QDN e-News 24 October 2023

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QDN Member Survey

This survey follows the format of our previous surveys, aiming to gather your feedback regarding what is currently functioning effectively, areas that require change, and suggestions for potential improvements. The 2023 Member Survey also incorporates a series of questions designed to solicit your input on QDN's strategic priorities and direction.

To participate in the survey, please click the link below:


Applications open for interstate P-CEP Peer Leadership project 

Are you someone with disability who lives in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Australian Capital Territory or Western Australia? You’re invited to apply to become a leader in the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) Peer Leadership Program. 

The program is developed by QDN and the University of Sydney and supports learning in Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) and Peer Leadership. If you take part in the program, you will learn how to use the P-CEP Workbook to make your own emergency plan and help other people with disability in your community to learn about the P-CEP Workbook and use it to get ready for emergencies. 

Call QDN on 1300 363 783 or email the team at didrr@qdn.org.au for more information. 

More information and apply here.

National COVID-19 Update

In September 2023, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) issued new COVID-19 vaccination guidelines, recommending a booster dose for eligible groups who have had their last vaccination six months ago. Specifically, adults aged 75 years or older are advised to receive the additional dose if it has been six months since their last COVID-19 vaccination. 

ATAGI's advice also suggests that a booster vaccination should be considered for individuals at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. This includes people with disabilities and those with compromised immune systems, provided it has been six months since their previous vaccination. 

More information is available here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Decision

On Thursday 21 September 2023, Acting Director-General of Queensland Health, Michael Walsh announced the decision to repeal the mandatory requirement for Queensland Health and Queensland Ambulance Service employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The decision comes into effect on Monday, 25 September 2023 followed by a two-week implementation period to address concerns locally within HHSs. 

The decision was based on advice from the Chief Health Officer and ATAGI, and feedback from employees, industrial partners and patient safety advocacy groups. The contents of stakeholder submissions were given careful consideration, and the collective feedback demonstrated support to remove the mandate. 

While the decision has been made to remove the vaccination mandate, Queensland Health remains committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of staff, patients and the broader community against infectious diseases. 

More information is available here.

Safer Pathways survey

RACQ's Safer Pathways survey aims to better understand how its members walk, cycle, and use personal mobility devices and scooters. RACQ will use the Safer Pathways survey findings to: 

  • Understand hot spots across the active transport network. 
  • Advocate for a better active transport network and facilities. 
  • Help road authorities prioritise new projects and upgrades. 

You can complete the survey here.

Policy update 

Policy Update, there is a image of a tick in a box with an arrow coming out the side of the box and circling around back to point at the box.

Disability Royal Commission

Queenslanders with Disability Network welcomes the release of the final report of the Disability Royal Commision into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (link to Final Report | Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability). We acknowledge the contributions made by our members over the past four years. 

The Report contains information and stories that may be distressing. The Royal Commission Counselling Line is open with 30 minutes of free counselling by phoning 1800 421 468. 

Inclusion Australia has developed an Easy Read version explaining some of the recommendations here (link to DRC-big-recommendations-Easy-Read.pdf (inclusionaustralia.org.au)).  

Here at QDN we have been analysing the 222 recommendations in the report. These recommendations include what government, organisations and the community should do to create a more inclusive society free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability 

The report calls for an end to segregation in specialist schools, Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) and group homes. The Commissioners didn’t agree unanimously on segregation and have made statements on pages 47-68 of Volume 7: Inclusive education, employment and housing of the Final Report. The Report sets recommended targets for: 

  • ADEs to close by 2034 
  • Group homes to close by 2038 
  • Specialist schools by 2051. 

This is long term change and there are recommendations for how this may happen including transition pathways, supports, advocacy and system level change. 

Here are some of the issues QDN has been working towards that are addressed in the recommendations: 


There are 12 recommendations relating to health overall, including: 

  • Improved access to quality health care including specialised health and mental health services particularly for people with cognitive disability 
  • Improve training and workforce development in cognitive disability healthcare 
  • Expansion of the National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability 
  • Introduce and audit disability health navigators that support people with cognitive disability and complex health needs access health services 
  • Studies on impacts of positive behaviour support and reduction of restrictive practices 
  • Annual reports on inappropriate use of psychotropic medications with follow up actions  
  • State-based prohibition of non-therapeutic sterilisation.  


