QDN E-Bulletin Update November 2020

Update from the Chairperson

I am pleased to be able to take this opportunity to put pen to paper in this November edition of the e-Bulletin as newly elected Chairperson of QDN’s Board of Directors. It is an honour to take on this role and one I know that holds great responsibility. QDN has a strong reputation and long history of being a member driven organisation. QDN’s work ensures the voice of people with disability is at the table to inform policy, decision makers and the broader system. I would like to acknowledge the leadership, work, and commitment of QDN’s outgoing Chairperson Nigel Webb. I look forward to continuing this great work and build upon the foundations of good governance and stewardship.

As members would be aware, QDN held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 17 October at Parliament House in Brisbane. Because of COVID-19 and the potential disruption to holding the AGM if there was an outbreak, we held voting prior to the AGM. We saw a 118% increase in the number of members casting a vote this year. We also had almost 80 people attend the AGM on the day within COVID safe restrictions which is the most people we have had attend an AGM. This is a positive reflection of an active and engaged membership, and the work of our staff, company secretary and board members to achieve this great result.

We have also had a State Election on 31 October, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank members and supporters for their engagement in QDN’s election platform My Disability Matters. It was great to see members out and about talking with candidates about why disability matters and the important things for Queenslanders with disability at this election. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the Make Disability Count campaign, joining with eight of our allies around a broader disability sector election platform with seven key asks to improve outcomes. QDN looks forward to working with the Palaszczuk Government and members of the next Queensland Parliament, and congratulate all the elected representatives.

The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 was a historical moment in Australia’s history where, for the first time, all governments committed to a unified, national approach to improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers, and to providing leadership for a community-wide shift in attitude. The Commonwealth Government is currently reviewing the Strategy for 2020-2030 and I encourage members to engage in the consultations and have your say. It is important for this to guide the next period and drive real change and real action, publicly reported outcomes, informed by people with disability.

As this will be the last edition for 2020, I would also like to extend my wishes to all members, supporters, and our allies for the holiday season. I know that 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. It has also been a year where QDN has shown its resilience, adaptability, and voice to influence and lead in the response to COVID. Thank you to all QDN’s Board, group convenors, staff, members, supporters, and partners for your efforts and work this year. Enjoy some time to relax and rejuvenate and we look forward to our continued work together in 2021.

Des Ryan

Chairperson, QDN Board of Directors

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From the CEO

It is hard to believe that this is the last E-bulletin for 2020 and we are coming to the end of a very challenging year by all accounts. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the new Board of Directors elected at the AGM, our new Chairperson Des Ryan and Deputy Chairperson Sharon Boyce. I look forward to working closely with them. I would also like to acknowledge QDN’s outgoing Chairperson Nigel Webb. I have had the privilege of working with Nigel during my seven years here as CEO and appreciate his guidance, support, and strategic wisdom he has shared with the Board, our staff, and our members.

I am proud to let members know that the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness PCEP Planning for COVID-19 Resource that QDN developed in partnership with the University of Sydney has been named as a finalist for the 2020 Resilient Australia National Suncorp Community Award. The awards are organised by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) and will be held on 4 December. The judging panel has scored your project highly and regardless of the outcome, it is a great achievement to develop this resource during a pandemic and have it become a national tool. Congratulations to Michelle Moss, Louise Abson, Michelle Villeneuve, and Ricky Buchanan as the authors. I wish to acknowledge the life work of Associate Professor Michelle Villeneuve in her development of person-centred emergency preparedness and the capability wheel that were the foundations of this work. I also acknowledge the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors in funding this work.

It is critical that people with disability are included in disaster preparedness. This is even more important at this time of year, as we move into Queensland disaster season. I encourage all members to look at the Person-Centred Emergency Planning workbook on QDN’s website. The workbook helps people with disability to create a plan for natural disasters like storms, cyclones, floods, and fires. It is important that everyone has a plan for what they would do in an emergency and shares the plan with their support networks.

Over the coming months QDN is updating our Database. We will be contacting everyone to confirm their membership status or engagement with QDN. To do this we will contact all ordinary members, supporters, subscribers, and members of local support groups. QDN will contact you through email; if you only have postal address, we will call you. We ask anyone who’s membership and contact details are not correct to get in touch with us so we can ensure it is correct in the system. If everything is correct, there is no need to email back.

QDN’s My Disability Matters election platform has made some impact at this 2020 election and we were pleased to get so much engagement from members, candidates, and parties. The Make Disability Count coalition and online forum helped put disability on the agenda and it was great to work together with our allies to make this happen. There is now lots of work to do to progress these key policy areas and election commitments. We look forward to working with the Palaszczuk Government, the Ministers, Opposition, and elected members of parliament over the next four years.

I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season. I would also like to thank everyone for their hard work and engagement over 2020. It certainly will not be a year that we forget too quickly. We know there is still a lot to do to ensure the voice of people with disability is heard loud and clear, and that people’s rights are at the forefront of decision making and policy setting.

Paige Armstrong – Chief Executive Officer

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Acknowledgement to special QDN Members

We are proud to acknowledge the following QDN members for their achievements in the past months.

The work that they do is something for all of us to aspire to. Their achievements highlight the depth of expertise within the sector and the amazing work that is being done to empower all people with disability across Queensland and Australia.

Congratulations on your wonderful achievements.


