Congratulations to all the 80 finalists, the commended, and the award recipients in the 2018 Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards. The awards were presented at the National Museum of Australia on Thursday evening, 6 December. The ACT Chief Minister’s Award for Excellence, selected from the award recipients, went to Rebus Theatre for their innovative Open Doors Open Minds project.
EMERGING YOUNG LEADER
WINNER CLARE MOORE
Clare is an emerging young leader who has a passion for human rights, disability rights, social justice and equity. She is the Chief Executive Officer at Women With Disabilities ACT (WWDACT). Clare has faced discriminations due to gender and disability,and her strength and resilience in overcoming these discriminations has developed her skills as a role model for young people with disability. Clare is not afraid to advocate for the rights of others, she leads by example and is an expert in creating an environment where others feel supported to speak up.
COMMENDATION SHAY-LEIGH WILLIS
Shay-Leigh is a young Canberra woman who has emerged as a leader in the youth and LGBTIQ+ fields. Despite living with debilitating physical illness, which frequently impacts her capacity to complete day to day tasks, Shay-leigh is currently studying a Diploma in Community services and operating in a leadership role in the youth group Queer Youth Together. Shay-Leigh has demonstrated her leadership skills through her membership of the ACT Youth Advisory Council, and is the youngest person in the history of Diversity ACT to serve on the Executive of the Management Committee. Her lived experience is invaluable to ensuring that the voices of young people and people with disability are considered in decision making.
ACHIEVEMENT IN INCLUSION
WINNER ROBERT ALTAMORE
Robert Altamore OAM is a person with disability and a carer who, following a career in law and the public service, has worked for nine years as Executive Officer of People With Disabilities ACT (PWD ACT). Robert is a leader in the inclusion of people with disability and an advocate for disability rights and better accessibility in the ACT. Robert’s involvement in various organisations within the community sector, including the Committee of the Canberra Blind Society, the Radio 1RPH (Radio for the Print Handicapped) Committee and the ACT Disability Advisory Council, has enabled him to build connections and gain invaluable knowledge in the disability space. He has been dedicated to advocating for inclusion for over 35 years in the Canberra community.
EXCELLENCE IN MAKING INCLUSION HAPPEN
WINNER PAUL MUGAMBI
Paul is a blind Masters student at the Australian National University (ANU) originally from Kenya. Paul hosts a weekly segment, The Ability Show, on Woroni Radio (ANU’s student radio station). His show aims to educate people in the ANU community by raising awareness and giving students living with disability a platform to discuss their experiences. Paul is involved with People With Disabilities ACT (PWD ACT) and currently serves as the Secretary of the organisation.He is a leader in inclusion and an advocate for better services, uniting community through his radio program. He has shown commitment through his work in educating the ANU and wider community on disability issues and services.
COMMENDATION LOUISE ELLERY
Louise is an elite athlete, film-maker, public speaker and role model who demonstrates excellence in all she does. As an athlete in the field of women’s shot put, Louise has won numerous medals as a Paralympian including a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Louise’s Canberra-made short film “With Little Hope”, inspired by her experiences, has won local and international acclaim. She is a compelling public speaker with an engaging and charismatic presence, and little patience for the discriminatory, rude or patronising treatment people with disability often experience. Louise makes a difference in her community by speaking out on disability issues and breaking down stereotypes. She leads the Canberra community by example and through storytelling to be a society that celebrates and enables people with disability to reach their full potential as active citizens with equal rights.
INCLUSION IN PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYMENT
WINNER GINNINDERRY TEAM, RIVERVIEW PROJECTS
The Ginninderry project team of Riverview Projects has permanently employed two staff members with disability, Kathryn and Peter, as office assistants at the Ginninderry project office and multipurpose community centre. Riverview Projects employs Kathryn and Peter on administrative award wages in a conscious decision to acknowledge their contribution to the workplace being as important as any other team member.The team has created an inclusive environment and a sense of community within the workplace, valuing and respecting all members of staff. Kathryn and Peter’s roles in the team have allowed them to become more independent. All Ginninderry project staff are involved in assisting and mentoring Peter and Kathryn, which has enriched the experience of the whole team.
