QDN E-Bulletin Update – October 2020

Update from the Annual General Meeting

Queenslanders with Disability Network held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday 17 October 2020 at Parliamentary Annexe, Parliament House with over 60 members coming together for the COVID-19 safe meeting in person at Parliament House.

The meeting included reports from the Chairperson Nigel Webb, Chief Executive Officer Paige Armstrong and the Independent Auditor Peter Gesch from Haywards Chartered Accountants. These are all included in the Annual Report 2019-2020 along with highlights and reports from the year across all of QDN’s work. You can access the newly released QDN Annual Report here.

The meeting also included voting on a special resolution for QDN constitutional changes and the election of four elected directors through ordinary resolution and the extension of the term of Appointed Director.

The QDN Constitutional Changes were passed and accepted.

The extension of the term of Appointed Director Stacy Miller was passed and accepted.

The four nominees who were successfully elected to QDN’s Board of Directors were:

  • Jane Britt
  • John McPherson
  • Peter Tully
  • Sharon Boyce

John McPherson and Sharon Boyce are re-elected returning Directors and Jane Britt and Peter Tully are newly elected members to the Board.

The outgoing Chairperson Nigel Webb was acknowledged for his leadership, commitment and dedication to QDN over the past 11 years and more formal celebration and acknowledgement will be held into the future and QDN will keep members updated.

Meet the QDN Board of Directors 2020

Post the AGM, the newly constituted Board of Directors held its first meeting and elected the following members to positions of the Board and the sub-committees:

QDN Chairperson – Des Ryan (Rockhampton)

QDN Deputy Chairperson – Sharon Boyce (Toowoomba)

Chairperson: Audit and Compliance Committee – Gary Matthews (Mackay)

Chairperson: Nominations and Performance Committee – Jane Britt (Brisbane)

Elected Director: John McPherson (Brisbane)

Elected Director: Peter Gurr (Townsville)

Elected Director: Peter Tully (Ipswich)

Appointed Director: Stacy Miller (Gold Coast)

Company Secretary: Colleen Papadopoulos (Greater Brisbane)

Profile QDN Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson

Chairperson – Des Ryan OAM

photo of Des Ryan QDN Chair

Des Ryan lives in Rockhampton and was elected to QDN’s Board of Directors in 2018. In that time he has served as Chairperson of the Nominations and Performance Committee. Des has a twenty-year history with not-for-profit boards in Central Queensland providing care services to people with disabilities or training. During 1996 to 2018 Des was a board member and also President for seven years at Spinal Life Australia’s, leading the transition from a community-based board to a mixed board with a diverse skill set from the business and corporate sector.

Des has worked for Community Solutions since the early 1990s, a business which specialises in offering employment to people with disability. Des was an awarded Rotary and Companion of Central Queensland University recipient and in 2013 was a recipient of the Order of Australia Medal in 2013 for service to people with disabilities.

With 50 years personal experience with a disability, Des is hoping he can influence change, and the direction of the NDIS into the future, informed and driven by members. Des believes that highlights of his life as a person with a disability have been employment and volunteering and he would like to would like to be able to maximise that opportunity for many others now and into the future.

Deputy Chairperson – Sharon Boyce

Photo of Board Deputy Chair Sharon Boyce

Sharon lives in Toowoomba is a part-time education academic and consultant in disability awareness across the state. She is passionate and committed to social justice – empowering people with a disability and supporting real living independence.

Sharon has recently been appointed to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Independent Advisory Council. She is also served as Chair for the Queensland Disability Advisory Council and Regional Chair of the South West Regional Disability Advisory Council.

Among the awards she has received are the Queensland Regional Achiever Award in 2012 for her work in awareness raising and creating inclusive communities across Australia, a Human Rights Award in 2008 for her contribution to creating inclusion across the community, and a Disability Action Week Award in 2003 for her work writing an accessible children’s story book. Most recently in September 2020 Sharon has been awarded Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of Southern Queensland.

From the CEO

The last few months have continued to be busy at QDN as we move into the last quarter of the year. COVID-19 continues to take up a significant part of our policy work and our broader systemic advocacy and ensuring people with disability have the information and services they need to stay connected to supports and family and friends.

I am proud to let members also know that on 14 October 2020 QDN was announced as the Queensland winners of the 2020 Resilient Australia Awards Community section for the development of the COVID-19 Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness tool for people with disability. This resource was developed with the University of Sydney and funded by the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors. We know that people with disability have been left behind in the conversations and work of disaster and emergency preparedness. People with disability have been leaders in this work and this is so important that they can be empowered, have the information, tools and support they need to take their place and play a critical role in developing their own emergency and disaster resilience alongside the people who support them and their communities. QDN’s peer leaders have led COVID planning conversations with people with disability and the broader work of our supporters and allies and government agencies in getting this information out there so people with disability can get the facts, make a plan and stay connected and safe during COVID-19. To Michelle Moss and Louise Abson who were co-authors with Associate Professor Michelle Villeneuve from the University, Ricky Buchanan, a disability advocate from Victoria and our peer leaders – congratulations to you all.

During Disability Action Week, QDN was pleased to partner with Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) supported by funding from Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors to host “Mind the Gap: Bridging the Disability Digital Divide”. Getting access to devices, data and knowing how to use them has been highlighted by members during COVID-19 as a significant systemic issue for people with disability. It was great to have almost 200 people registered for this event to hear from Queenslanders and national and international speakers about this issue and what actions and solutions people are putting in place across the key areas of life to make an inclusive all abilities Queensland for everyone.