QLD Australian of Year
Doctor Dinesh Palipana OAM

Australian Aspire Award – Individual Best Achievement in
Community Development and Advocacy

Brendon Donohoe

Art Award, Art on the Margins
Alison McLean

Outdoors Queensland Awards
The Queensland Government Encouraging Participation Award
Matthew Townsend

Vision Australia Award for Commitment to Advocacy
Jane Britt

University of Southern Queensland, Honorary Doctorate
Sharon Boyce

QDN Membership update

In the coming month QDN will be contacting all ordinary members, supporters, subscribers, and members of local support groups to confirm your details and membership status with the organisation. QDN will be sending an email to everyone that we have email contacts for to confirm your details and ask you to contact QDN if they are not correct. We are also connecting with people at Local Peer Support Group meetings over the coming month.

  • If everything is correct, you don’t need to do anything further.
  • If we don’t hear from you, we will take the steps to confirm that your details are correct on the database.

Please contact QDN if the information sent is not right and we will work with you to update your information.

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My Disability Matters State Election Review

Thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of QDN members, disability really did matter at last month’s State Election.  This was the biggest State Election campaign that QDN has ever run and its success belongs to our members!

The five largest political parties in Queensland provided a formal response to QDN’s policy platform – My Disability Matters. We were able to secure significant commitments before Election Day, including from the re-elected Palaszczuk Labor Government.

We received a continued commitment to fund QDN as the peak disability organisation in Queensland and $500,000 for a new project to be developed by QDN in partnership with Volunteering Queensland and GIVEIT, giving Queenslanders with disability greater access to devices, data and the digital skills they need to stay connected online.

These are just a couple of the commitments made by the incoming government. View all the party responses on our website.

My Disability Matters: by the numbers

  • 8,928 people reached by My Disability Matters posts on Facebook.
  • 600 people viewed the My Disability Matters platform on the QDN website.
  • 11 Peer Support Group meetings were held on My Disability Matters campaign.
  • 296 people attended events hosted by QDN and our allies during the election.
  • 45 individual candidate responses to the My Disability Matters policy platform

We will now work with the new state government ministers to ensure they deliver on their commitments. We will also take time to reflect and look at how we can improve our advocacy work during elections. If you have feedback on the My Disability Matters campaign, email qdn@qdn.org.au .

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QDN Annual Member Survey

Make your voice heard.

Have a say in shaping the work and policy priorities for QDN in 2021.

– Prizes available!

QDN’s annual member survey is now open!

The survey is our way of collecting feedback from members. We use this feedback to inform the key issues that QDN raises and plan the work that we do. It will also help us to prioritise the policy issues we will focus on in 2021.

Your feedback is important to us. It represents the voice of people with disability and will inform the ways we communicate with you. We respect your privacy, and your answers will remain anonymous.  However, you can choose to provide us with your contact details to gather follow up information from the feedback you provided.

As a way of thanking you for providing your feedback to us, there are 5 x $50 gift cards and 4 x $25 gift cards available as part of a random draw for members who complete the survey. You will need to provide your contact details to us to be included in the prize draw.

The survey will close on Monday, 21 December 2020.

We believe it is important that our members have their say and appreciate you taking the time to complete the survey. You can complete the survey here.

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Seeking interested people with disability who want to get prepared and make a plan for disasters – Ipswich, Mackay, and Rockhampton

QDN peer leaders are seeking people with disability interested in being supported in developing their own individual emergency preparedness plan. Everybody needs to be prepared for disasters. This is a great opportunity to get a plan in place, and to contribute to world leading research by sharing your experience.

To be involved you must be a person with disability living in either Rockhampton, Ipswich or Mackay and able commit to spending time developing your emergency preparedness plan early 2021.

Get in touch with us at QDN office, or email engage@qdn.org.au to express your interest or find out more.

Resources for people with disability

Get ready for disaster season – Person-Centred emergency Preparedness (P-CEP)

Diagram showing conversation guide to planning individual support needs for people with disability in an emergency.

Taking steps to make sure that you are safe before, during or after a natural hazard or other emergency is essential. This is particularly important as we move into the summer months in Queensland.

Being prepared helps people to respond better and recover faster. People with disability need tailored emergency preparedness plans that take into consideration how they will manage their unique support needs in an emergency.

Led by the Centre for Disability Research and Policy at the University of Sydney, QDN worked with people with disability and partnership with Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) and Queensland Government to develop the Person Centred Emergency Preparedness Workbook (P-CEP). The P-CEP workbook is part of a suite of tools developed to enable people with disability to make emergency preparedness plans.

Having an emergency preparedness plan means that you can act together with your support network before, during, and after a disaster or emergency.

Using the Workbook, you can create a realistic plan that considers:

  • Your strengths, support needs and situation
  • Steps you have taken to prepare
  • Gaps in your preparedness that may increase your risk in emergencies
  • Ways to address these gaps.

The Workbook includes prompts and tips to get you started on a plan. It also includes space to write down your learnings, reflections, and action plans.

It provides information about emergency services and disaster warnings so that you can:

  • Learn about local hazard risks
  • Be aware of disaster warnings
  • Know where to go for information
  • Make good decision before, during and after a disaster.

You can find the above P-CEP Workbook Overview and helpful conversation guide on the QDN website by clicking here. You can also access our P-CEP COVID-19 planning tool in Read Easy, PDF and Word versions on our website.



Image of cover of guide. Photos of people at the top. Pink and grey theme.People with disability need to access hospital care during the COVID-19 pandemic if they get sick and if the need essential health care.

Your rights in healthcare are protected and guided by human rights instruments, agreements and law, charters, frameworks, and guidelines. There are a range of different documents that guide and govern the delivery of your healthcare. It is important to know how your healthcare rights are protected in Australia, so that you have good information to support you if you need to assert those rights.

In collaboration with Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) and in co-design with people living with disability, their families, and carers with lived experience of Queensland’s health system, we have developed the “Know Your Rights” Resources.  These resources can be used to help people with disability to make a plan, know their rights, and get the support they need when accessing the hospital system during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

You can Find more information about these documents in the Know your Rights guide.

