March / April 2022
Disability Information Services by People with Disability Toowoomba and Southern Queensland
Volume 2, Issue 105
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Highlights March / April 2022
07 10 13 14 17 18
Kevin Coombs OAM
Disability Strategy 2021-2031
Changing the Landscape
Local Area Coordination
We just have to do better Cover Page Bronwyn Herbertson Amazing
Photo by WhatsUp
Steven Paull JP (Qual) President Page 2
The Editor’s Desk The election for Groom In 2016 my friend Bronwyn Herbertson stood for the Federal Seat of Groom against the sitting LNP member John McVeigh. Bronnie invited me to attend her maiden speech at the Norville Hotel where she was introduced by Labor Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Chris Bowen.
When Bronnie commenced her speech, Chris Bowen came up and stood next to me and commented, “Isn’t it great to see so many members in red tonight?” My response “Don’t be misled by my presence here, I’m not supporting the Labor Party, I’m supporting my good friend.” That’s just what friends do for each other, no politics.
Facts about Queensland border COVID-19 operations 3.3 million online border pass declarations 3.68 million vehicles checked at road borders 35,902 vehicles turned around at the border 20,247 people directed in quarantine at the border 29,336 domestic flights met by police 1.8 million passengers checked from incoming domestic flights 4,452 people refused entry domestically 64,466 passengers directed into quarantine from domestic flights 4,112 international flights met by police 117,182 passengers checked from incoming international flights
Love Food - Hate Waste Queenslanders are being asked to adopt new strategies to avoid wasting food and to divert unwanted organic material away from landfill to be recycled. By 2030, we want to halve the amount of food waste generated, divert 80% of the organic material going to landfill, and achieve a 70 per cent recycling rate for organics. Further information is available on Page 25
Steven Paull JP (Qual) President WhatsUp in Disability
WhatsUp The I first met Bronwyn when our boys were playing junior AFL and struck up a friendship made all the more engaging as Bronwyn has been an active and passionate advocate for all things disability and the human services sector for many years and we share that passion. Here I talk about her achievements and motivations: How did you come to be involved in the disability sector? Like many people, I started working in disability in a round about way. After completing my law degree and while working as a solicitor I was on several management committees and boards for Not-for-Profit organisations, including disability service providers. I was working at the time as the Senior Solicitor for the Rural Women’s Outreach Service which was an amazing job – providing free legal advice and representation to rural and Aboriginal women throughout the South West. In time I became the Manager for a small disability support service called HHelp and was very pleased to become part of the welcoming disability sector at that time in Toowoomba. I have fond memories of when myself, David Bowden who was CEO of Breakaway then, and Steven Paull from BigDog reinvigorated the Toowoomba Disability Service Providers Network and started having monthly meetings at the offices in Water Street in 2006. Are you still a volunteer on boards and committees? I have volunteered on many boards over the years. These have included The Haven, The Toowoomba Community Housing Service and The Toowoomba Youth Service. As part of my tenure on some of these boards I was able to guide the organisations through amalgamation and change processes, which I believe secured their ongoing futures. Not everyone always agrees with the decisions that I make but sometimes leadership is about making the hard decisions, and seeing them through. I have been very fortunate to work with some incredible people on committees and boards over the years. I am currently Chair of the NFP Company Board of Directors for the Mulberry Project and
Amazing by Steven Paull
President of 4DDB FM102.7 community radio station. In my work roles I have been on committees and action tables representing the NGO community and service providers. These have included the South West Action Table with the Department of Communities, two terms on the Regional Disability Access and Advisory Committee, two terms on the Carer and Consumer Consultative Committee with Mental Health and sometime on the boards of What’s Up In Disability and Parent to Parent As the guardian and relative of a person with a disability, I have the opportunity to understand how difficult it is for families, parents and guardians to navigate the system and I believe that this lived experience has assisted me in many ways working and volunteering in the sector. What are some of the things that you are passionate about? I am a huge believer in the transformational role of the arts for all people in our community but have especially seen incredible outcomes for People with Disability. The arts can include visual art, drama, music, dance, movement – any sort of artistic expression is beneficial. I was involved with the establishment of the Butterfly Theatre for people with disability many years and started the Rainbow Choir with music therapist Rob McGrigor in 2008. Rob still runs the choir in a voluntary capacity. We are very lucky to have Rob in our community. One of my favourite times of year is when I MC the Breaking Free concert for Mental Health Week, which is organised by Consumer Consultant Mick Burge. This is always a positive and celebratory event. I was also a founding member of the Women in Harmony choir in 2006 which is Toowoomba’s only women’s multicultural choir. This is a great passion of mine and we are still going strong all these years later. A dream of mine is an inclusive and customed designed accessible School of the Arts centre in Toowoomba, to encourage a flourishing of opportunities for people with disability and others to participate.