There are 12 recommendations relating to housing overall, including: 

  • Slowly phasing out group homes within 15 years. The recommendation is to complete this in stages and includes transition support, keeping up with the supply of inclusive housing and improving group home practices. 
  • Moving away from the same provider to provide Supported Independent Living and Specialist Disability Accommodation 
  • Tenancy and occupancy protections 
  • Residential services standards and safety 
  • Strengthening models of practice implemented by disability providers in group homes such as having active supports for social interaction, community participation and inclusion.  
  • The Australian Government to prioritise people with disability in key housing-related agreements.  
  • Increasing the accessibility of the social housing allocation process 
  • State and territory governments committing to increasing housing accessibility, supply of accessible housing, and 
  • Improving responses to homelessness of people with disability. 

Access to the Final report here. 

Inclusive Employment 

There are 17 recommendations relating to improving employment opportunities and standards including increasing wages, employment targets for government and agencies and ending segregated employment by changing the Disability Employment Services model. 

Human Rights  

The report recommends a new Australian Disability Rights Act be implemented to make sure Australia follows the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD). 


  • Additional funding for the National Disability Advocacy Program and NDIS Appeals Program 
  • Greater access to advocacy and increased self-advocacy skills 
  • Increasing culturally safe advocacy for First Nations, LGBTQA+ and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people with disability. 

Improved Services and Systems 

  • Disability service providers have robust policies and procedures and transparency 
  • Better screening and recruitment processes for disability support workers 
  • Stronger regulation of NDIS-funded services at NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission 
  • More ways in each State to report complaints and get referrals and support 
  • Nationally consistent reportable conduct schemes to prevent and respond to abuse against children with disability 
  • Updating State and Federal Disability strategies to align with the Disability Royal Commission recommendations 
  • New Australian Government portfolio, senior ministerial position and department dedicated to disability leadership in government  
  • A new National Disability Agreement 
  • Establishing a National Disability Commission to improve the way systems work and better protect people’s human rights.  

First Nations people with disability 

We also welcome 13 recommendations to improve the lives of First Nations people with disability including a First Nations Disability Forum and removing barriers and creating more culturally safe services and supports across all systems. 

What’s next? 

The Australian Government has 6 months to consider the recommendations and will set up a Royal Commission Taskforce to help them decide what steps to take next. 

QDN will continue working collaboratively with our members, government, organisations and advocates to respond to the recommendations that matter most to you. 

We will bring you updates and information in the weeks and months ahead.  

Royal Commission comes to a close after four and a half year

The final edition of the Disability Royal Commission Connect newsletter was released on 22nd September and includes powerful articles from the ceremonial closing sitting, which marked the end of the public hearing program.  

Some of the articles covered in the newsletter were about the integration of people with disability living and working alongside non-disabled people, group homes failing to keep people safe, the power of evidence through storytelling, the importance of intersectionality being addressed to understand disability, inclusive education systems, and poetry by award winning poet Andy Jackson.  

Read the newsletter here.

Final Report handed down

The Royal Commission has put forward a total of 222 recommendations aimed at enhancing laws, policies, structures, and practices. These recommendations are intended to create a more inclusive and equitable society that upholds the independence of individuals with disabilities while safeguarding their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation. 

All volumes of the Final Report are accessible in various formats, and you can click on a specific volume to view and download these formats. Printed copies of the Final Report can also be requested from the Royal Commission’s ‘order resources’ page. 

The Royal Commission has released a concise Guide to the Final Report, which clarifies how information is organised within the report. This guide is designed for a wide audience, including individuals with disabilities, their families, caregivers, other members of the Australian community, disability advocates, service providers, and those seeking quick access to relevant information. 

Additionally, the Royal Commission has issued a brochure titled "Listening to First Nations people with disability." This brochure outlines the insights gathered from First Nations people with disabilities, along with their families and communities, regarding the challenges they face. It also highlights the necessary changes to create a more inclusive Australia where First Nations people with disabilities are fully integrated. 

Find out more information and access the report here.

Disability Royal Commission counselling service

If you have been affected by the Disability Royal Commission or its final report, counselling support is available until 31 December 2023. This support is available for people with disability, their families and carers. You can access up to half an hour of free counselling support. You can contact the service for free on 1800 421 468 and you can access this number through the National Relay Services and/or the Translating and Interpreting Service. 

More information is available here.

Chair says urgent and comprehensive response required.

In the last ceremonial sitting of the Royal Commission, Chair of the Royal Commission, the Honourable Ronald Sackville AO KC stated, “It has been a privilege, and very often deeply moving, to hear of experiences that should have never occurred in a society that values diversity, fairness and the principles of equality.” 

Sackville stated that an urgent and comprehensive response is required from all Australian governments in response to the Disability Royal Commission. He reiterated the importance of all the information and research from the Commission being used to prevent injustices from continuing to occur and for recommendations to be applied in practice and implemented across the board.  