These help to ensure that:

  • people with disability receive equitable access to healthcare as other persons
  • that healthcare workers promote the dignity and autonomy of people with disability, including their freedom to make their own choices, and
  • that healthcare services are free from bias and /or discrimination.

As part of this suite of resources you will find a practical postcard size checklist to assist people with disability in thinking about and preparing to go to hospital during COVID-19 on our website.

COVID Conversations Series

Although the pandemic situation in Queensland has significantly improved, COVID-19 has changed our way of living. It is important to know that you have the information you need to access essential services so that you feel supported, are safe and connected to the supports and services that you require.

On the QDN website you can find summaries of expert discussions that were facilitated by QDN about what Queenslanders living with disability need to know during the pandemic. The COVID Conversations series cover topics about supporting people with disability, their families, and carers during COVID-19.

Experts that were part of the discussions included individuals from the Queensland Department of Health, the Queensland Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, the Australian Human Rights Commission, NDIA, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, and the Every Australian Counts community.

Conversations cover the below topics. You can access the summary of each conversation available to download below.

Click here to download the conversation summary. The Word document will be seen at either the top or bottom of your browser page. Click on the document to open.

More information about the COVID Conversations series can be found by visiting the QDN website.

COVID-19 resources for people with disability

There are fantastic new Queensland COVID-19 resources available for people with disability, family, and disability service providers.

On the Queensland Government website you will find new videos and fact sheets for people with disability and families:

  • Getting tested for COVID-19 (Video)
  • How to self-isolate during COVID-19 (Video)
  • Going to hospital during COVID-19 (Video)
  • Looking after your mental health (Easy Read Fact Sheet)

You will also find new resources for disability services:

  • Disability Accommodation and Residential Services Business Continuity Checklist: COVID-19 Outbreak Management and Preparation
  • Responding to a Suspected Case of COVID-19 in Disability Accommodation and Residential Services
  • COVID-19 Testing Framework Implementation Plan for People with Disability
  • Disability Surge Sector Workforce Framework – COVID-19 Outbreak Planning and Preparation

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Multicoloured logo for International Day of People with Disability.

International Day of People with Disability

This year previous IDPwD Patrons, Kurt Fearnley AO, Karni Liddell, Curtis McGrath, Annabelle Williams and Carly Findlay will be working with the Australian Government Department of Social Services to promote and acknowledge the achievements and contributions of people with disability.

IDPwD will be promoted through online stories and videos shared on the IDPwD website and social media channels using the #DisableStereotypes.

A video has been launched called ‘see the ability in disability’ that seeks to challenge perceptions of disability, tackling the common stereotypes of what it is like for the 4.4 million Australians currently living with disability. The video highlights the abilities and achievements of people with disability, both high profile people and everyday Australians with disability, enjoying everything life has to offer.

In addition to the video, a new IDPwD lapel pin design for this year. The design forms a small component of a bright and beautiful painting by South Australian artist and poet, Oliver Mills. With help from his art mentor, Oliver uses specially designed equipment and modified methods to create brushstrokes for his pieces. While Oliver lives with cerebral palsy, his work is a unique written and visual expression of how he sees the world. Read more about Oliver here.

How will QDN Celebrate IDPwD?

On Thursday 3 December 2020, QDN’s Hot Topic Groups for people with an intellectual disability are partnering with ASID and working with self-advocates groups from Canada, Australia and New Zealand to hold an online event in celebration of International Day of People with Disability.

Join us online to hear how self-advocates are building back better, talking about issues for people with intellectual disability and sharing ideas for improving things moving forward now, and after COVID-19.

Online meeting details: Date – Thursday 3 December 2020   Time –  (Queensland) 9am to 11am

Register to attend the online event. For more information or help with registering please contact QDN at peersupport@qdn.org.au  or phone 1300 363 783.

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Consultations and Submissions

QDN NDIS “Independent Assessments” Update

Recently, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) released new information on the federal government’s plan to introduce “Independent Assessments” as part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) access and planning process.

A public consultation process is now open.  You can read the consultation report here.

QDN will be developing a submission in response to these reports. We want to hear from you.

Tell us what you would like us to raise and give us examples of how these changes will impact your life and supports. You can provide your feedback by:

  1. Completing the QDN survey on “Independent Assessments” here: https://bit.ly/33zXGrl
  2. Emailing qdn@qdn.org.au
  3. Calling 1300 363 783 and ask to speak to the policy team.

This is your NDIS. Your views should shape its future. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women (DCSYW)

Developing domestic and family violence awareness and information resources for women with disability.

The Queensland government recently released Queensland’s plan to respond to domestic and family violence against people with a disability. In response, the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women has engaged Nous Group (Nous) to develop domestic and family violence (DFV) information and awareness resources for women with disabilities in Queensland. The resources will be codesigned in collaboration with women with disabilities who may or may not have experienced DFV and the service providers and advocacy groups that support them.

As part of the project, Nous have conducted a series of interviews and focus groups with:

  • women with a range of disabilities who may or may not have experienced DFV and are representative of different locations, age groups and cultural backgrounds
  • several service providers and advocacy organisations from both the DFV and disability sectors

An online survey will also be used to understand the audience/s, and their preferred content, format, and distribution channels. The survey will take a trauma-informed approach and will not ask respondents about experiences of DFV. The survey will take 5-10 minutes to complete and will be accessible. There are two separate surveys:

  1. For women with disability (WWD): https://tinyurl.com/y2zutfpy
  2. For people working in disability or DFV related services and advocacy groups (ORGS): https://tinyurl.com/y2ndphcs

The survey will be open until 11.59pm AEST on Sunday 6 December 2020.