Bronwyn Herbertson I am also passionate about the healing power of horticulture therapy and Ecopsychology. Through supporting the Mulberry Project, which aims to Transform Lives and Land I also hope to develop opportunities for more people to experience the healing and transformative power of tending the land and of intentional outdoor environments.
What do you see as your greatest achievements? I think my greatest achievement has been seeing my son grow into an amazing adult and Father himself and my beautiful Granddaughter. I am also a very proud parent to a new puppy and three cats. In 2016 I was the Labor Party candidate for the Federal Seat of Groom. I learnt a lot from this experience – most notably that the direct action approach of helping the community is probably the best fit for myself as I like to achieve real change as and when it is necessary. I firmly believe that all levels of government should be funding small Not for Profit place based responses to challenging problems rather than the trend for funding large multinational organisations. Each community knows what they want and need – however we are rarely asked. What is your current role? My current role is Regional Coordinator for Connect Plan Management – for Toowoomba and the Darling Downs and I am based here. I believe that this role encompasses much of my previous knowledge and experience and I am so happy to be able to help families, participants, services, support coordinators and other stakeholders to journey through this complex system. As an independent plan management company, we do not provide any other services so are 100% focused on the plan management aspects and making sure that invoices are paid in a timely manner. I am available to assist with any questions, as are the great team of customer care at Connect Plan Management in Brisbane. Bronwyn can be contacted on 0459 021 552 or on email at Bronwyn.firstname.lastname@example.org
From the top: Breaking Free, the Labor for Groom team, WhatsUp with Robyn and with former PM Bob Hawk and Uncle Darby
WhatsUp in Disability
Australian of the Year 2022 Athlete, Paralympian, philanthropist, media commentator and advocate As a teenager, Dylan Alcott hated being in a wheelchair because he didn't see anyone like him in mainstream media. Then sport changed everything. A gold medal at the Paralympic Games in wheelchair basketball preceded three more in Paralympic competition after a cross-code switch to tennis. Now, with 23 quad wheelchair Grand Slam titles and a Newcombe Medal, Dylan Alcott recently became the first male in history, in any form of tennis, to win the Golden Slam. Amid his training and competition load as a world-class athlete, Dylan notes that his most profound impact has come from beyond the field of play. He founded the Dylan Alcott Foundation to provide scholarships and grant funding to marginalised Australians with a disability. He also authored his best-selling autobiography, Able, and co-founded Get Skilled Access. Further, Dylan's AbilityFest is Australia's first and only inclusive, fully accessible music festival. In realising his childhood dream, Dylan holds several high-profile media roles spanning TV, radio and podcasting. His acceptance speech, on receiving the award from Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week, is the stuff of inspiration, along with motivation, passion and compassion. Dylan received his award for achievements in both his sport and his disability awareness work. He told the supportive crowd on Australia Day he was proud of who he was and took aim at the NDIS and improving the employment numbers of people with disabilities. "We've got to fund the NDIS, first and foremost, and listen to people with lived experiPage 6
ence and ask them what they need so they can get out and start living the lives they want to live and remind ourselves that it is an investment in people with disabilities, so they can get off pensions and start paying taxes, just like their carers and their family members as well,” he said. "We have to have greater representation of people with a disability absolutely everywhere. In our boardrooms, in our parliaments, in our mainstream schools, on our dating apps, on our sporting fields, in our universities, absolutely everywhere, so we get the opportunity to start living our lives just like everybody else and I promise you, you won't just enrich the lives of us, but also yourselves in the process.”