INCLUSION IN PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYMENT
WINNER TRANSPORT CANBERRA AND CITY SERVICES
Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) has become a leader in the public sector for inclusion in employment for people with disability and advocating for more accessibility in the community. TCCS has developed a range of diversity employment strategies to create a more inclusive society by removing barriers to employment for people with disability. TCCS believes that when their workplace reflects the diverse community of Canberra, they are in a better position to provide their services to the ACT. They have found that employees with disability have lower rates of absenteeism, fewer work health and safety incidents and lower workers compensation costs, which increases efficiency and the cost effectiveness of their service. TCCS has used multiple and diverse strategies to employ and support staff remove barriers to people with disability and create a more inclusive Canberra.
INCLUSION IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING
WINNER MEGAN CAMPBELL AT THE EDUCATION DIRECTORATE
Everyone Everyday is a national award winning Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program that supports schools to create inclusive school environments for the benefit of all students, including students with complex needs and challenging behaviour. Megan was a part of the team that originally developed the Everyone Everyday resource and has been the relentless driver behind a partnership between the Education Directorate, Catholic Education and the Association of Independent Schools ACT to develop a cross sectoral train-the-trainer model to deliver the program to teachers, school leaders and learning support assistants across the ACT Education system. The program is shaping the future of inclusiveness in education. Hundreds of teachers have been trained in how to explicitly teach for inclusion and 20 teachers across the school sectors have been trained to deliver the professional learning program in their own schools.
WINNER ANGELA LUCHETTI AND SAINT VINCENT’S PRIMARY SCHOOL
Angela has shown exceptional commitment to her student with disability in creating an inclusive environment at Saint Vincent’s Primary School. Her student’s parents have strived for their child to be in a mainstream school setting where she can feel she is a part of the community. Angela requested for her student to be in her class when she first arrived at the school and has dedicated time to assist her in achieving her goals. She has been instrumental in facilitating her social inclusion and has made her schooling a wonderful experience.
INCLUSION IN BUSINESS
WINNER KROFNE DONUTS
Krofne is a social enterprise specialising in making Croatianstyle hand crafted donuts. They currently employ six people with disability in Canberra and are expanding to recruit another six people by the end of the year. The owners of Krofne were inspired to form the business to assist their son who has Down syndrome. They aim to create an environment for people with disability to feel valued and included in the community. They are advocates for inclusion and diversity in the workforce, and their work assists those with an intellectual disability to learn new skills for their development and employment beyond Krofne.
COMMENDATION ASTRAL FLOAT STUDIO
Astral Float Studio, Canberra’s first float centre, became Australia’s first fully accessible float studio with a $100,000 fit-out for access and mobility. It includes two custom designed open float baths for those who have challenges getting in to a float tank, a custom-made patient lifter above one float bath, as well as accessible entrances and a spare wheelchair to prevent customers’ wheelchairs from salt water damage. Astral Float Studio are committed to continuing to provide inclusive services by developing a Disability Inclusion Action Plan, providing necessary training for their staff, installing hearing loops, Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSIs) and Braille signage, and introducing online product assistance via TTY relay services.
EXCELLENCE IN INNOVATION
WINNER THE HUB AT CARERS ACT
The Hub is a program developed by Carers ACT for young adults up to 40 years of age who have mild to moderate intellectual disability to support community access and independent living skills. The program has been ongoing for 18 months and includes a breakfast club, a gym club, and an initiative for members to undertake their own shopping. This program has improved independence and social inclusion for people with disability. A number of members have gained employment through their successful outcomes. The Hub aims to create a future where participants are included in community life and supported by all members of the community to interact and engage. Participants have experienced growth in various aspects of their lives and the program has been a great success in achieving its aims.
COMMENDATION THE DISABILITY TRUST
The Disability Trust are creative, motivated and passionate about supporting people with disability to achieve their goals. They work closely with clients to improve skills and motivation and to engage more actively in their chosen tasks. This is an organisation whose creative ideas have changed people’s lives. One such idea has led to the development of a tool that can be used to assess correct funding and support levels for individuals. The data from the app can then inform NDIS planning for the future supports.
EXCELLENCE IN CHAMPIONING HUMAN RIGHTS
WINNER REBUS THEATRE
Rebus Theatre is a not-for-profit organisation consisting of people with and without disability. Their Open Doors Open Minds project is an inclusion training program which was delivered to staff and volunteers of 52 community clubs and organisations, and employees of ten government departments in Canberra. Open Doors Open Minds involved creating an interactive performance using stories gathered from people with disability around the challenges they face in accessing meaningful participation in community activities. The program empowered 25 people with disability to facilitate wider public conversation about access and inclusion through sharing their stories and vision for the community. It celebrates people with disability as the experts in their own inclusion.