National Premises Standards

QDN recently circulated information about the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources review of the Disability (Access to Premises – Building) Standards 2010. The Premises Standards’ purpose is to ensure:

  • people living with a disability and their family members, carers and friends have equal access to buildings
  • building certifiers, developers and managers fulfil their responsibilities to people with disabilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992

The Standards:

  • apply to new buildings
  • apply to new work like renovations on existing buildings
  • don’t cover people’s homes

The Standards are reviewed every five years, and the Review Team requested feedback from anyone affected by the Premises Standards so they can understand whether they are working as intended and whether they could make improvements.

This is the beginning of the consultation process. There will be a discussion paper released in the future asking for more detailed feedback. QDN will keep members updated as this progresses and the outcomes.

Local Research: The Dignity Project

Survey about your experiences with dignified treatment and undignified treatment.

The Dignity Project is presented by The Hopkins Centre and the Queensland Government, Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist.

What is this research about? 

This research is about understanding what dignity means to people with disability and how it is experienced. It is also about understanding how undignified experiences occur and where and when they occur.

Who can participate? People who have a disability, are 18 years old or older, and live in Australia can participate in this survey. What do I need to do? Complete a voluntary 30-45-minute survey about your experiences with dignified treatment and undignified treatment.

Take the survey by clicking here. For more information about the project visit the website.

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Disability Royal Commission

Updated Schedule

Subject to any significant changes in circumstances, the Disability Royal Commission will hold the following hearing before the end of the year on 7 December 2020 at 9.30 AEST and you can get more information on Hearing No. 9 Pathways and barriers open employment people with disability

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Policy Updates

Disability Royal Commission (DRC)

Report – Public hearing 5 – Experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability Covid-19 report was tabled in the Australian Parliament on Monday November 30.

Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC said the report by the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) made 22 wide-ranging recommendations after hearing evidence from people with disability, advocates, experts, and government representatives during the Royal Commission’s fifth public hearing held in August.

People with disability told the Royal Commission of their fear, anxiety, and stress during the pandemic. They shared that they had felt forgotten by governments and that responses to the pandemic had ignored the severe challenges they face.

It recommended that the Australian Government commit to ensuring that all agencies responsible for planning and implementing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and future emergencies, establish and implement mechanisms for consulting with, and involving people with disability and disability representative organisations, in their planning and response.

It also said that it was not appropriate for the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) to rely on existing NDIS Practice Standards and policies to address the challenges and danger presented by the onset of a “frightening pandemic”.

It recommended the NDIS Commission review the NDIS Practice Standards and NDIS Quality Indicators to ensure they are appropriate for pandemics and emergencies and ensure “its policies and procedures reflect its powers and responsibilities”.

You can read more about the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability Covid-19 report on the Royal Commission website. You can also find an easy read version of the report on the Royal Commission website.


QDN NDIS “Independent Assessments” Update

Major news out of the new Independent Assessments information is the delaying of their introduction. The Independent Assessment process will now start in mid-2021 for people applying for access to the scheme and late-2021 for existing NDIS participants.

While this is welcome news, as it provides an opportunity for people with disability to be consulted, the federal government has clearly stated that the consultation will only look at how “Independent Assessments” should be introduced, not if they should be introduced.

In total, the NDIA and the Department of Social Services have released five papers on the changes to the NDIS. There are four consultation reports from the NDIA:

  1. Assessments and access
  2. Assessments and planning
  3. Proposed changes to how the NDIS supports children and young people
  4. Project report on the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) Reset project

The Department of Social Services has also released a consultation report on changes to the NDIS:

There is a lot of information in these documents. We will continue to analyse what it means for people with disability, services providers, and the overall direction of the NDIS.

Our allies at Every Australian Counts (EAC) developed a summary of the high-level changes outlined in these documents and what they will mean for participants. Read the summary of changes.

QDN shares EAC’s concerns about the reports’ proposed assessment process. The reports make clear that the new compulsory “Independent Assessment” will be the only thing that determines a participant’s NDIS plan and budget. Participants will not be able to provide their own medical reports and will only be asked to consider their goals after the independent assessor has determined their budget. This proposed process is at odds with the core principles of the NDIS – choice and control.  QDN is developing a submission in response to these reports.  The feedback that you provide will form our submission.

Information about how to provide this feedback is included above in the consultations and submissions section of the e-bulletin.

NDIS Price Guide increases

The NDIA have just announced some price increases on a wide range of supports, to take effect from Tuesday 1 December 2020, including:

  • Assistance with self- care activities
  • Assistance in SIL
  • Establishment fees for personal care / participation
  • Short Term Accommodation, including respite
  • Social, Community and Recreational Access
  • Group activities
  • Support in employment
  • Support connection
  • Psychosocial Recovery Coaching
  • Skills development, training in plan management and travel training
  • Training for carers / parents

Telehealth can be offered to you if you cannot be in the same location as your provider and it’s something that’s appropriate to be delivered that way.

Read the information from the NDIA about how the pricing changes might affect you, your family and your carers.

It is important to understand these changes and talk them through with your providers before making changes to bookings. Plans will be automatically adjusted to reflect the price adjustments
on 5 December and backdated.

Audit of Decision-making controls for NDIS participants

The NDIA implemented the full roll out of the NDIS on 1 July 2020.  An estimated 500,000 participants are expected in this full roll out with a budget of $16.1 billion from 2019 – 2020.

With the roll out, a recent audit report has been released that examines decisions around reasonable and necessary supports. The reason for the audit is to look at how decisions impact participant outcomes and scheme financial sustainability. The audit objective was to assess whether the NDIA has appropriate controls to ensure supports in participant plans are reasonable and necessary. The audit framework examined key areas of NDIA policies, processes, and oversight.

