As the world prepares to celebrate International Day of People with Disability on December 3, Carers Queensland’s campaign ‘Celebrating Inclusion. Creating Opportunities’ focuses on highlighting and celebrating the changes already taking shape in communities.
In addition to shining a spotlight on the achievements of people with disability, Carers Queensland is challenging misconceptions and exploring opportunities to work with and learn from people with disability to understand what inclusion looks like to them.
As one of the largest National Disability Insurance Scheme Local Area Partners in the Community in Australia, Carers Queensland has a key role to play in helping to raise the profile of people with disability in our communities, their achievements, their voice, their needs and their aspirations.
Carers Queensland supports more than 55,000 people across our service areas in South-East and Central Queensland to access and use their National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan.
We also receive calls from more than 40,000 people with disability, their families and carers, and the community each year and assist them to connect with the NDIS and other disability support and information.
Everyday Carers Queensland creates opportunities for people with disability to achieve their goals and live fulfilling and connected lives.
Importantly, we don’t just talk about disability inclusion and accessibility; we are actively making it happen for some of the 4.4 million Australians living with disability.
Carers Queensland’s board chairman Jim Toohey said Carers Queensland’s Local Area Coordination (LAC) program is working to create an Australia where people with disability are valued and included in their communities.
“We have a strong focus on individual capacity building and self-advocacy, social participation and partnership with mainstream services. We partner with government agencies, local councils and services, business and industry, community groups and sporting clubs to do this,” he said.
“In our work across Queensland, we are working hard to build inclusive communities with our driving inclusive change projects, such as the work we are doing in championing inclusive community gardens and working with First Nations communities.
“We amplify the voices of people with disability through our Choice and Control podcast series, and our Good News Stories, which centre the voice of people with disability, and showcase their skills and talents.
“We also ensure that people with disability have opportunities for social and economic participation through our Be Your Own Boss Microbusiness project, and our Inclusive Business and Volunteering projects.
“We are proud to recognise and build upon the strengths and capability of people with disability in the work we are doing in our Online Learning Program.”
As part of its IDPwD 2022 awareness campaign, Carers Queensland is hosting a special event in Brisbane to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disability and promote awareness, understanding and acceptance in our community.
The inaugural event, to be held at Victoria Park in Herston on Thursday December 1, is an opportunity for invited guests to hear from people with disability who are breaking down barriers, achieving their dreams, and building a more connected and inclusive community.
Panellists include fashion blogger and disability advocate Suzanne Dang, wheelchair motocross champion Tim Lachlan, Paralympian and teaching assistant Alberto Campbell, and researcher and academic on the spectrum Barb Cook.
Speakers will focus on the broad theme of ‘removing barriers’ and celebrate successes in advocating for or making changes to improve access and inclusion for people with disability.
Guests will also enjoy a special screening of two short films ‘We’ll Always Have Dance’ and ‘Sunshine’ and hear from two of the films’ stars.
The movies were produced by Bus Stop Films, a non-profit organisation that uses filmmaking and the film industry to raise the profile of people living with disabilities and other marginalised groups, on both sides of the camera.
Meanwhile, Carers Queensland’s Logan team is hosting a special event on December 3, with the Celebrating International Day of People with Disability event at Slacks Creek open to the public. Attendees will hear from guest speakers with disability, including Shane Falconer, and enjoy music from Ikuna Voices, a local choir group made up of people living with visual impairments.
Our team in Rockhampton is also hosting an event on December 3, International Day of People with Disability: CQ Capras & Early Childhood Transition Rockhampton. CQ Capras All-Abilities is a program that embraces the unique skills, capabilities and potential of every young person involved to encourage participation and interaction.
While children are taking part in the All-Abilities activities, their parents are invited to chat with Carers Queensland representatives about the NDIS and the transition from the Early Childhood Approach to the Local Area Coordination program.
Carers Queensland believes the voices of people with disability should be amplified every day, not just on International Day of People with Disability.
To make sure this happens, we have our sight set firmly on a future where the inclusion of people with disability in every aspect of life is the norm, and accessible industry, employment, education, and communities is business as usual.
But we’re not just working to make a difference externally, Carers Queensland prides itself on being an inclusive employer, with approximately one third of staff in our NDIS LAC Partner in the Community program identifying as having disability.
We are committed to supporting staff with disability at all levels and appreciate the unique insight our staff with lived experience of disability bring to the work we do. Carers Queensland’s newly formed Inclusion Network, made up of a network of staff with disability, are committed to drawing on their collective experience to take our accessibility and inclusion to the next level.
They also meet regularly to support new and existing staff with disability, build disability awareness both within the organisation and in the wider community, and to ensure that equity and inclusion are built into everything we do, from the ground up.
We invite you to join us on 3 December to celebrate the contributions and achievements of all Australians with disability.
Why not start or join a conversation in your community to challenge stereotypes, break down barriers and encourage inclusive attitudes and behaviours.
We all have a role to play in ensuring people with disability have the opportunity to reach their full potential and participate in all aspects of community life.
Let’s all take action this December, and all year round, to make our community more inclusive.
You can find more IDPwD events and activities by visiting Carers Queensland’s Event page.