In September we held COVID Conversations in partnership with Health Consumers Queensland. Over three different days, we hosted conversations with a range of leaders who are people with disability, families, carers, disability providers, Government, health services, and industry to bring people information about practical critical things that people with disability need to know about during COVID. This was to complement a similar series hosted by National Disability Services (NDS) focused on giving information to disability service providers. We know that it’s important that everyone gets the information they need to be informed in a way that works for them.

QDN also launched a resource at the end of August – “Know your rights: getting the hospital care you need during COVID-19” again in partnership with Health Consumers Queensland. This suite of resources is there to assist people with disability to understand what has in hospitals changed because of COVID-19, what they can expect, what are their rights to care and where they can go if they need help or support.

We have 9 days left until the Queensland State Election. QDN, informed by members and our peer support groups have worked to make sure disability matters at this election. We know that there are 900,000 Queenslanders living with disability. Alongside our network of supporters – from family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, support workers to the staff at the local footy club – we have connections in every corner of our communities. Our voice matters and at this election, our issues must be on every candidate’s agenda. Our platform My Disability Matters has gone out to all QDN members and supporters and has been sent to all the parties, and now all the candidates across Queensland to ask them how they will work with us to create a more disability inclusive Queensland. I encourage members to get out there and talk with your local candidates about the issues that matter to you and ensure that it is nothing about us without us.

In addition to this, QDN was proud to work alongside eight other community organisations to host the Make Disability Count Virtual Forum on 8 October. It was great to join with ADA Australia – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Queensland, Community Services Industry Alliance, Health Consumers Queensland, National Disability Services , Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education It was an informative night with over 200 people registering to attend and five political parties joining us to answer questions that are important to people with disability, their families and the organisations that support them. Follow up emails have been sent to all the parties to ask for their commitment to the collective platform and it us up on our website.

QDN’s peer leaders had the opportunity to come together for 2 days in Brisbane on 15 and 16 October for the peer support groups and the Power of Peers Project. Some insightful conversations were held, and it was great to have documentary maker, lecturer and producer Rebecca McElroy join the peer leaders for a practical hands-on session in making digital stories. The learning and results from the event will inform peer work going forward and we look forward to seeing Convenors’ skills in action to profile the great things happening in peer support across the state and the power of peers.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of the outgoing Board of Directors of QDN and welcome the new Board. The stewardship, governance and leadership of the Board is a critical factor in running a strong and successful organization. I would like to thank the outgoing Chairperson Nigel Webb for his commitment, leadership, foresight, and strategic insights and service to QDN as Chairperson over the past 11 years, and 7 of which have been in my time as CEO. I look forward to working with the new Board as QDN continues to grow and mature and deliver quality services and outcomes aligned with our vision, mission and values as a member driven organization.

Paige Armstrong


The Latest COVID-19 News

Australian Human Rights Commission COVID 19 Guidelines

These new Guidelines on the rights of people with disability in health and disability during COVID-19 have been released by the Australian Human Rights Commission. These Guidelines are designed to ensure that human rights considerations inform the decisions made by health care and disability workers when supporting people with disability https://bit.ly/2HlbeOX

Update on NDIS COVID 19 Measures

Temporary measures introduced earlier this year to assist NDIS participants during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended until February 2021, including:

  • eligible NDIS participants can use plan funding to purchase low-cost Assistive Technology, including smart devices (up to $1500);
  • greater plan flexibility to ensure access to supports;
  • deep cleaning of residences in the event a support worker returns a positive COVID-19 test;
  • additional support, including a deep cleaning service, for participants who test positive for COVID-19 or who are required to isolate who live in a Supported Independent Living (SIL) setting.

The NDIA has also announced that participants will be able to fund support coordination using their core funding indefinitely.

COVID Conversations

QDN understands that there is lots of news out there about Covid-19 and it’s important for people with disability to be up to date with information to be able to plan, stay safe and connected during this pandemic.

QDN, in partnership with Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ), held a series of free webinars for people with disability and their supporters, with over 100 people attending across three sessions. A range of speakers were engaged including people with disability, families and carers, colleagues from Victoria, Queensland Department of Health, Queensland Department Communities, Disability Services and Seniors,  Australian Human Rights Commission,  NDIA, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, and Every Australian Counts to discuss the following topics:

  • Testing and wearing masks – What do we need to know?
  • Getting the healthcare you need during COVID-19: Get prepared and know your rights
  • Disability supports during COVID-19: Get prepared and know your rights

Resources and videos will be available shortly via the QDN website.

2020 Queensland State Election

QDN My Disability Matters

QDN’s My Disability Matters Policy Platform is making its way into candidates’ hands right across the state. Not only have we mailed the platform to all the political parties, but we have met with both Minister O’Rourke and Minister Di Brenni from Queensland Labor and Amy MacMahon from The Greens to give them the platform directly.

But we need your help to get the message out about what matters to people with disability in the lead up to Election Day on 31 October 2020. There are two simple things you can do right now to make sure your voice is heard:

Print off this selfie sign (or call the QDN office and we’ll send you some!) here: https://bit.ly/3dQY9cn. Then you fill it in with the issue that matters to you most. Then simply take a photo of you holding it and email it to us at qdn@qdn.org.au.

