calling people to action about setting up a group so that people with disability could have a voice in Queensland.  John was on QDN’s Interim Steering Committee and has held various positions on the Board since QDN was incorporated in 2002.  John is now a long-serving QDN Board Director, and has recently been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his significant service to people with disability and to access and inclusion.

John has extensive knowledge and passion around creating accessible communities.  John has contributed his wisdom on behalf of QDN for over 20 years. He has authored and advised on numerous standards and technical specifications relating to accessibility. Prior to being seconded to Department of Transport and Mains Roads last year, John held the role of Disability Officer for Brisbane City Council for 29 years where he used his specialised knowledge to ensure that services and infrastructure provided by Brisbane City Council met the needs of people with disabilities. He also had oversight of the implementation of the Council’s Access and Inclusion Plan.

In John’s own words, “QDN has always pushed to involve ourselves as deeply as possible in any process that effects people with disability.  We are a pushy bunch.  We continue to push”.

John has a deep respect for people who face profound challenges in an extraordinary manner.  John describes himself as married man who lives in Brisbane, who is too ordinary for words.  This quote speaks to his humble attitude however John has made an extraordinary contribution as a leader to the development of standards to make environments accessible for all people with disability.

John is instrumental in helping people with disability speak with a collective voice.  John’s drive to empower people with disability to be fully included as citizens in the social and economic life of the community is exceptional and unrelenting.


Connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people with Disability

Our friends at Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) auspice Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia to operate and support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network Queensland (ATSIDNQ). The Network offers a culturally safe space for members to connect, share and raise awareness of the issues they are facing and celebrate their strengths. The Network provides vital community connections and enables a collective voice for members on a wide range of important issues including the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If you or someone you know would like to be part of this growing network visit https://atsidnq.com.au/

4 people around a table with a blue table cloth.

From Our friends

Health and Wellbeing

This great website has information and resources to Boost your Activity, Boost your Healthy Eating and Boost your Well-being.

An opportunity to share your experiences of managing NDIS funded supports in South East Queensland

Researchers at Griffith University in Brisbane and University of New South Wales in Sydney are looking at how NDIS funded supports are managed and coordinated. The project is called Making Complex Interfaces work for the NDIS.

If you’re an individual in South East Queensland with an NDIS funded support package Griffith want to hear your experiences of setting up and receiving supports between and across various providers, services and systems. Your NDIS plan can be self-managed or managed by a provider or family member. Griffith would like to hear from you if you’re aged 18 years or over and have a neurological disorder including (but not limited to) Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Motor Neuron Disease (MND), brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, autism and Down Syndrome.

The research team is interested to learn about your personal experience of what’s working well and has been challenging through interviews with you (via phone or online).

This project has ethics approval by Griffith University (2019/406). All information provided by you to help inform this project will be confidential.

To find out more please contact: Eloise Hummell on 0404 458 894 or email: e.hummell@griffith.edu.au

Supporting inclusion of people with acquired disability as research participants

What is this research about?   Griffith want to help people with a disability make empowered decisions about being involved in research. A 10 – 20 minute online survey will ask you about your experience of participating in research. Griffith are offering participants the chance to enter a prize draw to win one of five $50 vouchers for taking part.

Griffith would like to know:

  • your experience of being asked to participate in research
  • what was good – and not so good – about how researchers approached you or involved you in research
  • what could be done better

With your responses Griffith will write an Information Guide so that people with a disability will know what to expect, and what questions they can (and should) ask of researchers. This guide will help people with acquired disability to make informed decisions when asked to participate in future research.

Please click on the link below for further information and to take part in the survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9XPHBTT

Anyone with an acquired disability can participate. If you are unsure please contact: m.norwood@griffith.edu.au or phone 0468 845 566

Community Services Job Match

CSIA has launched the Community Services Job Match, an online platform connecting employers with job seekers. It’s safe, secure, FREE and easy to join.

Employers: are you looking for workers? Job Match has potential candidates for a range of roles across the Community Services Industry.

Simply complete the online application form and, once approved, you can begin searching for your next employee.  With a click of your mouse you will see a candidate’s profile and their contact details. Why wait for endless applications that don’t meet your requirements, use Job Match to take you to the right people for the job.

New candidates are joining every day. You can revisit and search the database as many times as you need.

Job seekers: are you, or someone you know, looking for a job or more work hours?

All you need to do is register and complete your profile with your relevant experience, qualifications, location and compliance checks, so employers can connect with you. When you match an employer’s criteria, they will view your profile, including your contact details. They can then reach out to you to discuss the opportunity further.  Instead of doing many applications you can do one profile and be found by multiple employers!

Community Services Job Match is built with OnePassport and has high-level encryption to ensure user privacy.  Any questions? Email jobmatch@csialtd.com.au


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