WhatsUp Kevin Coombs defied the odds and became Australia’s first Indigenous Paralympian Born in Swan Hill in 1941, Kevin is the son of Cecil Coombs and Rosie Clayton. After losing his mother at age five, he and his four siblings lived with relatives in Balranald, NSW. Kevin attended primary school there, and helped out at his uncle's timber yard. He was happiest when playing in the bush. At the age of 12 years, Kevin was left with paraplegia after being accidentally shot in the back while out hunting with his cousins. At the time, there was no specialised care for people with spinal injuries. Kevin was introduced to basketball as part of the hospital's rehabilitation program, which included a strict exercise regime pioneered in the UK after the war. Kevin showed great potential from the outset and was soon participating in a fledgling national competition.
Kevin Coombs An impressive performance at the inaugural Australian championships in 1960 saw Kevin selected for the first Paralympic Games in Rome the same year. He was the only Aboriginal person representing Australia and enjoyed the camaraderie of his team mates. Kevin returned to basketball in time for the 1968 Paralympics in Tel Aviv, and captained the basketball team at the 1972 Paralympics in Germany, captained the Australian teams for the 1974 Commonwealth Games, 1977 Silver Jubilee Games and the 1980 Paralympics in Holland. He helped secure gold medals for Australia at the Far Eastern South Pacific Games in 1977 and 1982. Kevin retired from international competition after his fifth Paralympics in 1984, he continued to play and coach domestically until 1997. Among his many awards and honours, Kevin has received the Medal of the Order of Australia medal, an Australian Sports Medal, and a NAIDOC award.
WhatsUp in Disability
Sunday 3 April 2022 Ray lives with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). He was diagnosed in 1993 at the age of 34 when, on the advice of his trainer at the gym, he went to see my doctor because he had stopped getting stronger.
Every dollar raised through this year's Run for Strength will bring us closer to a cure for muscular dystrophy and fund vital support and services for the muscular dystrophy community.
This was despite going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week and adopting a better diet. "I first made contact with the MDA a few months later when a local physiotherapist gave me a brochure. After a brief phone call, I went to visit the office, which was at the rear of a shop in Ascot Vale at the time. I was greeted with kindness, compassion and understanding. It was an experience I have not forgotten. The awareness, community spirit and funds raised by Run for Strength provides MDA with the resources to continue to do the things that helped me understand and come to terms with my muscular dystrophy," says Ray.
WhatsUp in Disability
What will the Strategy do? The Strategy’s vision is for an inclusive Australian society that ensures people with disability can fulfil their potential as equal members of the community. The Strategy will drive change in seven outcomes areas. Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021–2031 (the Strategy) is a national framework that all governments in Australia have signed up to. It sets out a plan for continuing to improve the lives of people with disability in Australia over the next ten years. The Strategy replaces and builds on the first National Disability Strategy 2010–2020. The Strategy supports Australia’s commitment under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
How will the Strategy achieve improvements for people with disability? To help the Strategy improve the lives of people with disability there will be:
Activities governments will undertake to deliver against the Policy Priorities that sit under each Outcome Area.
A series of Targeted Action Plans that commit governments to specific actions. The first five Targeted Action Plans are
2021 - 2031
on employment, community attitudes, early childhood, safety and emergency management.
Public reports each year that will measure progress and show where more effort is needed. Ways for people with disability to tell governments what they think the Strategy needs to do. This includes an Advisory Council comprising of people with disability and regular public consultations and forums involving people with disability.
Who did governments consult about the Strategy? As part of developing the Strategy, governments consulted with more than
3,000 people with disability and families, carers and representatives.
Feedback from consultations was a major influence on the Strategy.
Where can I find more information? You can read Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021 – 2031 and find more information at www.disabilitygateway.gov.au/ads. The Strategy and its supporting documents are available in Easy Read, Auslan and language translations. If you have any questions about the Strategy, please email australia’email@example.com
WhatsUp in Disability
Our Watch and Women with Disabilities Victoria’s Changing the landscape, the national, evidence-based resource to guide the prevention of violence against women and girls with disabilities. Changing the landscape highlights that we need to address gender equality and ableism across the systemic, structural and cultural ‘landscape’ in order to stop this violence from happening in the first place. We know that urgent action is needed, and this resource outlines the steps individuals, communities, schools and workplaces, disability and health services, and governments need to take.
