July / August 2022
Disability Information Services by People with Disability Toowoomba and Southern Queensland
Volume 4, Issue 107
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Proudly supported and printed by ToowoombaWhatsUp Regional in Council Disability
Highlights July / August 2022
06 09 10 13 18 28
Setting the Record Straight
Registered or Unregistered
New NDIS Minister
NDSP Bursary Program
Reforming Transport Standards
Cover Page Josh Marshall Visiting businesses Photo by WhatsUp
Steven Paull JP (Qual) President Page 2
The Editor’s Desk Incorporated Association Rules Change How is your organisation impacted? There are a number of amendments to the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Qld) (Act) that have just become law. However, the Queensland Government has postponed the need to comply with a couple of items as outlined below. The management committee duty to disclose remuneration and other benefits and the requirement for incorporated associations to have an internal grievance policy will only become compulsory in mid to late 2023 following guidance by the Office of Fair Trading in the forms of public consultation and regulations. Now effective it is mandatory for incorporated associations to comply with the amendments to the Act, which: 1.
impose the following duties on all management committee members, including a manager appointed by the management committee: duty of care and diligence; duty of good faith; duty to avoid abuse of powers; duty to avoid insolvency (please note this duty extends to a person who is or was not a management committee member but takes or took part in the management of the incorporated association); duty to disclose material interests; duty to record material personal interests; and duty to abstain from voting if conflicted by a material interest;
create personal liability for management committee members who breach the above duties;
require the Secretary to be at least 18 years old;
render the use of a common seal when executing documents optional (however, an incorporated association must amend its constitution or rules to specify if it will not use a common seal); and
extend Office of Fair Trading inspectors’ powers to investigate, enter premises and seize property.
Unfair Dismissal Cap Rises The caps for compensation and income in unfair dismissal claims have increased. The highincome threshold for unfair dismissal applications increases to $162,000, while the maximum compensation increases to $81,000 for any dismissal claims lodged from 1 July 2022. The high-income threshold means that the Fair Work Commission will not have jurisdiction to hear a claim for unfair dismissal made by any employee not covered by an award AND who earns more than $162,000. Given the increase in compensation available to employees, it is a good reminder for employers to ensure that their policies relating to the management of complaints and grievances are up to date and that transparent and fair procedures are adopted in managing underperforming employees or employees who are alleged to have engaged in misconduct.
Steven Paull JP (Qual) President WhatsUp in Disability
WhatsUp by Steven Paull What do you normally take with you when you go out to your favourite café or restaurant? Your wallet or your phone? Of course. But would you take a tape measure with you? If you are Josh Marshall from the Inclusion Access Project, the answer is—you wouldn’t be without it.
Josh Marshall is the founder and Co-Director of Inclusion Access. The project aims to improve the disability community’s access to all public venues and events, starting with the local cafes and restaurants around Toowoomba. It all began when Josh became a full time wheelchair user. ”I would go out with my wife and friends, like usual, but suddenly I found there were places I just couldn’t get to anymore.” Josh began to take note of which restaurants and cafes were suitable to go to in his wheelchair and which ones weren’t, and he soon realised that other members of the community who are wheelchair users or have other mobility issues might also benefit from knowing which venues were easily accessible. With this in mind, Josh started at website of his own where he could share his feedback about the accessibility of different venues around town, even devising a ratings scale that would help him explain his experience. “I was a nursing educator for more than 15 years, so I used my own knowledge, as well as the advice of other health professionals I knew, to devise a scale that made sense and looked at accessibility features consistently and reliably. Then he began visiting food venues around Toowoomba, noting his experiences and applying the rating scale. But he didn’t just take his measurements and leave anony-
mous negative feedback on social media as some people might do. The huge impact this project has already made is largely due to the fact that Josh and his teammates are taking an open and honest approach to their investigations, involving the owners or managers of each venue in the process from the very start. Josh explains, “I always ask to speak to the owner or manager. Then I’ll give them a letter that explains the project and how the rating scale works, and let them know that the rating will be posted on the website and Facebook page,” and then what usually happens is that the owners and managers of the venue sit down with Josh to discuss what can be done to improve their accessibility. “It’s amazing how open they are to this idea once we start talking,” says Josh. “I’ve found that no-one is making decisions to prevent accessibility on purpose, it’s just that they’ve never really thought about it before.” Although it is only in its early stages, the project has already drawn the support of additional team members, including media expert and passionate disability advocate, Kim Stokes. “This project is already making a difference,” she says, a smile beaming across her features. “It really is a fantastic project with so much potential to help so many people.”