More information is available here.

Overview of Housing Recommendations in the Final Report from the Disability Royal Commission 

Key themes of the Housing Recommendations in the Disability Royal Commission Final Report include: 

  • Slowly phasing out group homes within 15 years. The recommendation is to complete this in stages and includes transition support, keeping up with the supply of inclusive housing and improving group home practices. 
  • Moving away from the same provider to provide Supported Independent Living and Specialist Disability Accommodation 
  • Tenancy and occupancy protections 
  • Residential services standards and safety 
  • Strengthening models of practice implemented by disability providers in group homes such as having active supports for social interaction, community participation and inclusion.  
  • The Australian Government to prioritise people with disability in key housing-related agreements.  
  • Increasing the accessibility of the social housing allocation process 
  • State and territory governments committing to increasing housing accessibility, supply of accessible housing, and 
  • Improving responses to homelessness of people with disability. 

Access to the Final report here.

Livable Housing  

Commencing on October 1, 2023, the Liveable Housing Design Standard (LHDS) will be gradually introduced. Between July 6 and August 31, 2020 there was a period of public consultation aimed at incorporating minimum accessibility standards for housing into the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022. 

In April 2021 a consensus was reached among the majority of building ministers to include minimum accessibility standards for both residential housing and apartments in the NCC 2022. This led to the implementation of the 2009 National Dialogue on Universal Housing Design, which had set a target of achieving full integration of accessible housing features in new residences by 2020. This commitment garnered wide-ranging support from key industry associations, community advocates, and governmental bodies. 

More information is available here and here.

First 2000 days: the opportunity of a lifetime 

The Queensland Clinical Senate has released a report with 14 recommendations following their meeting on 'The first 2000 days: the opportunity of a lifetime.' The report focused on the first 2000 days of a child’s life. The recommendations in the report address various aspects, from improving pre-conception care to adopting a whole-of-government approach. The key focus is on the initial 2000 days of life, aiming to maximize preventive impact on lifelong health outcomes, enhance the sustainability of the healthcare system, and promote healthcare access and equity. The Senate believes these recommendations will complement existing services for new and young families. The development of these recommendations involved extensive effort and collaboration with key partners. The Senate emphasises the importance of the first 2000 days in a child's life and the opportunity it presents for meaningful change and improved outcomes for children and families.  

More information and report here.

Disability Sector Unites in Support of Voice to Parliament 

The disability sector has joined forces with First Nations people to introduce an Easy Read rendition of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. This Easy Read statement has been crafted by the First Peoples Disability Network in collaboration with First Nations peoples and those with intellectual disabilities. 

This marks a crucial milestone in ensuring that the Uluru Statement is accessible to everyone, earning substantial support from a broad spectrum of the disability community. The Easy Read statement expands upon pre-existing community-translated materials related to the Voice to Parliament, offering Plain English, Auslan, and accessible video interpretations. 

Organisations such as the First Nations Disability Network, People with Disability Australia, Disability Advocacy Network Australia, Inclusion Australia, the Australian Disability Dialogue, and their members, including the Council for Intellectual Disability, VALiD, Life Without Barriers, and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, have all pledged to utilise their networks to raise awareness, foster understanding, and provide reassurance regarding the Voice and the Referendum. 

More information is available here.

Easy Read copy available here.

Funding announcement to support Australians with autism 

The Australian Government has extended funding of $4 million for Autism CRC for the 2023-24 period. Autism CRC is an independent organisation that provides evidence for best practices relating to autism across the spectrum and lifespan.  

More information is available here.  

New Affordable Housing Legislation passes the Parliament 

The passing of the Australian Government’s latest housing legislation marks the most significant investment in affordable and social housing in over a decade. This legislation paves the way for the establishment of the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund, ensuring a consistent and reliable source of funding for social and affordable rental housing. 

The Housing Australia Future Fund is set to facilitate the Government's commitment to constructing 30,000 new social and affordable rental homes within the fund's initial five-year period. This initiative includes the provision of 4,000 homes for women and children affected by family and domestic violence, as well as older women facing the risk of homelessness. 

Moreover, the Fund will address pressing housing needs, allocating resources such as: 

  • $200 million for the upkeep, maintenance, and enhancement of housing in remote First Nations communities. 
  • $100 million for crisis and transitional housing for women and children impacted by family and domestic violence, along with older women susceptible to homelessness. 
  • $30 million for the construction of housing to assist veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

More information is available here.  

New homes being built to all be accessible  

From Sunday 1 October 2023 new homes in Queensland and Northern Territory will be built to LHA silver standards. The fact that from next week, new homes in these two jurisdictions will include accessible features is a testament to the commitment and work of many people over many years. 