but treated with respect and dignity. Women with Disabilities Victoria membership is free for women with disabilities living in Victoria. Associate membership is also available for allies, supporters and organisations. For more information visit: https://www.wdv.org.au/ get-involved/membership/ If you have any questions about these resources please contact Melissa O’Reilly, Our Watch Senior Advisor, Women with Disabilities by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Changing the landscape resources are available at https://www.ourwatch.org.au/ resource/changing-the-landscape in both PDF and Word formats. The full suite of resources includes:
Changing the landscape: A national resource to prevent violence against women and girls with disabilities
Changing the landscape: Summary
Prevention of violence against women and girls with disabilities: Background paper
We all have a role to play in preventing this violence and creating a future where women and girls with disabilities are not only safe
WhatsUp in Disability
Funding Cuts by ABC NEWS
NDIS cuts funding to participants with autism and intellectual disabilities This is Jared Mackenzie's favourite time of the day; he spends hours splashing in the water at his Melbourne home. The 22-yearold is autistic has severe intellectual disabilities and needs care around the clock. But an unexpected letter from the National Disability Insurance Scheme changed everything. “We've got no funding so we can’t do anything. Can’t go anywhere. Can’t see anyone,” said Karen McKenzie, Jarod’s mother. Jared’s NDIS funding for carers was cut by more than half. “We weren't given any explanation other than it's not value for money, which was I think, quite appalling.” The single mom had to quit her job to look after her son with no funding for the next seven months. She says Jared has been selfharming more without his carers. “I hope that something can be done quickly for our sakes, I'm not coping now I'm not gonna be able to cope for another seven months.” The president of Australia's peak disability rights body says hundreds of families have contacted them after having their funding slashed. “People with intellectual disability and people with psycho-social disabilities, seem to be the areas that are being most targeted, right now,” said Samantha Connor, People with Disability Australia. Nic Bennet one of them. The 20-year-old has autism, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Last year his funding was halved. His parents
say it's been a nightmare to get it reinstated. “They still demanded more evidence they still demanded more reports. It just will never end. The amount of demands and pressure they put on a family…” said Tamie Bennett, Nic’s mother. “We know that there was a plan for a razor gang to come in between April and August of last year and that seems to continue those cuts,” said Samantha Connor The cost of the NDIS is forecast to blow out to $40 billion within three years, fuelling debate about the sustainability of the scheme. Already there are nearly half a million people on the NDIS up 17% in a year and autism is the most common primary disability making up a third of participants. “This government is shabbily and secretly cutting the strands of the net, so people just fall through it” said Bill Shorten Shadow Minister for NDIS 8-year-old Max Drew has autism and an IQ in the top 1% of his age group and his funding for these Sports Therapy sessions has been smashed by more than 40%. “He just won’t reach his full potential now without the funds,” said Kim Drew, Max’s mother. Minister for the NDIS Linda Reynolds says there will be no cuts to the scheme, and the government has increased funding by $26 billion over four years to keep up with the rising costs which is set to overtake Medicare in the next three years. To watch the full report: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-12/ ndis-funding-cuts-participants-autismintellectual-disabilities/13752132
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by Todd Winther DSC Can we improve Coordination?
LACs have become a fundamental part of how the Scheme operates. Most of us know what they do, but many of us have little understanding of the initial intent of the role. A new book charting the development and evolution of LACs by Eddie Bartnik and Ralph Broad, who were on the team that first implemented the concept in Western Australia, provides a much-needed history lesson that helps us understand the role as it was designed. Their book, Power and Connection: The International Development of Local Area Coordination, argues that LACs fulfil a vital role in implementing disability policy, particularly on an individual level. The book articulates the role that LACs can play so that people with disabilities can achieve their goals and establish strong connections with their local community. Essentially, the book builds a case for why LACs should remain an essential component in the Scheme by reminding the reader of the role’s purpose.