Email your local candidates – attach the QDN My Disability Matters Policy Platform and ask them for a written response. You can find a template email in our advocacy toolkit here: https://bit.ly/2HmZs6G

Voting – assistance and support to vote in the State General Election

The Queensland 2020 State General Election will be held on 31 October 2020 and Queensland’s 2020 general election voting period is from Monday, 19 October to election day on Saturday, 31 October

The Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) has in place a range of assisted services to give Queensland voters every possible opportunity to have their say at the ballot box. Early voting (pre poll) and postal voting are available in addition to other assisted services such as:

  • Assistance at the polling booth – A person may join someone in the polling booth should they need help when making their vote. This person may act as an interpreter, read and explain the ballot paper instructions, complete the ballot paper according to their instructions and place the ballot paper in the ballot box. This service is available during early voting and on election day.
  • Declared institution voting – Before the election day, polling officials visit patients and residents of registered declared institutions, such as some hospitals or aged care facilities.
  • Disability access – Information about disability access to polling booths will be available on the ECQ website during an election.
  • Electoral visitor voting – If eligible for this service, an election official will come to a person’s address for them to cast their vote.
  • Mobile polling – Election officials may visit voters in eligible remote areas during an election.
  • Telephone voting – A dedicated telephone voting system may be available for eligible electors including those with a disability. Voters must contact ECQ to register for this service.
  • Translation and interpreting service – A telephone translation and interpreting service is available through Language Loop, for people with English as a second language.
  • Electronically assisted voting – Electronically assisted voting may be available for eligible Queenslanders

Further information on the range of assisted services available for the upcoming election, as well as information on measures to protect vulnerable electors from the impact of COVID-19, is available on the ECQ website.

Queensland community services peaks election statement

QDN is proud to have signed on to the Queensland community services peaks election statement. The statement focuses on three key policy areas:

  • Improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • Increasing investment in safe, stable and accessible housing
  • Greater support for community organisations to ensure services meet demand

Importantly for QDN members, the commitment to housing includes a call to build 10,000 social housing units each year for ten years, ensuring universal design in all new dwellings and updating existing dwellings to adequately accommodate people with disability.

You can find the Queensland community services peaks election statement here: https://bit.ly/3kkcSip

Make Disability Count Forum

QDN was proud to work alongside eight other community organisations to host the Make Disability Count Virtual Forum on 8 October. It was an informative night with over 200 people registering to attend and five political parties joining us to answer questions that are important to people with disability, their families and the organisations that support them.

We were pleased that many of the candidates were able to make commitments on the night to some of the 7 priority policy areas the organisations had collectively raised. We have also sent the 7 priority policy areas to all the candidates following the forum, asking for a formal response. We will be sure to let you know when we receive their responses.

You can find a full wrap up of the forum, including the 7 priority policy areas and a list of contact details for the candidates and organisations involved here: https://bit.ly/3dOgjeL

COVID-19 Resources

2020 Resilient Australia Award Winners for Queensland Community Section – Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness COVID-19 Resources

QDN is proud to let members and supporters know that QDN and University of Sydney were awarded the Queensland Community Section Award for the 2020 Resilient Australia Awards on 14 October 2020. The tool was developed and launched on 1 April 2020 to assist people with disability to be prepared for the COVID-19 public health emergency and funded by Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.

COVID-19 has been a challenging time for people with disability so it has been critical to have a resource deliver practical tools and information to assist people with disability (and those who support them). It has given Australians with disability a resource to help them to make a plan for their own individual needs and situation during COVID-19 – to stay safe and get the supports they need.

Resource can be found here https://qdn.org.au/home/covid-19/make-a-plan/

Know your rights: getting the hospital care you need during COVID-19 resources

QDN and Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ) have worked together to develop a new resource for people with disability to assist them during COVID-19 with getting the hospital care they need.

The resources have been co-designed by QDN and HCQ members to ensure people with disability can think through the key steps and issues for them in going to hospital, informed by members lived experience of going to hospital during COVID-19 times. A big thank you to Sharon Boyce, Willie Prince, Peter Tully, Jane Britt, Noel Muller, Grant Wigham, and Keren Pointen for your expertise, contributions and feedback to develop this important resource. And to Purpose Partners and Jane Geltch for your contributions in development and writing.

The ‘Know your Rights’ resources provide a suite of tools for people with disability and their supporters that gives practical information to help make a plan, get prepared, and know what to expect if they need to go to hospital, and their rights to getting the healthcare that meets their individual needs. Read the Media Release here: http://bit.ly/mediakyr

You can access the resources here: www.qdn.org.au/knowyourrightscovid19

Disability Action Week

2020 Disability action week (DAW) was held from 13 to 19 September with the theme ‘Access-ability — making things better for everyone’. This year the focus was on the benefits of improved accessibility, not only for people with disability but also for the whole community. We all benefit when the communities where we live, work, learn and play provide opportunities for everyone to participate and fulfil their potential.

There were a range of activities during this week and some of them are summarised below for your information.

Mind the Gap

QDN and Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA) hosted an online virtual forum with almost 140 people across Queensland. The online forum bought together people with disability, families, disability workers, and people across Government, non-government and business sectors.

Hosted by Nigel Webb, QDN Chairperson Board of Directors, Belinda Drew, CEO CSIA and Paige Armstrong, QDN CEO, the event was opened by Minister Corallee O’Rourke. Minister O’Rourke talked about the importance of inclusion and access in all parts of our community and the importance of people with disability having access to devices and data and also the support and skills they need to be able to participate in an accessible and safe digital world.

Key note speakers Gisele Mesnage (Digital Gap Initiative), Laila Coulton (Coles) and Marlena Katene provided insights into their engagement with digital access, and how they have influenced positive change for people with disability. Break out room speakers covered topics from employment, digital literacy, health, international connections, and the arts.