Catching up with Josh this week I was able to discuss the progress that he has been making since 2019. Now working with Josh are Mark D’Arcy BSc, PostGradDipComp, Coralie Graham RN, BSc(Hons) Psych, PGTT, PhD, Associate Professor, Liz Schneidewin Bachelor of Teaching and Sharon Boyce Honorary PhD, From WhatsUp March / April 2019 edition
“Everyone deserves to feel included, therefore every business needs to be accessible. We exist to ensure that the 1 in 5 people living with a disability in our community know that they matter and are valued, and we enable our local businesses to be supported by them.” Building Access Updates There is a change in the air which is going to affect many people with disabilities. This is for everybody as it refers to anybody renting or building a new home and will have implications for the entire residential construction industry. From 1 September 2022, there are many improved accessibility features that need to be met when constructing a new home (including dual occupancies, townhouses, apartments, granny flats or any other form of housing. These features have been inspired by the Silver Level Liveable Housing Australia (LHA) Guidelines. These features include:
• Step-free access from the street and parking areas
• Step-free entrance into the building • Internal doors and corridors needed to facilitate comfortable and unrestricted movement between all spaces
• A toilet on the ground/entry level providing easy access
• A bathroom with a hobless shower recess
• Reinforced walls in toilet and shower that may support grabrails
• Stairways that reduce likelihood of injury and enable future modification. This significant alteration to the National Construction Code (NCC) is potentially the largest, most effective amendment ever imposed.
WhatsUp in Disability
WhatsUp Hi Steven and the WhatsUp in Disability readers Since launching my 'Time to Recognise and Care for Unpaid Carers!' petition a few months back I have encountered some seriously misinformed and confused people who vehemently believe between a carer and the person being cared for there is a wad of cash called a carer’s pension received by a carer in addition to any government primary pension or benefit, e.g. the DSP, or Aged Pension. Addressed to the Prime Minister and the Australian government, the petition at https://change.org/CarersAustraliaPetition is now racing towards 1000 signatures from supporters all over Australia. Contrary to what some might surmise, carers do not receive a secondary $987.60 pension each fortnight to look after an aged, infirm, disabled, or incapacitated person.
Setting There is no third income shared between two people; albeit some may qualify for the $136.50 fortnightly carer's allowance. So, let’s set the record straight! The fact of the matter is carer’s pension no longer exists; it was renamed carer’s payment in July 1997 and is, by definition, a fortnightly income support payment for people who are unable to support themselves through substantial paid employment due to the demands of their caring role. Carer’s allowance came into being on 1 July 1999; it replaced and combined child disability allowance (CDA) and the domiciliary nursing care benefit (DNCB) and was paid at the rate of $75.60 per fortnight. In the twenty-three years to 2022 the average increase to carer’s allowance has been $2.65, or 2.61% per year irrespective of increases to workloads, inflation, the cost of
the record straight
by George W. Helon
living, support services, and to the carer’s payment. By definition carer’s allowance is a fortnightly payment that recognises the care provided to a person with disability or medical condition in a private home. Carer’s allowance is paid at the rate of $136.50 a fortnight, $68.25 a week, $9.75 a day, or just 41 cents an hour. Over the decades no government has faced the reality of the sacrifices and price we pay as carers head on, but they’re happy to have us quietly working away in the background for next to nothing, saving them billions of dollars in unpaid care whilst we suffer physically, mentally, and financially.
The carer’s allowance of $3549 per year is reprehensible to say the least as it is not even enough to cover the basic costs of keeping a vehicle on the road. Please sign and share this petition to friends, family and your local media, as you never know when you might find yourself as a carer or in desperate need of one. Carers don't just play an integral part in Australia's aged care and health systems, they underpin them! Cheers!
Those receiving Carer's Allowance receive only 8.83% of the National Minimum Wage for working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year. Carers not only forfeit potential lifetime earnings but miss out on thousands of dollars in superannuation retirement savings. Carers get no holiday leave entitlements or benefits.
Local Jobs Program
Carers often dip into and deplete their own financial reserves in supporting the person (s) they care for.
The number of employed persons in Toowoomba in April 2022 was 70,700 persons, a decrease of 4,100 employed persons, or 5.5% over the year.
When their caring role is at an end, carers under retirement age, or ineligible for a primary income support benefit from Centrelink will often find themselves literally punished and thrown on the JobSeeker scrap-heap; a harsh reality for many older Australians! It is estimated those caring for family members actually save the government – the Australian taxpayer, the community, you – more than $77.9 billion a year providing informal/primary care across Australia.