Defining successful Coordination
The strength of this book is its ability to define the LAC concept and how it can be applied to the lives of people with disabilities. The first chapters cover the history of the LAC concept and its initial development in Western Australia during the 1980s. Bartnik and Broad define the notion of local area coordination as “about people and the communities in which they live. Its about understanding, celebrating and nurturing the strengths,
aspirations, valued contribution, choices and rights of all people in our communities and the power, connections and possibilities of the communities in which they live.” This definition reads like an ideal role for people in the disability sector. And, as the first few chapters point out, local area coordination worked well in Western Australia before it was transferred into the NDIS a decade ago. The role thrived in WA primarily because of the state’s size and its large number of regional hubs outside of Perth, such as the Wheatbelt, the mining centres, and the northern part of the state. These regional hubs were established communities, allowing LACs to use resources that were already embedded in those regions. As a Queenslander whose state shares similar demographic characteristics with WA, I was left wondering why the LAC model had not been tried there before the NDIS. LAC programs have also prospered beyond WA, after being developed internationally. Evidence from overseas shows that the more significant the interaction between local communities and LACs and participants, the more likely the model is to succeed. The case studies in the United Kingdom and Singapore used throughout Bartnik and Broad’s book highlight how local governments have played a vital role in the success of LACs. These partnerships have allowed LACs to foster more secure connections with local communities and create collaborative relationships with people developing public policy for shire councils. This process is ideal when crafting public policy for people with disabilities, who are not considered a specifically targeted interest group but are instead integrated seamlessly. Continued on page 21
WhatsUp in Disability
WhatsUp What has changed since the tragic death of Ann Marie Smith? Before a cool afternoon in mid-May last year, few people had heard of Ann Marie Smith.
She had little in the way of family, and some of her neighbours in Adelaide's well-to-do eastern suburbs had not seen her for years.
We just "Initially when I heard Rosa Maione had pled guilty today to the manslaughter of Anne Marie Smith, I honestly found myself wishing that I was still religious so that I could believe she was going to burn in hell," she said. "As it is, we'll have to hope that she just rots in prison."
But when police held a media conference on the afternoon of May 15, 2020, Ann Marie Smith suddenly acquired a posthumous prominence that turned her into front-page news. Ms Smith lived with cerebral palsy and at the time of her death was found to be suffering septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe pressure sores and malnutrition, among other things. Before her death on April 6, 2020, police believe she spent up to a year confined to a cane chair inside her Kensington Park home for 24 hours a day. The case shocked the public and resulted in swift changes within the disability sector, although some argue there is much more work to be done. What happened in the aftermath? Following Ms Smith's death, her care provider Integrity Care SA was fined more than $12,000 for failing to report the death to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and later banned from operating. Rosa Maione, Ms Smith's sole NDIS-funded carer, was arrested in August and pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Wednesday.
What changes were made?
Disability advocate and former MLC Kelly Vincent spoke to reporters following Maione's guilty plea.
Ms Smith's death sparked numerous investigations and reviews, including by police, the state government and the NDIS
have to do better
by Stacey Pestrin and Daniel Keane
Quality and Safeguards Commission. The NDIS Commission's independent investigation led to 10 recommendations, including that vulnerable NDIS participants should have multiple carers. Since then, legislation has been introduced to give the NDIS Commission greater powers to protect participants, and the Commission has made changes including introducing national worker screening and putting further conditions on personal care providers. The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability also took a strong interest in the case, holding a hearing in June that looked at what has been learnt since Ms Smith's death to help protect other people with disability. In South Australia, a state government task force was set up to examine gaps in oversight and safeguarding for people with disabilities. All seven recommendations made by that task force have since been implemented, including a new state-wide advocacy service. What else needs to be done? Ms Vincent, who co-chaired the state government's task force, said more changes were needed.
"How is any disabled person in this state and in this country supposed to feel safe and respected and valued for their lives, for our lives, until we actually see the state and federal governments as well as the National Disability Insurance Agency seriously changing practices and valuing lives above profit?" she said. Sam Paior is the founder and director of The Growing Space, an organisation delivering
support coordination and training to NDIS participants and families and is also a member of the NDIA's Independent Advisory Council. She said Ms Smith's case has been "a real wake-up call for disability service providers and government agencies too".
"I think every disability company scrambled to make sure none of their clients were slipping into this kind of tragic territory, and hopefully some of the processes that organisations put in place have stuck – with more regular face-to-face check-ins happening, at the very least," she said. Ms Paior said Ms Smith's death "rightly horrified the nation" and made people "realise just how isolated some people with disability are". "Annie's death has definitely triggered some positive changes, but the changes we really need to see aren't happening," she said. "Everyone wants to belong somewhere, but there are so many more barriers for people with disability or other differences – and they're barriers that able-bodied people put in the way.