DAW Podcasts from Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors

The Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors have put together a series of podcasts around key issues for people with disability hosted by Karni Lidell

Communication: Online accessibility specialist Alex Bey of Tagged PDF talks about how accessible communication makes online life easier for everyone.

Transport: Karni Liddell interviews the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ accessible transport expert, Kevin Cocks AM, revealing how far we’ve come in building an accessible transport network in Queensland

Universal and Building Design: Dr Janice Rieger talks universal design and the need to involve people with disability in co-design and how universal design principles produce a better built environment for everyone.

Life Long Learning: In this podcast Rachel Carr from Illume Learning talks about her work in the disability and education sectors and what the research says about an inclusive education for children with and without disability.

To access podcasts click here https://bit.ly/3m445BG

Podcast interview – Speak Up from Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia

Geoff Rowe, Chief Executive Officer of Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia and QDN Chairperson, Board of Directors, Nigel Webb connected together in this podcast for Disability Action Week. The Speak Up podcast has Geoff and Nigel talking about becoming your own best advocate and the part it has to play in creating and maintaining inclusive and accessible communities. You can access the podcast here https://bit.ly/2FL8r11

Human Rights Act

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) has developed these new resources released during Disability Action Week 2020. The resources have been designed to assist people with disability to be empowered to take action in their own lives for an inclusive Queensland. The resources also give people with disability information about the Queensland Human Rights Act and what it means for them. https://bit.ly/2Tf6z3W

Have your say

Logo reads Have your say

National Disability Strategy

QDN Member Consultation

There is currently a second stage review of the National Disability Strategy, which is the policy that guides all levels of government, business and community on how to implement the aspirations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disability in Australia.

QDN members have an opportunity to shape the new Strategy. It is important that we have a say. This Strategy affects all people with disability, families and communities as it governs support for accessible mainstream services, universal design, positive community attitudes towards disability and how governments maintain accountability and reporting of the outcomes of the Strategy. To make a strong submission on behalf of members, QDN would like to hear from members. There are a number of ways to give your input into QDN’s formal submission. This includes a Zoom focus group and a short survey. You can also make your own submission to the Department of Social Services, and we outline how to do this below.

All submissions are due by 31 October 2020, 5pm.

The purpose of the member consultations is to get your thoughts on the key submission questions found in the National Disability Strategy Position Paper .

The National Disability Strategy 2010 – 2020 committed all governments to a unified, national approach for the last ten years, with the vision of ‘an inclusive Australian society that enables people with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens’. It was the first strategy of its kind in Australia.

QDN Consultation Details

QDN invites you to tell us what you think. There are two ways you can do this

  1. You can click here to take our short survey
  2. You can click here to register to attend our focus group

The focus group is on Friday 23 October, 10:30am – 12noon. There are limited numbers for this zoom session, so please register your place early.

How to Make a Submission

Information on how you can make your own submission on the National Disability Strategy review is found on the Make a Submission page of the DSS website.

QDN Contact

If you have any questions, please call QDN on 1300 363 783 or email QDN project officer Sarah Houbolt on shoubolt@qdn.org.au

Disability Royal Commission

Updated Schedule

Subject to any significant changes in circumstances, the Disability Royal Commission will hold the following hearings before the end of the year:

  • Week of 16 November: Brisbane – Public hearing into long term, including indefinite, detention and the experiences of people with disability in the criminal justice system
  • Week of 23 November: Brisbane – Public hearing into the experiences of First Nations people with disability and their families in contact with child protection systems.

Two further public hearings may be held in December with dates yet to be released.

Research Reports

The Disability Royal Commission has recently released three research reports to provide an in-depth analysis of specific areas that impact on violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. For each of the research papers, the Disability Royal Commission engages expert academics to research and write the reports, which will inform the Commission’s overall work. The three recently released research reports include:

  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Shining a light on Social Transformation
  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – An Assessment of Australia’s Level of Compliance
  • Persons with Disability and the Australian Constitution

You can find these reports here https://disability.royalcommission.gov.au/policy-and-research/research-program



Queensland Productivity Commission

QDN put forward a submission to the Queensland Productivity Commission review into the National Disability Insurance Scheme Market in Queensland. QDN has also bought together, through QDeNgage a consultation with people with disability to inform the Commission’s inquiry.

Tune Review Response

The Tune Report was released earlier this year and included over 30 recommendation to improve the NDIS. In late August, the federal government accepted all but two recommendations (these two recommendations have been accepted ‘in principle’), including:

  • Clarifying the definition of ‘reasonable and necessary’, including publishing information in accessible formats;
  • Upgrading IT systems, so that NDIS Participants can track the progress of their applications/request for reviews online;
  • Reviewing operational guidelines when funding Supported Independent Living;
  • Outlining who is eligible for support coordination and who can provide it to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

The government also released the Participant Service Charter and the Participant Service Improvement Plan. The Charter outlines the way participants can expect the NDIA to behave when it works with them and the Plan outlines the work the NDIA will do over the next two years to improve people’s experience of the scheme. This includes improvements like introducing longer plans and greater flexibility in how you can use your NDIS funds.

These are all improvements that QDN has advocated for or supported and we look forward to working with our members and government to ensure these changes are designed and implemented in a way that works for people with disability and their families.