The unemployment rate in Toowoomba in April 2022 was 5.1%, an increase of 0.7% over the year. The participation rate in Toowoomba in April 2022 was 58.0%, a decrease of 3.3% over the year. The youth unemployment rate in Toowoomba in April 2022 was 10.4%, an increase of 0.6% over the year.
WhatsUp in Disability
Service Providers by Bronwyn Herbertson
What’s the difference between a registered and unregistered provider? As an NDIS participant, there are many providers available to assist you with the supports you require. You may have heard the term ‘registered’ or ‘unregistered’ used when referring to providers. So, what do these mean, and what is the difference between them? What is a registered NDIS provider? Registered NDIS providers have registered their services to the NDIS, and have been approved as a service provider. Unregistered providers have not completed this process. It is important to note that unregistered providers can still offer quality services to participants.
Small businesses or sole traders will often be unregistered due to the resources required; however, larger organisations may choose to remain unregistered too. For businesses who do not solely provide NDIS services, such as gardening or cleaning services, it may not be viable to register.
Is one better than the other? Both registered and unregistered providers are capable of delivering professional, skilled support to NDIS participants. Some reasons participants may use an unregistered provider:
• They knew or liked the provider, who happens to be unregistered, before becoming an NDIS participant
Registered vs. Unregistered provider
• To have greater access to providers, par-
The key difference between registered and unregistered providers depends on how you are managing your NDIS plan.
• There may be limited relevant registered
Participants who are plan managed or selfmanaged have access to both registered and unregistered providers. Agency managed participants – those who have their plan managed by the NDIA – can only use registered providers. Agency managed participants have less flexibility when it comes to which providers they choose. Why are some providers unregistered? There are many reasons why a provider may not be NDIS registered. While providers are encouraged by the NDIS to register, the process can be timeconsuming and expensive, leading to many providers to choose to not register for this reason. This doesn’t mean they are not fit to service NDIS participants – often, it is simply a business decision.
ticularly for services with fewer options available providers in their area Accessing unregistered providers To engage an unregistered provider, you will need to have your NDIS plan managed by a plan manager or be self-managing. If the NDIA manages your plan, talk to your LAC (Local Area Coordinator), NDIA representative, or Connect Plan Management, about switching over to plan management. Your plan may have a mixture of NDIA and plan managed supports also – if you are not sure, please check with your LAC or Support Coordinator if you have one. Plan management is available in every NDIS plan at no cost to you and can be found under ‘Improved Life Choices’. If you are unsure where plan management is included in your current NDIS plan, you can ask for it at your next planning meeting.
WhatsUp in Disability
New Minister by Sarah Gingold DSC
Bill Shorten is the new NDIS Minister It’s finally confirmed, the new Minister for the NDIS and Government Services is none other than the former prime ministerial candidate himself- Bill Shorten. This is not exactly a shock announcement. He has been Shadow Minister for the NDIS since 2019 and was also influential in the formation of the Scheme way back in 2013. In other words, he ain’t no newbie to the NDIS. So what can we expect from a Shorten led NDIS? He has been quoted as saying: “I love the NDIS!” and personally I will be disappointed if he isn't sworn in with that on a t-shirt. But more substantially, at the recent election, Labor announced its completely unforgettable 6-point agenda for the Scheme, which included: Revitalising the NDIA- with a commitment to lift the staffing cap and review labour hire arrangements, though so far, the new government has only promised 300 additional Agency staff. They also pledged to “review NDIS design, operation and sustainability.” Not 100% sure what that means- but looking forward to finding out! Stopping the waste- including cracking down on provider fraud and reviewing the Agency’s use of external law firms. Boosting efficiency- by improving the planning and appeals processes. Shorten has said in the past he wants to focus on getting “the initial plan right” and described the current process as a “bureaucratic nightmare.” Stopping unfair plan cuts- which is self-
explanatory in principle, but it will be interesting to see how they plan to implement. Fixing regional access- particularly by looking at thin markets in regional areas. Putting people back into the NDIS- through co-design and having more people with disability on the board. More widely, Labor has also promised to invest in advocacy, explore more flexible housing options, boost employment of people with disability and support Australians with a disability who are not on the NDIS. Last year, Shorten told the National Press Club that “the promise of the NDIS has been betrayed. Not yet fatally. But still substantially.”
Resignation by The Guardian
The chief executive of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), Martin Hoffman, has resigned ending weeks of speculation about his future.
spending on private lawyers to battle NDIS participants in the courts, amid a huge spike in appeals against reductions to funding packages.