The audit found that the NDIA does not yet have appropriate controls to ensure supports in participant plans are reasonable and necessary. The NDIA does have decision-making frameworks, appropriate policies, and processes.  However, more needs to be done to effectively implement these to balance inconsistencies, monitor rising costs and ensure participants are getting what they need. The audit found that the NDIA does not have appropriate oversight mechanisms to ensure supports are reasonable and necessary, with limited systemic capacity to make whole-of -business improvements.

You can read the NDIA audit report on the Australian National Audit Office website.

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COVID vaccinations

The Australian Government has just released a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy as part of planning for when a vaccine becomes available. The key messages are:

  • A COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect the Australian community
  • The goal is early access to safe and effective vaccines and treatment for all Australians
  • As vaccines become available, they will be provided to high risk groups first, including people with disability
  • As many Australians as possible will be encouraged to vaccinate.

More information will be given as it becomes available. Queensland Health will be responsible for arranging the delivery of vaccinations, and QDN will keep you informed.

Queensland Digital Health Consumer Charter Launched

Health Consumers Queensland launched the Australian first Queensland Digital Health Consumer Charter on 30 November 2020. The Charter, which has been endorsed by Queensland Health, was developed by Health Consumers Queensland in partnership with nearly 300 health consumers and carers. You can find the Queensland Digital Health Consumer Charter here on HCQ website

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Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement

A submission with feedback was submitted at the end of August 2020 on the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement: Proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code. QDN’s submission is available here (search under Paige Armstrong). QDN supported the need for all new social housing to be designed to LHDG Gold Standard or above – good design for people with disability is good design for everyone.

University of Melbourne ‘Living with disability in inaccessible housing: social, health and economic impacts’ Final Report

QDN circulated an online survey to members in August 2020. The survey received 1,187 responses, followed by 45 in-depth interviews. The survey was conducted in response to the Australian Building Codes Board’s (ABCB) consultation on a proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code.

The University of Melbourne have now released a report on the findings of this study.

The report conclusions are that:

  • inaccessible housing severely harms the dignity, freedom, social inclusion, economic productivity, health and well-being of people with mobility restrictions
  • benefits identified in literature on home modifications apply to, and are even exceeded in new home built to accessible standard
  • Voluntary construction of accessible home without regulation, funding for post construction home modifications, and provision of accessible social housing have failed to deliver accessible housing for most people with mobility restrictions
  • Including accessibility standards in the National Building Code is necessary to achieve greater independence, dignity, freedom, social inclusion, economic productivity, and improved health and well-being for people with mobility restrictions.

Justice and Guardianship

Three new forms for enduring power of attorney and advanced health directive. Enduring power of attorney long and short forms are dark blue and light blue. Advanced health directive is green.New Queensland enduring power of attorney and advanced health directive forms and important changes to guardianship laws commencing 30 November 2020

Important changes to the law underpinning Queensland’s guardianship system and new approved forms will commence on 30 November 2020.

It’s important to understand how these changes may impact you.

Changes to the law relate to a broad range of issues including:

  • the general principles and health care principles under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 and the Powers of Attorney Act 1998
  • application of the presumption of capacity
  • capacity to make an enduring document
  • conflict transactions
  • broader remedies for breaches of duties by attorneys, guardians, and administrators
  • a statutory exception to ademption
  • appointing administrators for missing adults
  • eligibility requirements for attorneys
  • limit to number of joint attorneys
  • recognising interstate or New Zealand EPAs
  • increases to a range of other safeguards for adults with impaired capacity.

Any Queensland enduring power of attorney or advance health directive signed by the principal on or after 30 November 2020 should use the new forms.

Information about the changes to the law and the new forms, explanatory guides for enduring powers of attorney and advance health directives provide detailed information, advice, hints, tips and examples for completing the documents are available online at www.qld.gov.au/guardianship-reform

For more information see the Frequently Asked Questions – which version to use.

For further details on the reforms, including the new Queensland Capacity Assessment Guidelines 2020 refer to www.qld.gov.au/guardianship-reform

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Cost of living

Cashless Debit Cards

The proposal of a new Bill to take away the trial status of cashless debit cards for people on income support (including people with disability) in areas across Australia has been met with criticism from the community sector.

The new Bill would make cashless debit cards mandatory and would add Cape York to the list of regions where the scheme is being implemented, in addition to Hinkler in Queensland.

The way the card works is that Centrelink identifies people on income support, and places 20% of a welfare payment into the nominated bank accounts, and 80% onto a debit card. Centrelink can then monitor how money is being spent and restrict spending in certain areas. You can visit the cashless debit card website for more information.

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– A year in review

QDeNgage has had a very busy year and are proud of our many successes throughout 2020.

In May we celebrated our first full year of operation. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, QDeNgage successfully entered the virtual realm, with some consultants learning new skills and joining video conferences for the very first time.  Through a willingness to learn, and capacity of the initiative to be agile and responsive to the new environment, we were able to continue to deliver a range of activities and continue the important work of QDeNgage in this uncertain time.

In 2020, QDeNgage delivered over twenty activities. We engaged over 200 people with disability as consumer representatives, speakers, and co-designers. These activities have enabled people with disability to have a voice and influence a range of important areas that affect QDN members, including transport, housing, domestic and family violence, health, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Consultants have worked in collaboration with a range of government departments, organisations, and businesses to improve outcomes and inclusion for people with disability.

We would like to thank all the QDeNgage consultants for their feedback, insights, and skills over the past year. Without you, this would not be possible.

QDeNgage is open to all people with disability. If you are looking to take on a new challenge in 2021, and want to share your feedback and ideas, QDeNgage might be for you!