We just have to do better WhatsUp in Disability
Do LAC’s fit into NDIS? by Todd Winther DSC
Continued from page 17
• Does that alternative also serve the
Bartnik and Broad acknowledge that the LAC concept was explored in the groundbreaking Productivity Commission report. But they note further that there are critical differences between how the model works in other nations and the role that LACs play in the NDIS. For example, they highlight that LAC services in Australia are contracted out to a few service providers, which is antithetical to the intended concept of the role, as described in the initial chapters. The most apparent difference between the successful implementation of LACs worldwide and the NDIS structure is that decision-making power in Australia lies within a federal, complex bureaucratic system. This method directly contrasts with those mentioned above, which thrive on partnerships with local government.
The planning process embedded in the NDIS may have initially acknowledged the need for participants to interact with their local community, but this has changed as the Scheme has developed. As the role of LACs has evolved, there is an inherent disconnect between Bartnik and Broad’s definition of the role and the realities of how the role of the LAC now works within the Scheme. The Future of LACs
needs of the NDIA? The debates sparked by this book’s content make it essential reading for any and all interested in the Scheme’s long-term future. Furthermore, Bartnik and Broad demonstrate that how we develop or reimagine the LAC role will play a significant part in defining the Scheme’s long-term success.
Mindfulness Practicing mindfulness can help you tune into your emotions, making it easier to recognize distressing thoughts and feelings as mere thoughts — not reality. Learning to challenge automatic responses to these thoughts can eventually help you bypass that old downward spiral. Mindfulness also helps you stay present and engaged in your day-to-day life, so you’ll be more aware of pleasurable moments and sensations. Take a nature break. Sit outside and experience the world with all of your senses. When negative thoughts surface, sit with them briefly before reacting or responding.
Readers who operate in the Scheme will inevitably conclude that the role of LACs should be reviewed by the Agency. It is time to ask some questions about how LACs should operate in the future, such as:
• Given the Scheme’s structure, does the LAC role have a place in it?
• If so, is it possible for the LAC role to return to its original principles?
• Is there an alternative to the LAC role that would needs?
WhatsUp in Disability
Toowoomba by John Elliott
Jacarandas Toowoomba parks are some of the best in the world and at this time of the year the Jacaranda Mimosifolia, which is a sub-tropical tree native to south-central South America but widely planted elsewhere because of its attractive and long-lasting violetcoloured flowers, is present and on display in most of the local parks.
Photographs of Toowoomba Laurel Bank Park is a heritage-listed park at the corner of John West Street, Hill by Street and Elliott Herries Street, Toowoomba. It was built between 1904 to 1943. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 30 November 2018.
WhatsUp in Disability
Warrina Services is a specialist support agency that has been providing individual support to people of the Darling Downs since 1986. We support people with a diverse range of needs and also provide mental health services to assist personal recovery.
(07) 4659 5662
We can help you to achieve positive outcomes in your life. These may be related to choice and independence, education or training, attending social activities, increasing skills, getting a job or contributing to your community. If you would like further information please visit our website
www.warrinaservices.org.au Or contact us Phone: 07-46 380 399 Email: email@example.com or visit our office at
172 Bridge Street Toowoomba Office hours Mon-Fri 9-5pm
Community NEWS If you love food
Healthcare Report These past 2 years have presented a huge challenge to the communities’ health and to health systems. Health systems have had to change, sometimes literally overnight. In the face of this unprecedented challenge, the overwhelming feedback from health workers, consumers and partners – was about the positive change they experienced.
Food waste is avoidable. You can fight food waste at home by changing a few habits. Organic materials make up about half of what Queenslanders throw out each week. That adds up–it’s estimated that Australian households spend between $2,000–$2,500 per year on food that is wasted. Preparing only what you need, storing food appropriately and using your leftovers can reduce household food waste and save.
• Plan your weekly meals by using a meal plan.
• Plan a specific day to use up your leftovers to create a new meal and make it a weekly routine.
• Regularly check what’s in the fridge, freezer and pantry before you go food shopping.
• Purchase the right amount of food. • Shop with a shopping list. • Have a ‘use it up’ shelf in the fridge or pantry and get everyone in the household to use food from this shelf first.
• Rotate food by moving oldest items to the front/top of fridge or pantry. If you or your family are struggling to make ends meet, OzHarvest food drops are available at our WhatsUp in Disability Community Centre 11-15 Alexander Street Toowoomba.