Hoffman, who took on the role in November 2019, was heavily criticised during the last government’s term by Labor’s then NDIS spokesman, Bill Shorten, who accused the NDIA leadership of losing the trust of the disability community.
Hoffman apologised this year after Guardian Australia revealed NDIA staff had compiled an “intelligence report” of a woman’s social media posts as it unsuccessfully fought to deny her support.
Before the election, Shorten told Guardian Australia that “you have to question the whole leadership of the NDIS in the last few years” and singled out Hoffman, as well as former chair Helen Nugent. Shorten blamed them for the abandoned “independent assessments” proposal that advocates say broke trust between people with disability and the NDIA.
As the new minister, Shorten last week batted away questions about Hoffman’s future. “I thank Hoffman for his service and wish him well in his next endeavours,” Shorten said. Hoffman faced significant pressure over the independent assessments saga, during which several damaging internal leaks pointed to dissatisfaction with the agency’s attempts to clamp down on increasing costs and alter the way the scheme worked. The proposal, which was eventually dropped by the Morrison government after opposition from the states and disability groups, would have seen applicants for the scheme assessed by government-contracted allied health professionals, rather than their own treating specialists. Hoffman later said he “deeply regrets” the way the matter was handled. The agency has been accused of wasteful
The NDIA chair, Denis Napthine, said in a statement that during Hoffman’s leadership the scheme had “completed the full transition from the old systems – and grew dramatically with now more than 520,000 participants benefiting”. “He has also overseen significant participant experience improvements, with an emphasis on digital investment that will deliver further improvements in future,” Napthine said.
“He led the agency with passion, grace and commitment, including managing through the impacts of the Covid pandemic.” Hoffman said it was an “absolute privilege” to have served in this role for the last three years. The NDIA’s deputy chief executive, Lisa Studdart, will serve in the position while a replacement is found. Advocates have already called for the agency to be headed by a person with disability. The Greens senator Jordon Steele-John, who lives with a disability, accused Hoffman of breaking trust with people with disability, saying the independent assessments proposal had caused stress and trauma. He said the new chief executive would be tasked with rebuilding trust and that “ideally, this person will be a disabled person”.
WhatsUp in Disability
WhatsUp After the success of 2021’s Bursary program in Queensland it’s back for 2022 with the new name of the NDSP Goal Getter Grant and will be extending it to all of Australia with, a National Grant of $5000 and six State Grants of $2000 that can be put towards equipment, business advice, course fees or other study requirements. Additionally, we will also be awarding $250 gift vouchers to 7 runners-up.
Jobs Fair On the 7th of June WhatsUp attended the Toowoomba Jobs Fair where we met and spoke with many aspiring young job searchers and potential future leaders. It was great to see so many people breaking through their barriers and engaging in their future.
Applications for the 2022 Grant are now open and close on Friday 23 September. Last year we had three successful applicants who were chosen from a pool of 27 applications. John will be using the bursary to help kickstart his own wood and metal production business. Chantel is using the bursary to take up further studies in swimming and training. Willow with the assistance of the bursary program will be starting her own arts and crafts micro-enterprise. The judges were impressed with the ambition and creativity of all entries saying, “It’s not dis-ability it’s different abilities” She saluted this innovative program which provides solutions.” Angela Boyd You are eligible if you are a person living with a disability, who lives in Australia and are seeking to:
• Study at high school level or beyond • Enter employment • Start a microbusiness For further details please go to: https://ndsp.com.au/ndsp-goal-gettergrant/#1654823363697-7f247e23-3919
The day bought many successes with potential employees called and further created the opportunity to speak with the Member of Groom, Garth Hamilton. After speaking with the member it has arisen the opportunity to have Garth attend the monthly Toowoomba Disability Support Providers Network where he will be open to questions referring to the future of the NDIS under a Labor Government.
2022 Disability Support Worker Conference Fast-forwarding to the 15th and we were off again with our eyes set on the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre to attend the 2022 Disability Support Worker Conference where our team and business leaders had high hopes of developing their skills and obtaining information for our local future NDIS leaders and disability support workers.