To view the government’s response to the Tune Report, the Participant Service Charter and the Participant Service Improvement Plan visit here: https://qdn.org.au/federal-government-responds-to-tune-review-and-plans-for-independent-assessments/

Independent Assessments

Many QDN members have contacted us with concerns and questions about the federal government’s plans to roll out independent assessments for people applying to enter the NDIS at the beginning of 2021 and when having their plans reviewed by mid-2021.

The federal government believes this proposal will help to address the high costs of assessments. QDN has raised access to affordable assessments as a barrier for some people with disability accessing the NDIS, and particularly for Queenslanders who have had over 45,000 people as new participants to the scheme.

However, QDN and many of our members are concerned that the assessment plans, as they currently stand, remove independence and take choice and control away from people with disability. QDN is also concerned by the proposed process that places additional challenges and imposts upon people with disability and their families to engage in assessment reviews once they are in the scheme to prove their disability and impacts on an ongoing basis. It is critical that any measures maintain separation powers, perceived or real conflicts of interest and independence.

As a result of these concerns, QDN has joined with Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) to write to Minister Robert to highlight these issues and ask that government consult directly with people with disability and families in the planning, design and implementation of independent assessments. You can find a detailed list of our concerns in the letter here: https://bit.ly/3dIaxeR

We’re also asking our members to share their thoughts, questions or concerns about independent assessments with us to help inform QDN’s feedback to government. You can let us know what you think about independent assessments here: https://bit.ly/3kiY03I

Functional Capacity Assessment Framework

As part of the NDIA’s independent assessments, the NDIA have released the Functional Capacity Assessment Framework. It outlines the what and why around the NDIA has introduced the independent assessments. This relates to assessments when people are entering the scheme as well as at the time of plan review. https://bit.ly/2TeyTmM

Guide to Plan Management

The NDIA has released a “Guide to Plan Management” to help people with disability and their families better understand the role, responsibilities and purpose of Plan Managers.

When it comes to the responsibilities of a Plan Manger, in summary, the guide makes clear that Plan Managers main roles are to:

  • ensure the plan is implemented as intended, within budget and in accordance with the plan;
  • enforce the price guide;
  • support people to understand their plan and the rules around how it can be spent;
  • not participate in fraud or the misuse of funds.

Plan Managers do NOT:

  • determine what is reasonable and necessary;
  • decide what supports a person can access.

The guide also outlines participant’s rights to change Plan Managers and other handy tips. You can have a look at the Guide here: https://bit.ly/2HjfYVF

New SIL changes

There have been and will continue to be a range of developments in relation to Supported Independent Living under the NDIS. In July 2020, the NDIA released the 2020-21 Price Guide and a new SIL Provider Pack, which contained changes in response to the Joint Standing Committee report from the inquiry into SIL, which was released in May 2020.

The Provider Pack has had several versions since its original release and the NDIA has called for feedback on the SIL Price Controls. This feedback is due on 25 October and QDN will be making a submission. There is also a call for feedback on a new paper “Improving outcomes for participants who require Supported Independent Living” which highlights a number of issues:

  • SIL funding is not always allocated fairly
  • Participants do not necessarily have choice and control as intended by the scheme
  • The SIL process is complex administratively and it is often unclear to participants what they are funded for as individuals, and what supports are funded for the household they live with
  • SIL costs have increased significantly over the past two years, which is not sustainable.

Clarity around what is included in SIL and participant choice and control over SIL supports are issues QDN will continue to raise and provide feedback on throughout the consultation process.

There will be more opportunities for people to have their say over the next six months as the NDIA seeks further feedback about changes coming for SIL arrangements and how participants can be better supported through the scheme.


Health and COVID-19 Response – Queensland Parliament

The Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee tabled Report No. 43, 56th Parliament – Interim Report: Inquiry into the Queensland Government’s health response to COVID-19 on Wednesday 16 September 2020. The report can be viewed here. QDN provided a response to this inquiry to outline the critical issues for Queenslanders with disability during this period and the impacts, learnings, solutions and outcomes that have occurred for consideration in actions going forward.

Cost of living

2020 Federal Budget
The Federal Budget was released in early October. Some of the key announcements related to people with disability include:

  • A slight increase in funding for the NDIS and NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission over the next five years
  • People on the Disability Support Pension or the Carer Payment or Allowance will get two $250 payments – one in December 2020 and one in March 2021;
  • New funding and a strategy for reducing the number of younger people living in residential aged care (announced in September);
  • $10.24 million over four years to provide compensation to thalidomide survivors.


Disability Parking Summit

QDN Chairperson Nigel Webb attended the Disability Parking Summit on 14 September 2020 hosted by the Minister for Transport, Hon. Mark Bailey. The event, held during during Disability Action Week 2020 with over 50 stakeholders from across Queensland gathering online to discuss strategies to improve access to disability parking for permit holders.

The summit followed-up on the reforms to the Disability Parking Permit Scheme (the scheme) implemented on 31 August 2020, which make it possible for Queenslanders diagnosed as legally blind to qualify for a disability parking permit for the first time. The Summit generated a range of ideas and recommendations and the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) is currently reviewing these and other ideas raised during the summit. TMR will provide a summary and update on progress in the future.

Accessible Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council- Call for nominations

Expressions of interest are now open for a newly established Queensland Accessible Transport Advisory Council (QATAC).The QATAC has been established to provide independent and strategic access and inclusion advice to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, TMR and QR. The Council will meet at least six times a year, with a maximum of twelve meetings per year as determined necessary by the Council.