Many would like to keep these once in a generation changes to create the health system of the future; a system focused on wellbeing, prevention, value and equity that provides the best possible healthcare to Queenslanders. This report provides a roadmap for the Queensland health system to build on the potential that was unleashed as Queensland responded effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WhatsUp in Disability
Animals can have an impact on our lives, whether they provide essential daily assistance, provide companionship, or provide therapy, however, there can be a bit of confusion around the topic when it comes to NDIS and companion animals. To make things a little easier for you and your clients, we have taken a deeper look at this matter to assist you in understanding what assistance might be available.
• Remove the clothes from the washing machine
• Assist in finding way around, including stopping at curbs and stairwells
• Find an empty seat on a bus • To assist clients in finding doors on cars and trains
• When necessary, blocking, or obstructing
Assistance animals The purpose of an assistance animal goes beyond just providing a cute face. They can help build people's capacity, improve their safety, and help them become more independent. It is required that assistance animals be specially trained by a certified assistance animal provider to perform at least three tasks or behaviours that can improve functional outcomes for clients.
others Assistance animals that are funding under the NDIS include: eye dogs)
• Medical alert animals • Hearing assistance animals • Mobility assistance animals • Psychiatric assistance animals
• Open and close refrigerators or doors
• Take care of dropped items
• Press the button at traffic lights
• Open and close drawers and cabinets
the client when experiencing extreme anxiety
• Dog guides (a.k.a. guide dogs or seeing-
Tasks or behaviours such as:
To get the approval from NDIS, assistance animals are required to pass a Public Access Test. Assistance animals are different from pets or companion animals and are not typically eligible for funding through the NDIS (read on for details).
Assistance Animals Companion animals and pets Pets or companion animals are not considered assistance animals in the NDIS, which means they are less likely to be funded. Since companion animals are not typically associated with specific disability needs, they are not considered assistance animals. The NDIS does not cover the costs of training pets, having support staff look after them on the client’s behalf, or food and veterinary care for a pet or companion animal. If the NDIS determines that taking care of a pet is reasonable and necessary; one may be eligible to receive disabilityrelated support. Animal-Assisted Therapy It is essential to understand that animal assisted therapy (AAT), animal assisted intervention (AAI) and animal assisted activity (AAA) are occupational therapy methods that aim to assist people in reaching their goals by involving an animal in a therapy-based setting. The following are some effects of AAT, AAI, and AAA:
Improved cognitive performance
Reduced blood pressure
Interpersonal skills development
Reduced anxiety, depression, stress, and agitation
Equestrian assisted therapy (EAT) is a popular type of AAT, which consists of things like grooming, feeding, riding, and other therapy treatments with an occupational therapist or psychologist. Animal-based therapies require the NDIS to identify whether they are reasonable, necessary, and worth the money. They must also demonstrate that they will benefit the individual. Animal-based therapies require a connection to individual’s NDIS goals if one wishes to get funding for them. Goal setting The NDIS is very goal focused. The short and long-term goals help to shape NDIS plan and funding. Aside from goals, individuals will need to include anything they would like to include in their plans, such as an assistance animal or animal therapies. Providing evidence Having an assistance animal or AAT as part of NDIS plan needs to be consistent with individuals' goals, and goals must also be reasonable and necessary for funds to be allocated. For the NDIS to approve the adoption of an assistance animal. The NDIS has developed an Assistance Animals Assessment Template that can be used to get a better understanding regarding such support.
WhatsUp in Disability
WhatsUp Supporting Effective Communication Effective communication is essential to providing quality and safe services and contributes to the rights of people with disabilities to have choice and control. With effective communication, workers can support and enable people to express themselves, to be heard and be safe.
E-learning The module is designed to support NDIS providers and workers in meeting their obligations under the NDIS Code of Conduct. It also supports registered NDIS providers in meeting their obligations under the NDIS Practice Standards. All NDIS providers are strongly encouraged to include the module in their induction process for workers, and to encourage existing workers to undertake the module over time, as part of their ongoing learning.
We have released a new e-learning module Supporting effective communication for NDIS workers that Although the module is not mandatory, demonstrates – from the perspective of anyone working with people with disability, NDIS participants – what effective especially those with communication support communication looks like; how it supports needs, would benefit from completing it. choice and control; and the importance of communication in avoiding the risk of harm The module was co-designed and developed to people with disability. firstname.lastname@example.org consultation www.allplanmanagement.com.au with the sector, including So how can you support your NDIS workers to best support effective communication?
people with disability and NDIS providers and workers.