WhatsUp in Disability
Guardianship by Natalie Wade DSC
A human rights approach As a disability rights lawyer who represents people with disabilities and their families every day, I know that there is often a lot of confusion and fear around guardianship laws; especially about why they exist. This article is designed to fill you in on how these laws came to be and what role they have in a modern Australia that acknowledges the human rights of people with disability. In Australia, a person has the right to make their own decisions and it is presumed, at the level of the law, that a person can do so. However, guardianship and administration laws around the country remove that right where a person is not considered able to make decisions for themselves. These laws invoke a substitute decision-making model where a person or statutory officer like the Public Guardian is appointed to make legal decisions for a person. The substitute decision-maker can be in place for years at a time and can be empowered to make all legal decisions for a person, be it healthcare, lifestyle, accommodation or financial and legal decisions. These legislative regimes, which differ from state to state, are draconian. The legal removal of decision-making rights from people with disabilities, specifically those with intellectual disabilities and cognitive impairments, stretches back to Roman law, which developed in medieval England where “responsibility for the mentally disordered law first with the church and the lord of the manor”. In those days, “… the king had the custody of the person and lands of those born with an intellectual disability during their lifetime …”. You can see that since their inception, these laws have been aimed at people with intellectual
disabilities and cognitive impairment, creating significant structural disadvantages and the consistent removal of their rights over the course of history. In Australia, guardianship and administration laws as we know today them came over on the invading boats. In 1823, the first version of this type of law in an Australian context was created and read “… we do hereby authorise the Supreme Court to appoint … guardians, and keepers of the persons and estates of natural fools, and of such as are or shall be deprived of their understanding or reason by act of God, so as to be unable to govern themselves and their estates …”. This is the disturbing, and in today’s language, ableist, foundation on which current guardianship and administration laws have been built. Guardianship and administration laws as we know them today were established between 1986 and 2000. Victoria acted first in 1987, establishing an independent guardianship tribunal and creating a statutory Public Advocate, and Queensland finished the nationwide modernisation of guardianship laws (except for the Northern Territory) in 2000. The simple passage of time that has brought with it an advancing of the recognition of disability rights in Australian law and society, leaves current guardianship and administration laws as relics of an era that no longer exists. Since 2000, there have been two key milestones in the disability rights movement in Australia from a legal perspective: Australia’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2008 and the enactment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (Cth). These instruments are important indicators of Australia moving toward the realisation of the human rights of people with disabilities.
From a public policy perspective, Australia has had two National Disability Strategies since 2000, both of which aim to ensure that all levels of the Australian government pursue disability rights principles through their legislative and policy making endeavours. As a result, we have an overall legal and public policy framework that recognises the rights of people with disabilities beyond those allowed under current guardianship and administration laws. So, you can see how it is perplexing to folks who work with people with disabilities and have a current understanding of their rights to then come across guardianship and administration laws and need to grapple with how to properly work inside the confines of these draconian instruments. You are not alone; in 2014, the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended that a supported decision-making model be introduced into law to move us away from having a binary system where a person either makes decisions for themselves or has a substitute decision maker. Under a supported decision-making model, a person is supported to make decisions for themselves rather than defaulting to a person being appointed to make decisions for them. Having this model would better reflect current understandings of disability rights and realise the rights of people with disabilities in a way that we would all expect. Unfortunately, the recommendations made in 2014 have not been adopted to date. Having canvased the current approach to guardianship and administration laws in Australia, it is typical of the NDIS that they have their own approach for those who are not able to make decisions about their access to or plans for the Scheme! Separate from guardianship laws, the NDIS has set up a nominee structure. Plan or correspondence nominees can be appointed by the NDIA CEO and, in that role, can carry out decisions for a participant with respect to their NDIS plan or correspondence with the NDIA. A nominee does not have to be a guardian under state laws. A guardian is not
required to be appointed under state law for a nominee to be appointed under the NDIS Act. Unlike guardianship appointments under state law, where there are few guidelines on the expectations of the conduct of a guardian, how an NDIS nominee is expected to act is outlined in Part 5 of the Nominee Rules. So, while the two models may look similar, there are important legal differences that should be considered in each individual circumstances. For those working with people with disabilities at the interface of where they may make decisions – for example about where they want to live or what services they receive (guardianship laws) or about their NDIS Plan (NDIS Nominee) – a human rights approach would include the following considerations:
• Why is the person finding it difficult to make their own decisions? Is there support that can be wrapped around the person to better facilitate the decisionmaking process?
• What are the legal responsibilities of the person being required to make the decision and of the person supporting them in making a decision?
• Can the person needing to make the decision be referred to an independent lawyer or advocate to get confidential advice on their situation before action is taken? In answering these questions, consider the following principles:
• Assume that a person can make their own decisions (even if informal support is needed).
decision-making should be used as a last resort, always (or really, in my view, just avoid it wherever possible).