Learn about QDeNgage and/or apply to be a QDeNgage consultant on our website. If you would like support to do this, call us to talk with a friendly staff member on 1300 363 783.

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Targeted Outreach

As part of the Targeted Outreach Project, our Local Champions are working in their communities to help more people join the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Our Local Champions help people with disability to:

  • Learn more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • Decide if the NDIS is for them and how it can support them
  • Connect with the Targeted Outreach Project team, who can link them to free assistance to access the NDIS through the Assessment and Referral Team (ART).

You can find out about our regional Local Champions on our website.

Watch our Targeted Outreach Project Local Champions, Michael, and Matt, as they share their experiences of using their local networks in their communities to help connect people with disability to the NDIS.

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DIDRR Update

Disability Inclusive and Disaster Resilient Queensland

The Disability Inclusive and Disaster Resilient Queensland project is a partnership between QDN, the University of Sydney, Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) and Queensland Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors. We are in Phase Two of this project (Oct 19 – June 21) that has been co-funded by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and the Queensland Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors. Phase Two is focused on making sure the needs and voices of people with disability are included in disaster planning, management, and response. QDN have been continuing our work in this phase, supporting individual emergency preparedness planning for people with disability, using peer-to-peer approaches.

The new ‘Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) Workbook’ was launched in September and is already proving to be an invaluable tool for people with disability in developing a preparedness plan for their individual needs in an emergency.  QDN peer support groups across the state have been holding conversations together and supporting each other to use the workbook, as well as connecting with their local emergency services staff.

In March this year, QDN and the University of Sydney developed a COVID-19 specific emergency planning tool for people with disability. We are excited to share that that this tool won the Community Division of the ‘2020 Resilient Australia’ Awards for Queensland. We have now been selected to progress to the National Awards, with a ceremony set for the 4th of December in Canberra. Wish us luck!

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Tenants Queensland Tenants Queensland Logo. Blue sky. Black and white houses.

  • Are you a tenant or resident with disability with a renting problem that
    has been caused by COVID-19?
  • Have you stopped working or been working less because of COVID-19?
    Are you struggling to pay the rent?
  • Do you owe rent?

Tenants Queensland is an organisation that helps people with renting problems.

Tenants Queensland has received funding from the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works to deliver the COVID-19 Tenant/Resident Support and Analysis Project.

This is a six month project to help renters living across Queensland with COVID-19 related tenancy problems.QDN is working with Tenants Queensland to help people with disability with renting problems caused by COVID-19.

You can contact Lou Abson at QDN on 1300 363 783 or by email at qdn@qdn.org.au if you need help with a renting problem caused by COVID-19. The project will run until 31 March 2021.

If you have a problem with your tenancy that is not caused by COVID-19, you can contact Qld Statewide Tenant Advice and Referral Service (QSTARS) on 1300 744 263.

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Mater ‘EASY-Health’ Project

EASY-Health is a qualitative research pilot programme that works with people with intellectual or developmental disability, their carers, and health service staff to understand and enhance their experience in the healthcare setting.

In October 2020, QDN participated in the first Advisory Committee meeting and assisted people with lived experience to attend and participate in the project advisory committee meeting.  The role of the advisory group is to provide expert advice from various sectors in support of making mainstream health services more accessible to people with intellectual disability. The advisory group is made up of individuals that are representatives of health, disability providers and non-government community service providers.

Actions include:

  • Overseeing performance considering the various sectors this program will cover including NGO, Hospital Health Services, and disability providers.
  • Providing a forum to discuss common barriers people with Intellectual Disability experience when accessing mainstream health services and provide advice to Program Team
  • Providing strategic direction and advice to Program Team.

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Peer Support Group Updates

Group Convenor Training Days 15 and 16 October 2020

On 15 and 16 October, Group Convenors from across Queensland came together for two days of training in Brisbane. Across the two days convenors explored topics like transformation leadership and capturing digital stories.  Convenors heard from representatives from the National Disability Insurance Agency and Every Australian Count to keep up to date with changes around the National Disability Insurance Scheme.  These training days are an opportunity for convenors to come together to share information and learn new skills they can share with their groups. During this time convenors also connect with their peers to explore further the power of peers on a personal level as well as in a group.

Elisha Matthews, Donna Best and Wendy Lovelace in group discussions Photo left: Elisha Matthews, Donna Best and Wendy Lovelace in group discussions



Picture : Normanton group convenor Tony Melksham in deep conversation with QDN board member Gary Matthews



Photo right: Tony Melksham, Normanton Peer Support Group and Gary Mathews, QDN Mackay

QDN supports virtual and face to face peer support groups across the state. The following information provides an update on the groups and please contact QDN if you want to find out more information about the groups and how to connect in.

MAC Group for Over 65s Peer Support Group

MAC Group for Over 65s convenor, Rachel Mathews.In August 2020, we launched the MAC Group for people with disability over the age of 65. The group is convened by Rachel Mathews and brings together people with disability aged over 65 to talk about topics that are important to them. MAC is a Queensland wide group that meet online via Zoom, with members joining from all over Queensland including Brisbane, Cairns, Clifton, and even as far as Normanton.

The group discuss issues and have had guest speakers including the My Aged Care Navigator and advocates from Aged and Disability Services Australia. MAC have been very successful in connecting online with technology and supporting each other to be connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The MAC group meet the 1st Wednesday of every month from 1pm to 2:30pm. The Group is always welcoming new members. If you would like to join the MAC Peer Support Group for people with disability aged over 65, please contact QDN for information.

Left: MAC Group for Over 65s convenor, Rachel Mathews.