The Council will consist of subject matter experts who are also people with lived experience and representatives of a broad range of community groups. Members will provide strategic, technical and policy advice relating to significant products, services, information and infrastructure projects across the Queensland Government transport portfolio.

Candidates with expertise in fields related to accessible transport and universal design including architecture, law, engineering, ergonomics, access consultancy and urban planning will be highly regarded. Applications can be submitted via the Queensland Register of Nominations webpage.

NOMINATIONS CLOSE 5.00 PM, 16 November 2020.

DDA exemption application by Australasian Railways Association

QDN provided a submission to the application for Disability Discrimination Act exemption by the Australasian Railways Association.

Inclusive Mapping

The Department of Transport and Main Roads and Briometrix Australia, a leading provider of technology solutions for people with disabilities have partnered to develop the Inclusive Mapping Pilot Project. People who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices often find it hard to travel through the built environment (like footpaths and roads) of cities and suburbs due to a lack of maps and wayfinding information about accessible routes.

The Inclusive Mapping Pilot Project combines the lived experience of people with disability with innovative technology to collect and share information about footpath conditions and access to public transport and key destinations.

The make the inclusive maps information was collected by wheelchair users travelling the around the Brisbane, Townsville and Rockhampton with devices fitted to their chairs gathering information about footpath conditions and the level of effort it takes to get around the different areas. From this, maps were made to show accessible pathways and potentially match routes to a person’s physical abilities.

As part of the pilot maps are available for South Brisbane, South Bank, Townsville CBD and Rockhampton CBD. The map legend is available on the maps in the right-hand corner. You can find out more information on the Inclusive Mapping Pilot Project by clicking here.


Proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code

QDN recently made a submission to the Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on the Proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code.

QDN supported the objective of the RIS to ensure that new housing is designed to meet the needs of the community including older Australians and others with mobility limitations. The universality of making all new homes accessible to ensure accessibility for all people as they move through stages of their lives was emphasised, rather than purpose building homes for people with specific needs.

The submission also suggested the analysis of the RIS should consider a range of factors in the analysis of cost, with social benefit being counted in terms of quality of life, well-being and mental health, social inclusion, economic participation and reduced reliance on social welfare as an important consideration.

QDN Chairperson meeting with Minister DeBrenni and Minister O’Rourke

QDN Board of Directors Chairperson, Nigel Webb and Michelle Moss Acting Chief Executive Officer met with Minister Mick DeBrenni and Minister Corallee O’Rourke to discuss disability housing matters across a broad range of areas to ensure accessible, affordable, and safe housing for people with disability in Queensland.


4 people posing for camera at the foot of an ornate staircase.

Photo Minister O’Rourke, Michelle Moss, Nigel Webb and Minister DeBrenni

Local Support Group Update

GIVIT update

QDN has been working with GIVIT to help marginalised people with disability get some extra digital connection during COVID-19.  GIVIT has been sourcing computers, telephones, and other devices from corporate organisations to help people with disability who are socially isolated to get connected.

Photo: Michelle and Reid with Reid holding his new laptop

Reid who is one student who has not been able to attend classes due to the impacts of COVID-19.  Since COVID-19 started Reid has not felt comfortable to leave the house which has meant he has not attended classes or been part of activities in the community.  Without a laptop at home Reid has become extremely socially isolated as well as not being able to do his schoolwork.

GIVIT was able to get Reid a laptop just in time for the new school term so he can join online classes.  Having a laptop not only helps Reid to do his schoolwork but also gives him opportunities to reconnect with the community.  Accessing the community online is one step closer to Reid eventually starting to go back in the community in a pace that works for him.

Peer Support Groups

Launch of under 35s State-wide peer support group for people with disability

On the 16 September, QDN launched the under 35-year-old state-wide peer support group for people with disability. Organisations who work with young people joined QDN to find out more about peer support groups and to help us launch this new group.  Mathew Townsend and Alison MacLean two members of the QDN y group shared why it is important for younger people with disability to have a space to share information and talk about issues that are important to them.

The QDN y peer support group for younger people with disability meet on the third Tuesday of each month online at 3:30pm to 5:30pm. If you are a person with disability who is under 35 years old and want to find out more about this state-wide peer support group contact QDN at peersupport@qdn.org.au

Rockhampton community conversation – 22 September

QDN held a community conversation in Rockhampton inviting people with disability and stakeholders to come together to talk about setting up a peer support group.  People in the Rockhampton area talked about what a peer support group might look like in their area and how it is important for them to have a space to talk about local matters and area of interested to them.

If you are interested in being part of the new Rockhampton Peer Support Group starting early November 2020, contact QDN at peersupport@qdn.org.au

State-wide Self- management Peer Support Group online meeting

QDN held the first self-management peer support group online meeting on Thursday 24 September. This new peer support group   has been established for people with disability who would like to self-manage or would like to know about self-managing their NDIS plans.  At the first meeting the group shared information and tips on self-managing NDIS plans and how you can self-manage part or all of your NDIS plan.  If you would like to join this new peer support group which meets online on the last Thursday of the month at 10:30am to 12:30pm contact QDN at peersupport@qdn.org.au

Townsville Peer Support Group – getting prepared

Peter Gurr and Paul Cannon

People with disability came together in Townsville to talk about getting prepared during COVID-19.  The group discussed topics from knowing your rights when you go to hospital to making a plan if you need to stay at home if you are sick.

Paul Cannon from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services joined the conversation helping members think about being prepared for other events such as bush fires or floods and what people with disability could think about to get prepared for natural disasters.