• If a person needs a guardianship or administration order (or an NDIS nominee, for that matter), ensure that the person has access to independent legal and advocacy help so they can know their rights from the outset. 17 June 2022 WhatsUp in Disability
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10.00 am every Saturday $20 per session 3 games Sports Registration $52 (membership) Glenda (07) 4614 1136 Kathy (07) 4630 5221 Page 16
“When it comes to how to mark 70 years as your Queen, there is no guidebook to follow. It really is a first. But I have been humbled and deeply touched that so many people have taken to the streets to celebrate my Platinum Jubilee,” Celebrating Queen Elizabeth and her 70 years on the throne, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022 was a four-day bank holiday full of events to honour the royal’s service to her nation and beyond. The merriment began with Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s birthday parade, which features 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians lauding the monarch. Elizabeth's formal coronation ceremony in 1953 was the first to be broadcast on live television. Some 27 million people watched it in the United Kingdom alone.
Celebrating 25 Years On the 16th July, we'll be celebrating 25 years since we first opened our doors back in 1997. To celebrate, we're doing
25 DAYS OF DEALS! You can take advantage of one or all of our deals, but remember that each deal is only valid for the date stated.
Come in and help us celebrate!
WhatsUp in Disability
Reforming the Transport Standards Access to public transport is critical for people with disability to participate fully in community life and the economy. Many use public transport to take them to work or study, connect them to family, friends and the community, or help them access services, such as healthcare. The Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards) are formulated by the Attorney-General under subsection 31 (1) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (the DDA). The Transport Standards seek to remove discrimination for people with disability in relation to public transport services to provide equality and independence. The Transport Standards apply to train, tram, bus and coach, ferry, taxi and aviation services and are designed to provide certainty to providers and operators of public transport services and infrastructure about their responsibilities under the DDA.
The Transport Standards require all of Australia's public transport networks and associated infrastructure to be fully accessible by the end of 2022 (with the exception of trains and trams, which have until the end of 2032). The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications opened registrations for upcoming public consultations events for Stage 2 Reforms of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002. People with disability, their families and carers and advocacy groups are invited to provide feedback on the proposed reforms through upcoming public consultation events held from 17 June to mid-July 2022. There are several opportunities to get involved, including in webinars, online community workshops and online written discussion boards
The Queensland Government has released a new web portal with information and resources for people with disability experiencing or at risk of domestic and family violence. The webpage provides videos, information and resources in relation to:
recognising the signs
how you can help
support and resources
barriers to seeking support.
To access the webpage please visit www.qld.gov.au/dfvdisability
Queensland State Schools 30,000 extra students will be supported thanks to a $80.6 million new disability funding model for QLD state schools. This will employ 493 new full-time equivalent teacher, teacher aides, and Heads of Special Education Services. Dyslexia, ADHD, FASD, Tourette Syndrome, Diabetes, and PTSD will now be supported.
WhatsUp in Disability
by Jess Wright
WhatsUp in Disability Queens Park Market Trailer For some weeks now, we have been working with the Lions Club of Toowoomba West who are our next door neighbours and famous for their Queens Park Christmas Lights, to purchase their mobile BBQ and kitchen trailer to use for the Queens Park Markets. We are very excited by this purchase and the wonderful support of the Lions’ members to ensure that this occurred so easily and to everyone’s satisfaction.
For the past years we have utilised a BBQ trailer sponsored through Toowoomba KIA and we are so very grateful for their support. SEE YOU AT THE NEXT MARKETS!
WhatsUp in Disability
WhatsUp by John Elliott 29 June 1911 “Empire Pictures”
22 February 1933 Fire destroyed the building
1971 the building closed and fell into disrepair 28 June 1997 Award-winning restoration and a grand re-opening
Since reopening in 1997, the Empire Theatre has become a full performing arts precinct, receiving commendation from visitors, patrons and performers alike. The complex has expanded with the addition of the Empire Church Theatre, Empire Studio and newest space, The Armitage Centre, fixing its place as the largest performing arts theatre in regional Australia.
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 Bluey has a deaf character The already iconic family series debuted a new character named Dougie, another little pup who loves the playground. What makes Dougie distinct is the character is deaf and is depicted as using Auslan to communicate with his mum.
The episode was broadcast on ABC Kids while a special version of the episode featuring an Auslan interpreter in the corner of the screen was made available on ABC iView. Ludo, the production company behind Bluey, worked with Deaf Connect to write and animate the episode, and the ABC worked with Deaf Connect on the Auslan translated version of the episode. The designers and animators worked with deaf Auslan users to help get the correct hand shapes and signs to make the episode as accurate as possible. Because the characters only have four fingers, this made it a little tricky for some of the signs to be completely accurate.