WINNER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ACT
People With Disabilities ACT (PWDACT) is an organisation owned and run by people with disability, advocating for human rights in the areas of education rights, housing, transport, health care, employment and disability parking. The organisation has been a champion of human rights for people with disability for 38 years in the ACT. The organisation has campaigned on disability issues and their work has resulted in both major parties including disability issues in their policies. PWDACT are actively involved in the political process, making submissions to key Assembly inquiries on employment for people with disability and the implementation of the NDIS in the ACT. People with disability are at the forefront of the organisation as committee members, employees and leaders of advocacy.
EXCELLENCE IN VOLUNTEER SUPPORT
WINNER JOYCE AND ALBERT GREEN
Joyce and Albert are a wife and husband team who have been running a golf program for over ten years. Joyce is the manager and Albert is the head coach. They have a son with intellectual disability and support others with intellectual disability to play sport weekly. They have been involved in Special Olympics for over 20 years and take their athletes all over NSW to participate in competitions. Now in their 70’s, they turn up to the Narrabundah range every week to ensure that the golfers get to practice their game. They also have a group of volunteers assisting them.
EXCELLENCE IN SUPPORT WORK
WINNER HELEN CONNOLLY
Helen is the Manager of Special Projects at the ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Service (ADACAS). Her team works alongside disability advocacy groups to inform people on how they can take control of decisions integral to their lives. She has helped pioneer the Supported Decision Making model, which has helped to place people with disability and other vulnerable people at the centre of the decisions which impact their daily lives. Her work at ADACAS is just one of many accomplishments in supporting the community. She has had a direct impact on the lives of many who have benefited from her empowering support to take more control over their choices.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN SUPPORT WORK
WINNER CHRIS REDMOND
Chris is the Chief Executive Officer of Woden Community Services (WCS). He has worked tirelessly over the years as a passionate advocate for the community sector in Canberra, and has shaped and influenced policy in the ACT leading to positive outcomes for all. His work in the disability space during his time at WCS has involved the establishment of a social enterprise café at Woden Library, employing ten people with disability; delivering the Local Area Coordination Service in collaboration with Belconnen Community Service over four years; a hoarding response for those with a hoarding disorder including the establishment of a peer led support group; developing the Transition to Recovery program to support people stepping down from hospital following a mental illness episode; delivering the Next Step program in partnership with CatholicCare for people with anxiety and depression; and delivering the Way Back service in partnership with beyondblue and ACT Health for people who have attempted suicide. Chris is highly respected by both his staff and his peers for his contributions to the community sector. He has influenced many leaders in the field and has generously donated his time to train and inspire a large number of staff to remain in the sector.
INNOVATION IN DESIGN TO CREATE INCLUSION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY
WINNER RENAISSANCE HOMES
Renaissance Homes is a residential housing company in the ACT which has become a leader in the construction industry for designing innovative, accessible homes tailored to meet the needs of clients living with disability. The founders, Andrew Kerec and his father Lud, were inspired to start the business following a cycling accident which left Lud with quadriplegia. They experienced the problem of finding suitable housing for Lud’s recovery and they subsequently found that he was unable to visit many of their friends and relatives due to the inaccessible design of their houses. The homes they construct are safer, easier and more enjoyable for all to occupy, particularly for those with disability and mobility limitation. They have won numerous awards for their designs including a recent MBA award for a special purpose dwelling built for a client with quadriplegia in Forde.
COMMENDATION MARYMEAD AUTISM CENTRE
Marymead’s Autism Centre has become the main source of support for children and families with Autism in Canberra. They provide many innovative programs for those on the Autism Spectrum as well as providing respite for families. Their Access Days Program in particular is an outstanding example of innovation in design to achieve inclusion. The Access Days Program is not about providing an insular specialist disability service, rather it focusses on creating an environment in the broader community that is comfortable and supported for people with autism and their families to fully participate. The program upskills businesses, sporting and community groups and organisations to better include people on the Autism Spectrum. The strong program team work closely with the Autism Advisory Group to ensure a community voice founded on lived experience and a broad range of expertise.