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.

We are calling on QDN members to help build better homes for all Australians

In early 2021, Building Ministers from across Australia will meet to consider whether to include mandatory minimum accessibility standards in the National Building Code. This decision will affect hundreds of thousands of Australians who cannot currently find appropriate housing.

This will be a critical decision for the hundreds of thousands of Australians with mobility impairments who cannot get access to housing that meets their needs.

Changes to the National Building Code will then come into effect in all states and territories on 1 September 2022.

The Building Better Homes Campaign is a coalition of peak bodies and agencies working to secure mandatory accessibility standards within the National Building Code.

QDN are asking our members to support the Building Better Homes Campaign by signing and sharing the petition to the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Chair of the Building Ministers Meeting. This petition will be presented to the Building Ministers Forum at the end of February. Their signatures will strengthen the call for change.

Alternatively, you can email our Building Ministers to inform them of your support for a minimum access standard for housing in the National Construction Code.

To sign the petition and/or email the Building Ministers click here.

We’ve been talking a lot about Independent assessments, and we aren’t stopping just yet.

Since our last update, The Commonwealth Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS has decided to conduct an inquiry into independent assessments under the NDIS.

The committee is now inviting submissions from people with disability, families, and carers; allied health professionals; and representative organisations.

Submissions that provide information about individual cases or complaints can help the committee to find broader issues for investigation.

The Committee will pay attention to:

– the development, modelling, reasons, and justifications for the introduction of independent assessments into the NDIS

– the independence, qualifications, training, expertise, availability, and quality assurance of assessors

– the appropriateness of the assessment tools

– the use of independent assessments for access to, and eligibility decisions, as well as to determine what might be reasonable and necessary support

– exemptions, reviews, and challenges to their use including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, those living in regional, remote and very remote areas, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with particular disabilities

– opportunities to review or challenge the outcomes of independent assessments

– any other related matters.

Click here to find more information about submissions can be found online.

You must provide your submission by 31 March 2021.

QDN will also be providing a submission if you want to contribute to this. Please contact QDN by email at or by phone on 1300 363 783.

If you need more time, you should contact the Joint Standing  Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. You will find the contact details below:

Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: +61 2 6277 3083
Fax: +61 2 6277 5829

Click here for more information about the inquiry into Independent Assessment.