WhatsUp in Disability
Legislation Amendments Media Release 1 July 2022 The National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Participant Service Guarantee and Other Measures) Act 2022 will enable the NDIA to make processes easier and better for NDIS participants. significant change to the participant’s circumstances,
From 1 July, when participants and their authorised representatives ask for a change to their NDIS plan, the Agency will be able to do this in some circumstances without having to replace the current plan with a new one. This will be called a plan variation.
• If the Agency receives new information in
These variations will help participants access new supports quickly without having to go through a full plan reassessment.
increase the funding of supports in the plan.
We will also start using the term ‘plan reassessment’ instead of ‘plan review’ to avoid confusion with an internal review of decisions at the request of a participant (known as a review of reviewable decisions). The NDIA can only conduct a plan variation in circumstances prescribed in the NDIS Act to correct a minor or technical error including:
• To change the reassessment date of the plan,
• If there needs to be a change to the
response to a request for information that had previously been made, or
• If a minor variation is required to
Participants and authorised representatives will still have the right to appeal our decisions through the current internal and external review processes. Other changes to the NDIS Act that will start on 1 July include:
• Recognising the importance of carers and family in the principles of the NDIS Act.
• Adding lived experience of disability as a consideration NDIS Board.
supports in funding for of the plan providers for
• Clarifying that episodic and fluctuating
• To make a change to an existing stated
• Putting risk assessments in place for
statement of participant relation to managing the supports or other aspects such as changing specified particular supports,
support to reflect a different provider or manner of support provision,
the participant requires crisis or emergency funding as a result of a
impairments can be considered permanent when determining eligibility to the Scheme, including for people with psychosocial disability. participants who want to use a plan manager to purchase supports from unregistered providers. https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/7975-2022ndis-legislation-amendments-july-update
2022/23 Prices Most supports will see the biggest increase in pricing to date – but there are some notable exceptions.
nation of Supports services and Level 3: Specialist Support Coordination services price limit is justified at this time."
Support Work prices up 9%
"It is therefore recommended that the price limits for plan management fees should not be changed."
Prices dependent on the Disability Support Worker Cost Model have been increased 9%. This significant increase is designed to address the major cost pressures on providers, including changes to the SCHADS Award, minimum wage and superannuation guarantee and costs associated with NDIS registration and the pandemic. It has been calculated based on: 1.7% increase to base prices 2% temporary loading, reviewed annually 4.6% increase in award minimum wages
0.5% increase to superannuation guarantee charge While it’s great to see many of the cost pressures addressed, there are still some key gaps in the DSW Cost Model, which assumes that all workers are paid 4 weeks annual leave and corporate overheads remain at 12%, despite their own benchmarking evidence showing that only a fraction of providers are operating at this level.
Therapy, Support Coordination and Plan Management Providers of therapy, support coordination and plan management will be frustrated to see that the NDIA are not increasing pricing for the second year in a row. While the Pricing Updates page states that “further review” is required, the Annual Pricing Review Final Report is fairly adamant that prices not be increased, stating:
And perhaps most troublingly, in relation to therapy: "On balance, the available evidence argues for a decrease in the current price limits for therapy supports. However, there is significant risk that such a decrease would disrupt the provision of supports to participants in some regions.
Short Notice cancellations to 7 days In a pretty major change, the definition of "short notice" has been extended in the provider's favour. Previously set at 2 days for shorter supports or 5 days for others, the definition is where a person: Does not show up for a scheduled support within a reasonable time, or is not present at the agreed place and within a reasonable time when the provider is travelling to deliver the support; or Has given less than seven (7) clear days’ notice for a support. Providers are now also allowed to bill for Centre Capital Cost in the event of a short notice cancellation.
Bereavement Addendum SIL providers can now claim a support for up to 4 weeks.
"On balance, it is not considered that an increase in the price limits for Level 2: Coordi-
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Workforce Australia Starting on 4 July, Workforce Australia will be the new employment service delivered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. The Points Based Activation System (PBAS) will give individuals greater personal responsibility and choice in how they will manage their mutual obligations.
PBAS does not apply to participants who are in Transition to Work, ParentsNext, Disability Employment Services Program or the Community Development Program. If you are a participant of these programs, you will not use PBAS and you will continue to report your job search or activities in the same way that you do now.
Workforce Australia will become the front door for government employment and skills services, helping Australians to find and keep a job, change jobs or create their own job, connecting employers with job seekers, and a refreshed network of providers to deliver tailored case management.