For more information on being prepared is available on the QDN website at www.qdn.org.au/home/covid-19/


QDeNgage logo

It’s Time to QDeNgage

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.

In August and September, over twenty QDeNgage consultants attended two virtual consultations on the new National Disability Strategy. QDN partnered Amparo to bring together people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds to share their experiences and feedback to inform this consultation. Through these two consultations people with disabilities provided their feedback to inform a new National Disability Strategy (2020 – 2030), to help make communities in Australia more inclusive.

QDeNgage consultants also met as part of the Smart Ticketing Accessibility Working Stakeholder Group (AWSG). This advisory group meets monthly to provide input into the new ticketing system for Queensland public transport. In early September, the group of twenty consultants had the opportunity to test out new prototype gates, and ticketing validator for the new Smart Ticketing system, and provide their feedback to the Translink team.

QDeNgage also provided Disability Awareness Training to staff at the Gold Coast City Council Aquatic Centre. QDeNgage consultant Ben Noonan with a QDN staff member provided training around disability awareness, inclusive communication practices, as well as working through examples and content specific to the needs of the aquatic centre.

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

QDN Projects

Targeted Outreach Project

Townsville, Toowoomba, Bundaberg and Rockhampton residents with disability can now seek extra support to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with the Targeted Outreach now available in these locations.  An important collaboration between the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors and Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) is ensuring essential support is provided to even the hardest to reach members of our community.

Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke announced the launch of the important program of work earlier this September as part of Disability Action Week activities in Townsville.

QDN is delivering the Targeted Outreach Project under the Disability Connect and Outreach Program. QDN and their project partners QCOSS and ADA, is actively building referral pathways to the Department’s Assessment and Referral Team (ART). It’s a free service that offers intensive case management to people to access to the NDIS.

A key component of the Disability Connect and Outreach Program, ART will help eligible residents in the four new locations to apply for the NDIS, as part of a dedicated effort to improve outcomes for those living with disability.

The Targeted Outreach Program and ART have been made available through a collaboration with the Commonwealth Government.

Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

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’ has now been launched. This is a practical and comprehensive conversation guide for people with disability to develop and document their preparedness planning for their individual needs in an emergency. The workbook was developed by QDN peer leaders with disability, QDN and the University of Sydney and can be found on the QDN website here: http://bit.ly/DIDRRPhase2

Two people holding a paper document

Minister O’Rourke and Peter Gurr with P-CEP Tool

Here launching the workbook. The Community Services Industry Alliance (CSIA), one of QDN’s partners in this work, are hosting a number of webinars that focus on building the capacity of community organisations and disability service providers to contribute to disability inclusive disaster risk reduction. QDN Peer Leaders Peter Tully and Nadia Brady will also be presenting alongside QDN and the University of Sydney as part of the first webinar, on 20 October.  The webinars are being held from October – December, and more information can be found on the CSIA website https://csialtd.com.au/events/

Find out more about the Disability Inclusive and Disaster Resilient Queensland project (including in easy English) here: http://bit.ly/DIDRRPhase2

Hospital Discharge Project

QDN’s Hospital Discharge Project, funded through Queensland Health, has been extended for an additional three months to 20 November 2020. Support is being provided to younger patients (under 65 years) leaving hospital with independent:

  • information
  • support
  • advocacy
  • guidance

Support is available both to people who are eligible for the NDIS and those who are not eligible. A number of people have been referred through QDN’s Targeted Outreach Project for support with NDIS access.


QDN is working with Mater Research on the EASY Health Program funded by the Independent Linkages in the Community (ILC) Mainstream Capacity Building (MCB) in Health Grant round.  EASY-Health is a qualitative research pilot programme that works with people with intellectual or developmental disability (IDD), their carers and health service staff to understand and enhance their experience in the healthcare setting. The programme will use qualitative data to produce resources and education materials that will improve experience and outcomes for people with IDD accessing mainstream healthcare and then evaluate this health service innovation

The intended outcomes of the MCB activities are:

  • increased understanding of disability and inclusion by mainstream health service personnel
  • improved inclusive, relevant, high quality health services
  • improved individual attitudes and service culture in the health service system


Connecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people with Disability


ATSIDNQ have been developing strategic partnerships with Child Safety, Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Disability Royal Commission, and NDIA.  These partnerships are assisting to embed culturally safe practices within our cohort and to encourage members to disseminate relevant information to people with disabilities, their carers, families and communities.

ADAA/ATSIDNQ is also working in partnership with QDN and QCOSS on the Targeted Outreach Project (TOP) and Power of Peers (POP) Project.  ATSIDNQ has been conducting virtual community engagements for both projects.  Maryborough and Hervey Bay will be the first region to introduce the POP program to their community.  ATSIDNQ Senior Project Officer meets regularly with QDN/QCOSS/ART to discuss challenges, barriers and success.  Continued strategic planning occurs for specific regions.

ATSIDNQ project has grown significantly with projects and administration.  This quarter ADAA/ATSIDNQ discussed the potential of an ATSIDNQ Assistant being recruited to assist with the growth.  Specific tasks will be to assist with administration, champions, ATSIDNQ database and membership.


This quarter (July-Sept)- (10) new members were signed up to the Network increasing current total membership to 1227 members as of 30/09/2020.  Low numbers this quarter are due largely to restrictions by State Health for travel to communities.


Recruited (2) new Champions for the Network. Champions have planned to continue to meet every (6) weeks.