While these are relatively minor adjustments to the building code, they will make a huge difference to millions of Australians. Over the next twelve months, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia will all follow suit and implement these standards, meaning that by 2025 close to 150,000 new homes will be built across the country each year that are accessible to all.  

State/Territory           Adoption Date 

ACT                                            14 January 2024 

Victoria                                    1 May 2024 

Tasmania                              1 October 

South Australia              1 October 2024 

More information is available here: https://www.buildingbetterhomes.org.au/  

Expressions of Interest to join a national Lived Experience Advisory Council on Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence 

The Australian Government is seeking expressions of interest from people with lived or living experience of domestic, family and sexual violence. There will be up to 12 members appointed to the advisory council which will advise the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Commission, to help improve domestic, family and sexual violence systems, policies and services/service responses. Additionally, it will track the advancement toward achieving the goals outlined in the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-23 and oversee the implementation of the plan. 

Expressions of interest are live and will remain open until 11:59pm on Friday 29th of December.  

More information is available here.   

NDIS Quality and Safeguards  

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has become aware of certain providers engaging in discriminatory pricing practices. These practices lead to instances where some NDIS participants are charged significantly higher prices for identical products and services compared to individuals who are not part of the scheme. 

To assist both participants and providers in recognising and addressing potentially unfair practices, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has created two informative resources: one for Participants and another for Providers. Additionally, they have revised their comprehensive Guidance for the Code of Conduct. These materials are readily available on their website. 

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has also established a dedicated email address, pricehelp@ndiscommission.gov.au, to handle inquiries and concerns related to pricing disparities. In the near future, they will be assembling a specialised team within the complaints department to effectively handle and respond to complaints regarding these matters. 

More information and NDIS Code of Conduct Guidance document is available here.  

Release of the Employment White Paper  

The Australian Government's "Working Future" White Paper, released in September, outlines a vision for an inclusive labour market with secure, well-paid work for all. Five key objectives include achieving full employment, promoting job security and wage growth, boosting productivity, addressing skills needs, and removing employment barriers. The White Paper serves as a roadmap for future reforms and actions to position Australia's labour market for success. An Easy Read Fact Sheet will be available soon.  

 More information and access to the paper is available here.  

Women with Disabilities Australia Workshops  

The Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) LEAD team is hosting a three-part workshop series beginning the week of October 30th, featuring LEAD Project Officer Rhiannon. These workshops will delve into the significance of Public Decision Making, discussing topics like intersectionality, representation, and active participation in the process. The workshops are scheduled for October 30th, November 1st, and November 2nd, from 1 pm to 2 pm AEDT, conducted online via Zoom with live captions available. Registration is open, and while spots are limited, all sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the WWDA website. Each workshop will include Auslan interpretation and live captioning for accessibility. Ensure to register promptly to secure your spot and don't miss this valuable opportunity. 

More information including how to register here 


What's on

Peer Support Groups

  • Gold Coast Hot Topics Group, Friday 3 November 10:30am – 12:30pm @ Southport Community Centre, 6 Lwson St, Southport
  • Gympie Peer Support Group, Friday 3 November 9:30am – 11:30am @ Gunabul Homestead, 9 Power Road, Southside, Gympie
  • QDN Y (Youth) Peer Support Group, Monday 6 November 4:00pm – 5:30pm @ Online Via Zoom
  • MAC (65+) Peer Support Group, Wednesday 8 November 10:30am – 12:30pm @ QDN office 338 Turbot Street Spring Hill and Online Via Zoom
  • Gladstone Peer Support Group, Tuesday 7 November 12:30pm – 1:30pm @ Phillip Street Family and Community Precinct
  • Gold Coast Peer Support Group, Friday 10 November 10:30am – 12:30pm @ Nerang Library, 8 White St, Nerang and Online via Zoom.
  • Townsville Peer Support Group, Friday 10 November 10:00am – 12:00pm @ Independence Advocacy Townsville, 1-3 Barlow St, Townsville

Get Ready, Plan Ahead Workshops in Logan 

These free workshops are specifically designed to support people with disability how to prepare for emergencies, including floods, cyclones, bushfires, and heatwaves. These workshops are presented by people with disability, for people with disability. Workshops are designed to be inclusive and accessible to everyone. The Logan workshops are delivered in two parts (Part A and Part B) across six different locations between October 2023 and March 2024. 

Register here: https://www.logan.qld.gov.au/pcep-workshops 

QDN Membership

If you or someone you know would like to be a QDN member apply here:  https://qdn.org.au/membership/qdn-member-application/

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