Workforce Australia employment services will give individuals the knowledge and tools they need to get a job, learn new skills or access the extra support if they need it. If you are a job-ready job seeker you will be placed in our online employment services. If you need more support to get job ready an Employment Service Provider will support you with tailored services.
https://www.dese.gov.au/workforce-australia/workforce-australia-employment-services https://www.dese.gov.au/workforce-australia/employment-services-information-individuals Page 28
Special Schools by Catherine Smith
Catherine Smith, Lecturer, Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne This week, the disability royal commission looked at the experiences of children and young people with disability in different schools across Australia. This includes mainstream schools as well as so-called “special schools”. An estimated 10% of school students (aged 5–18) in Australia have a disability, although this number is much higher in some states. Most of these students (89%) attend mainstream schools, but an increasing number of students with disability and their families are choosing special schools. Research suggests children fare better in inclusive mainstream settings. So why are more students being enrolled in special schools, and what can we do about it? Every child has a right to education Internationally, it is recognised that every child has the right to education. The Convention of the Rights of People with Disability, to which Australia was one of the first signatories, says children with disabilities should not be excluded from free and compulsory education on the basis of disability. As a result, education systems need to think about what inclusion means, and how to achieve it. The term “inclusion” was first universally advocated for students with disability in the 1994 UNESCO Salamanca Statement. This said integration of children with disabilities could be possible through inclusive mainstream schools. Various legal provisions in Australia, for example the Disability Discrimination Act, the
Education Act and the Disabilities Standards for Education aim for inclusion of students with diagnosed intellectual, physical, sensory or learning disabilities into mainstream classes. However, nationally there is no agreed definition of inclusive education and no countrywide legislation that mandates it. Why do we still have special schools? Special schools aim to meet the needs of students with disability by providing support and adjustments away from mainstream classrooms. Disability and education advocates argue special schools are a form of segregation and go against students’ human rights. However, some state governments continue to promote special schools alongside the mainstream system, arguing this still qualifies as “inclusion” in learning. While special schools are often seen to be more cost-effective – they consolidate specialist trained teachers in one place – there is evidence the opportunities for academic advancement and opportunity are not adequate. Students with disability who go to mainstream schools are more likely to enrol in post-secondary education, to be employed and live independently. According to one research review, students in mainstream schools also tend to have better social skills. Meanwhile, all students who are educated in inclusive classrooms hold less prejudicial views and are more accepting of people who are different from themselves. This week is the disability royal commission’s 3rd hearing into education. It is due to hand down its final report in September 2023.
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With Andrew Spradbrow Youth Leaders Program Nominations are now open for Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) 2023 Youth Leaders Program and young people from across the Region are encouraged to apply. Young people who live, work or study in the Toowoomba Region aged 14-24 are asked to consider applying as TRC looks for 25 of the Region’s best and brightest youth to join the 2023 program. TRC Environment and Community Portfolio Chair Councillor James O’Shea said the Youth Leaders Program was a great way for young people to engage with Council and have their say on the future direction of the Region. “The Regional Youth Leaders play an important role in ensuring our programs are relevant, meet the needs of local young people and have the greatest reach possible. “The Youth Leaders also get the opportunity to learn about our processes and the role of local governments. We encourage them to have a say and develop grassroots projects to create positive change – not only for our Region's young people but the wider community. “As part of their role, the Youth Leaders provide a voice for other young people, identify community issues and share information on opportunities for young people to connect to events, programs and service providers. “The Youth Leaders represent areas from across the entire Toowoomba Region,” Cr O’Shea said. TRC has an equal employment opportunity Page 32
policy and all recruitment will be based on merit. Applications are strongly encouraged from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander young people, young people from a range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, young people with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ young people. TRC also aims to achieve a genderbalanced group. Nominations close on Sunday 31 July 2022 and can be submitted on the TRC web site. Applications are open for Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) next round of community grants. TRC Environment and Community Services Committee chair Cr James O’Shea said community and not-for-profit groups were welcome to apply for funding to assist their project or event. Applications are open and must be lodged by August 1, 2022. Cr O’Shea said the current funding program covered applications for the Sport and Recreation, Event Support, Community Support, Community Economic Development, Environment, Cultural and Arts Support and Sports Tourism grants. Cr O’Shea said revised eligibility criteria for the Sport and Recreation grant program meant groups that had small projects that required smaller contributions could now access the program. He said the current application round was the first that would need to be lodged online via Council’s new SmartyGrants software platform.
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: email@example.com
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