Jul-Sept 2020 Newsletter, Edition 27 is being finalised for circulation to the members via: ATSIDNQ & QDN Website/ATSIDNQ Facebook/Membership Group Email


Submitted to the Disability Royal Commission – First Nations response to Pandemic COVID19 (ADAA/ATSIDNQ developed a survey monkey) to capture the COVID19 Pandemic. Submitted an issues paper in with the responses.

From Our friends

International research on the impact of COVID-19 on people with intellectual and developmental disability

An invitation to people to be part of this important piece of international research. Australian researcher Professor Chris Bigby, Director of the Living with Disability Research Centre, La Trobe University is the Australian co-investigator on the study. It is being led by Centre for Disability Studies, University College Dublin, Ireland, and comprises a team of 26 researchers from 19 countries.

The survey has ethics approval and is anonymous. It can be completed by people with intellectual disability, family members of people with intellectual disabilities, direct support workers or others involved in service delivery or advocacy with people with intellectual disabilities. You must be at least 18 years to participate. It is estimated the survey will take about 25 minutes to complete.

To take part in the survey, please click on the link below (or https://tinyurl.com/COVID19IDD) ,

Children and young people

The National Young People with Disability Summit is being hosted by Children and Young People with Disability Australia. Summit is being held from September 29 to October 3

It is an opportunity for young people with disability from around the country to come together for a five day on line event focusing on the issues that matter to you. It has been co-designed by young people with disability and congratulations to QDN member Allycia Staples who was a member of the national co-design committee for the event.

Check out CYDA website for more information on the summit and how to register https://www.cyda.org.au/get-involved/national-summit

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

Making complex interfaces work for the NDIS

The Hopkins Centre at Griffith University is conducting a short online survey asking NDIS participants about the management and coordination of their NDIS funded plans. The survey is open to individuals, or family and guardians of individuals, who are currently receiving a NDIS funded plan.

This survey aims to learn about your NDIS plan and what is or isn’t working well and should take around 5 minutes to complete. If you’d like to provide feedback about your NDIS plan, press control and click on the link below.

Online survey link: Tell us about managing your NDIS supports

If you have any questions about this research or have more to say on this topic (we are conducting interviews with eligible individuals from South-East Queensland), please contact Eloise Hummell (project manager) via email at e.hummell@griffith.edu.au

Community Legal Centres Queensland – Annual State Conference

White text on blue background - flyer reads State Conference 10-12 nov

Community Legal Centres Queensland (CLCQ) is holding its annual state conference online this year on 10 to 12 November. The CLCQ State Conference 2020 is for community legal workers, centre directors, lawyers, social workers, volunteers and decision-makers.

This fully interactive online conference will bring participants:

  • Compelling speakers on topical issues
  • Opportunities to network
  • Live Q&As with speakers
  • Panel discussions

The conference program provides attendees with topical content to strengthen their skills and develop their knowledge. Registered participants can pick and choose which sessions they attend – all from the comfort of their office chair (or couch!).

Tickets are $50 for members, $100 for non-members, and a group rate of $35 per person for members and $50 for non-members when purchasing three or more tickets. Secure your place now for this online conference.

Planning Inclusive Communities in Gympie

Infographic with 7 cartoon characters of all abilities smiling

Dr Lisa Stafford from QUT (Queensland University of Technology) is working with the Gympie Regional Council and people with disability in the Gympie area around sharing stories and identifying ways to plan for a more inclusive community for people with disabilities. Everyone’s participation is important as well-planned inclusive communities benefit everyone while safeguarding the rights of people with disabilities of all ages.

People who live, study, work or own a business in Gympie Regional Council Queensland are invited to participate. If you are under 18 years, you will need parent / guardian consent to be involved.

How to get involved in the first stage of the research?

Do the Questionnaire: For all people 18 years and older you can complete a 9 question survey – https://survey.qut.edu.au/f/193845/f6f3/

Do the Storyboard: For people aged 9 years and older with disability and/or chronic illness you can make a storyboard about what makes a community inclusive. The storyboard project also has the choice of having an interview with Lisa to talk about your completed storyboard. See information here https://www.planninginclusivecommunities.com/storyboard-project

Have a chat with Lisa about what inclusive community means and your ideas to make communities more inclusive. We call this a research interview. For more information phone Lisa on 07 3138 4595 or email inclusivecommunities@qut.edu.au

To find out more about the project visit https://www.planninginclusivecommunities.com/get-involved

Or for Easy English visit  https://www.planninginclusivecommunities.com/easy-english

You can also contact Lisa by phone 07 3138 4595 or email inclusivecommunities@qut.edu.au

The research is a three-year project funded by the Australian Research Council – DECRA. Gympie Regional Council is one of two Australian local councils supporting this research. QUT Ethics Approval Number: 1900000898.

National Self-Advocacy Month – From our friend at SARU

Be a part of history! Be a part of the First National Self Advocacy month! Hello to all the self-advocacy groups of Australia!

My name is Janet Curtain and I am a self-advocate from a self-advocacy group called Power in Culture and Ethnicity. We stand up for people with disability from a non-English speaking background.

I am excited to announce that the Victorian Self Advocacy Network is running a National Self Advocacy Month in November to celebrate all the great work self-advocacy has done throughout the years and to show that not even a lockdown can slow us down!!!

It is also a chance to connect with everyone across Australia and have fun together! There will be a Zoom event every week of November on a Friday afternoon.

For more information contact SARU Phone:+ 61 (3) 9639 6856

Info Email:saru@rosshouse.org.au   Website:http://saru.net.au

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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