Sunnybank Peer Support Group

The Sunnybank Peer Support Group have been meeting online via Zoom since March when COVID restrictions were introduced in Queensland. During this time, the Sunnybank Peer Support Group have discussed topics important to them including:

  • NDIS Self-management
  • COVID-19
  • The NBN+
  • Local area design consultation
  • Queensland state election

The Sunnybank Peer Support Group plan on returning to face to face meetings early next year so watch this space for updates! The Group meet on the 2nd Saturday of the month from
10:30am to 12:30pm.

Two women sitting at a table laughing. One of the women is holding a judges gavel. The women are Eileen and Rebecca.

Deception Bay

With the easing of COVID-19 restriction in Queensland, the Deception Bay Peer Support Group, convened by Rebecca Bellis and Eileen Goodenough, have recently commenced meeting face to face again. Since meeting, the group has discussed the Queensland state elections and emergency preparedness. The Group meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 10:30am to 12:30pm.

Left: Deception Bay Peer Support Group co-convenors Eileen Goodenough and Rebecca Bellis (from left to right).

Toowoomba Peer Support Group

The Toowoomba Peer Support Group are returning to face to face meetings in November now restrictions are easing. Like other groups, the Toowoomba Peer Support Group will continue to offer Zoom as an alternative to joining the meeting. This means that those who cannot make the face to face meeting can still be included in the conversation.

A person is smiling on a Zoom meeting. There are decorations behind them. It is Nadia.The Group, convened by Nadia Brady and Sharon Boyce, have talked about the following topics at their meetings this year, social connectedness, Disaster preparedness, the diversity within the group – sharing what it is like to be you, NDIS self-management, Queensland state elections, and planning for meetings moving into 2021. The Group meet the 3rd Thursday of the month from 3pm to 5pm. They meet face to face, or you can join online.

Left: Nadia Brady on a Zoom meeting.

Brisbane Hot Topics Peer Support Group

The Brisbane Hot Topics Peer Support Group for people with an intellectual disability have had a big year connecting online and are now meeting face to face since COVID restrictions have eased. They have returned to the QDN office for their monthly meetings and are following social distancing requirements. Brisbane Hot Topics, convened by Donna Best, have been busy covering topics such as:

  • COVID safety with Metro South Health
  • Queensland state election and the importance of voting
  • People coming together for housing with the IYHG Peer Educators from
    Community Living Association
  • Understanding the Queensland Human Rights Act with the
    Queensland Human Rights Commission
  • Self-advocacy quiz as part of Self-Advocacy Month

A group of 7 people sitting at a table connecting with people on a Zoom meeting.The Brisbane and Gold Coast Hot Topics Peer Support Groups have even connected with self-advocate groups all the way over in Canada! The Hot Topics groups have been meeting regularly with the New Vision Advocates and Teegatha Oh Zeh to plan an international online event to celebrate International Day of People with Disability on 3 December.

The Brisbane Hot Topics Peer Support Group meet the last Friday of the month, from 12pm to 2pm, and connect face to face and online.

Photo left: The Hot Topics Peer Support Group connecting with other self-advocacy groups in Victoria as part of Self-Advocacy Month.

Self-management Peer Support Group Picture of Self-Management Peer Support Group member using computer and Zoom to join the online meeting

The Self-management Peer Support Group launched in September 2020. The Group, convened by Rebecca Bellis, is for people with disability who self-manage their NDIS plans or are wanting to know about self-managing their plans.  This dynamic group meet online and come from across Queensland with members representing Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, and the Gold Coast. The group draw on their own lived experience of self-management with members who part self-managing, completely self-managing or wanting to self-manage their NDIS plans. The NDIS Self-management group meet online via Zoom on the last Thursday of the month from 10:30am to 12:30pm.

Caboolture Peer Support Group

Picture is of Group Convenor, Matt McCracken welcoming the Caboolture Peer Support Group back to face to face meetingsOn Saturday 31 October the Caboolture Peer Support Group met for the first time since COVID started. The group was excited to be back meeting face to face.  After a good catch up, the group spent some time sharing updates on changes that have happened in the disability sector as well as information on QDN projects like the Targeted Outreach Program, which is currently available in the Caboolture area.

The Caboolture Peer Support Group meets on Saturday at the Caboolture Sports Club.

Left: Group convenor, Matt McCracken welcoming the Caboolture Peer Support Group back to face to face meetings

Brisbane Peer Support Group

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Brisbane Peer Support Group successfully moved their meetings from face to face to online using zoom. Group convenors Elisha and Lisa have facilitated some wonderful discussions. This has included disaster preparedness planning for people with disability, online scams awareness, and the upcoming November guest speaker, Damon Jaenk, who is speaking on his Push the Stigma Away initiative.

The Brisbane group meet on the third Wednesday of each month, from 10:30am 12:00pm. The meeting is held at the QDN Brisbane office or you can attend virtually via Zoom.

Fitzgibbon Peer Support Group

Fitzgibbon Peer Support Group has been meeting virtually for several months to discuss topical issues such as SDA accommodation and independent compared to group living situations. Charmaine Idris, Group Convenor, has been facilitating these group discussions and is encouraging new members to join this exciting group. Mark Warren is also being welcomed as the group’s new co-convenor at the next meeting via Zoom. The Fitzgibbon Peer Support Group meet online via Zoom on the third Tuesday of each month, from 10:00am to 12:00pm.

Ipswich Peer Support Group

Ipswich Peer Support Group has successfully incorporated online participation into their meetings with members joining face to face and via Zoom. Having learnt Zoom skills earlier in the year each member now can join meetings to keep connected and be part of the conversation even when they physically can’t make the meeting. Peter and Lynda Tully have facilitated various meeting topics from self-managing NDIS plans, giving feedback on the Ipswich’s Disability Action Plan and keeping each other up to date during COVID-19. The Ipswich Peer Support Group meet in the Auditorium at 56 South St, Ipswich on the third Saturday of each month, from 10:00am to 12:0pm.