SCHADS Award Major SCHADS changes pected July 2022
In the second half of 2021, the Fair Work Commission did their 4-yearly review of the SCHADS Award, to assess what changes are needed to create reasonable conditions for workers in the disability sector. There were many submissions from stakeholders including employers, peaks and unions. The Fair Work Commission’s decision was announced on 31 January. These changes will be effective from 1 July 2022, or the first pay period after that. Five months might seem like a long time, but I have a funny feeling life will throw us a few Covid curveballs between now and then. And some of these changes, as you will see below, are quite significant.
Minimum shift of 2 hours Closing a gap in the previous Award, there are now minimum engagement periods for part-time and casual workers. Staff undertaking disability services work will need to be rostered (or at least paid for) shifts that are a minimum of 2 hours long. Readers playing along at home will note that NDIS supports are generally delivered and billed by the hour, not in 2-hour blocks. A broken shift is defined as a shift with one or more breaks (that aren’t meal breaks) within a 12hr period. For example, if a worker is rostered with the same participant from 8am to 11am, then 2pm to 6pm, that would be considered a broken shift. This one was a big-ticket item for many providers – with lots of submissions calling the proposed broken shift changes incompatible with the NDIS pricing model. Workers will now be paid an additional allowance of 1.7% of the standard rate per broken shift, or 2.25% of the standard rate for two unpaid breaks in shifts in a 12-hour period. The Award does not specify an allowance for more than two unpaid breaks or indicate whether these will be allowed.
The Easter Bunny The custom of associating a rabbit or bunny with Easter arose in Protestant areas in Europe in the 17th century but did not become common until the 19th century. The Easter rabbit is said to lay the eggs as well as decorate and hide them. In the United States the Easter rabbit also leaves children baskets with toys and candies on Easter morning. In a way, this was a manifestation of the Protestant rejection of Catholic Easter customs. In some European countries, however, other animals—in Switzerland the cuckoo, in Westphalia the fox—brought the Easter eggs. WhatsUp in Disability
Gold Coin event open to the public
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With Andrew Spradbrow aaa To mark the 30th anniversary of Toowoomba’s Sister City ties with Takatsuki in Japan, Toowoomba Regional Council is calling on photographers to submit pictures capturing the Regions’ special features. Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said entries were open for the youth and adult categories in the Sister City Photographic Competition, which closes on February 27. “We’re proud to mark 30 years of friendship with Takatsuki and will commemorate the occasion with our Sister City Exhibition and Photographic Competition,” Mayor Antonio said. “Photographers of all abilities are invited to enter their pictures that reveal our Region’s unique landscapes or characters. The competition also is open to Takatsuki photographers, with prizes on offer. “There is no shortage of subject matter to inspire photographers. I look forward to seeing the stunning competition entries.” A formal Sister City agreement between Toowoomba and Takatsuki officially was established on November 13, 1991. The Declaration of Friendship agrees to deepen the relationship through mutually Page 32
beneficial exchanges in the educational, cultural, sporting and commercial arenas. Toowoomba and Takatsuki have enjoyed a very active relationship with many exchanges occurring over the years, including student study tour exchanges. Takatsuki, with a population of 355,000 people, is located almost halfway between Osaka and Kyoto in the southern section of the Honshu Island of Japan.
New to Disability? First Points of Contact Centrelink Payments and Services
Disability Support Pension
Health Care Card
Indigenous Call Centre
1800 136 380
Emergency Crisis Payment
NDIS General Enquiries
1800 800 110
NDIA Toowoomba Office
07 4592 4057
Local Area Coordinator
07 4646 2800
Medicare General Enquiries
MyGov Help Desk
Queensland Government Child Safety
07 4699 4255
07 4616 6000
07 4699 4400
Toowoomba Disability Information Office Open Monday to Friday (9:00am to 3.00pm) A question on disability or a service you require? Try us, most of our volunteers have a disability themselves and will be glad to assist you. If we can’t help, we will refer you elsewhere. JP services are also available
Carer Advisory Service
1800 242 636
1800 059 059
Lifeline Darling Downs
1300 991 443
1300 364 277
The Good Samaritan Op Shop Bowen Street There are a number of support groups for most disabilities available in this region. Contact WhatsUp in Disability Phone: 07 4632 9559 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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