Picture: Sunshine Coast group convenor Will Proctor shares a laugh at the convenor training daySunshine Coast Peer Support Group

Sunshine Coast Peer Support Group has also transition to virtual meetings, helping members to use Zoom to be able to join the meetings. Group convenor, Will Procter, has facilitated great discussions on several member driven topics with Sunshine Coast Council, NBN Co and SCANN. This group is also working on a digital story project titled ‘How to speak to people with disability in the community’. The Sunshine Coast Peer Support Group meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 10:00am to 12:00pm. A new venue will be confirmed for 2021.

Left: Sunshine Coast group convenor Will Proctor shares a laugh at the convenor training day.

QDNY Peer Support Group for under 35s

QDNY is the State-wide, youth support group, that launched in July 2020 for people with disability aged 18-35 years. This group meet monthly online via zoom to discuss topics like the Queensland state election. The group have invited speakers from Carer’s Queensland to talk about the role of Local Area Coordinators and the NDIS. In November QDNY guest speaker Fran Vicary, from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, joined the group to talk about how the NDIS is regulated.

Normanton Peer Support Group

Normanton Peer Support Group located in far north Queensland is looking forward to meeting again after a long break due to COVID-19 restrictions. Once the wet season ends, we hope to hear more from this support group moving into 2021.

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ATSIDNQ Update (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network Queensland)

Yarning Groups have started up again with the Maryborough and Hervey Bay mob getting together with ATSIDNQ, QDN and the Galangoor Duwalami Health Service.  After a time of not much face-to-face activity it was important to sit down together and reconnect.

Following our call for more ATSIDNQ Champions, we would like to introduce and welcome our two newest Champions Leon Petrou and Shaun Fabila. Leon is a disability support worker and Shaun is also known as MC Chose. Listen to the Freestyle that Shaun gave us to celebrate NAIDOC Week

You can also tune into Shaun and Leon on radio show INDIGI-BRIZ on Sunday afternoons on 4ZZZ.

Shaun and Leon came to the Network seeking to connect with other mob with disability and look forward to being a part of, and to grow the Network. We are pleased to see the number of Champions grow. We now have six and look forward to welcoming more.

In staff news ATSIDNQ welcomes Seini Sebasio Project Assistant and Gayle Jones, who is also on one of our Champions, and is supporting the team with special projects. Welcome Seini and Gayle.

On a sad note we also farewell Bruce Simpson, ATSIDNQ Senior Project Officer, for a time. Bruce is taking a 12-month secondment to the Disability Royal Commission, in an exciting position as an Assistant Director with the community engagement team.  This is a great opportunity for both Bruce and for ADA Australia as we continue to support more people to participate in this Royal Commission.  We will keep you posted about who will take on the Senior Project Officer role.

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Useful information from our friends

Spinal Life Australia: Accessible Australia App helping people with disability to plan.

Spinal Life Australia have launched the Accessible Australia app to help people with disability plan their next day out. The online resource is designed to provide information on the accessibility of your local area including restaurants, activities, attractions, parks, health facilities and more. The app allows you to search according to your area, point of interest and by access needs.

The platform is in its testing phase so you can also contribute your reviews on accessible locations and holiday destinations. Learn more about the Accessible Australia online resource.

Access the app.

Women with Disabilities Australia LEAD project logo. Light blue with graphic figures of women living with varying disabilities. Women with Disabilities Australia

New LEAD blog series!

The new WWDA LEAD project team have just launched a new blog series written by and for women and girls with disability. The blog series will focus on leadership and what that means to women and girls with a disability as individuals and as a community.

Check out the blog and find out how you can contribute on the WWDA website.

WWDA will also be hosting their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 16 December 2020 at 12 pm AEDT. The meeting will take place via Zoom on Video Conference. If you have any questions about the AGM or would like to know more please email WWDA at officeadmin@wwda.org.au

Learning Opportunities

Community Resource Unit – CRU Workshops – 7 Steps to Self-Direction

This is an update about a workshop that CRU offers, 7 Steps to Self-Direction. It has recently been redesigned into a three-part online series.  No matter where in QLD you are, it’s possible to attend and CRU will now be offering some date options in early 2021.This workshop is ideal for people with a disability and the support network around them who are interested in moving to, or improving self-directed support arrangements.  The 3 online sessions will be facilitated by Sharon Bourke with a total of 3 teams participating.  We have the following date and time options available:

Option 1 – Thursdays, 9:30am-12:30pm – 14 Jan 21, 28 Jan 21, 11 Feb 21

Option 2 – Saturdays, 9:30am-12:30pm – 16 Jan 21, 30 Jan 21, 13 Feb 21

You can also register by clicking on this link

ASID – Research to Practice

Webinar: Building safer lives with and for people with intellectual disability

Presented by Professor Sally Robinson

What is the webinar about? People with intellectual disability experience violence, abuse, and neglect at high rates – significantly higher than people without disability. Over the last decade, research and advocacy has been united in pressing for changes to systems, policies, and practices, to better protect people with intellectual disability from harm.

Webinar Details:

When:          8 December at 6:00pm (Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney).

Followed by the SA Division ASID General Meeting and elections

Cost:            Free ASID Members. Non-members $11.

Register to attend the webinar.

DSC – Australia’s Leading NDIS Consultants & Trainers

DSC has released a full list of workshops that they have planned for 2021. You will find a full list of the training options and workshops on their website.


Contact QDN

 Phone: (07) 3252 8566 or 1300 363 783

Email:          qdn@qdn.org.au

Website: www.qdn.org.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QueenslanderswithDisabilityNetwork/

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