WhatsUp in Disability Magazine September October 2021

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September / October 2021

Disability Information Services by People with Disability Toowoomba and Southern Queensland

Volume 5, Issue 102

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Proudly supported and printed by ToowoombaWhatsUp Region in Disability

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Highlights September / October 2021

09 10 13 14 19 27

COVID-19 Updates

NDIS National Workforce Plan

Independent Assessments

Business Disability Awards 2021

Where to from here Conference

NDIS in Brief

Cover Page Alyce Nelligan Disability Advocate Political Activist Mother Photo by Alyce

Steven Paull JP (Qual) President Page 2

The Editor’s Desk ‘A tragic and wasted opportunity’ Australia’s inglorious exit from Afghanistan from a war that killed 41 Australian troops, seriously injured another 260 and where a staggering 500 others have taken their own lives since 2001. Australia invested more than $10 billion in a war that also perhaps irreparably damaged the reputation of the elite Special Air Service (SAS) amid allegations of war crimes against the most decorated living Australian soldier. To my son-in-law William and all the others, thank you for your service.

Derek Tuffield 34 years of faithful and dedicated service We featured Derek in our January/February 2021 edition and I am very proud to have been associated with Derek in a number of community events, fundraising, meetings with Government agencies and ministers and helping those in our community who are struggling with a range of challenges including housing, disability, mental health and many others. I wish Derek and Rosemerry all the very best in their retirement and I’m sure that this is not the last time that we see them actively contributing to our community. Thanks for your contribution and support.

Business Disability Awards WhatsUp in Disability is proud to be a media partner for this inspiring event. This year the keynote speaker is Paul Hockey the first disabled person to climb Mt Everest and Australian voice-over artist Ian "Lofty" Fulton, who in recent years, is the narrator of MasterChef Australia, his voice is heard in more than 180 countries. Chances are you've heard him and don't even realise it. I would like to also acknowledge the wonderful work that Kaylene and her team of volunteers do at the Good Samaritan Op Shop at 20 Bowen Street and for their very generous donation of $300.

Steven Paull JP (Qual) President WhatsUp in Disability

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WhatsUp There are times in my life when I meet someone truly inspirational, times when someone changes you in a deep and meaningful manner and times when I could spend hours with them discussing things of great importance or simply of interest. Alyce is one of those very rare people that combine all of the above things. In writing stories for WhatsUp in Disability I get to meet and interview a great number of people and I am truly honoured that each of these people share part of their life with me, that they are so generous with their time and that they work with me to make a change in our community. I first met Alyce Nelligan in 2011 when I was searching for people in our community who had achieved incredible things in their life to acknowledge in the event that I was organising for International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) to be held in the President’s Room at the City Golf Club. Alyce had recently graduated from USQ where she had studied Creative Arts and had written, produced and stared in a play. Alyce told me that she had started her studies to be a teacher but on a whim she changed to Creative Arts with Theatre as one of her electives. Alyce encountered some barriers at this time and made it her passion to write a play about how the world sees disability. She acknowledges that in coming out as a practitioner, most of her inspiration came from Leah Purcell AM, an indigenous Australian actress, director and writer, as well as a Helpmann Award and AACTA Award winner. Alyce grew up on a farming property outside of Gooloogong a town of around 300 people in NSW. Her parents were very supportive of her and her needs and fought against her being excluded from mainstream education when she had to attend a school of indigenous Australians. The new school went to a great deal of effort to accommodate Alyce installing a wheelchair ramp so she could access the classrooms. This was reported to the media and they showed up to report on this only to find that the ramp ended with a step at the bottom. Six weeks later this was fixed and she was finally able to attend school. Page 4

Go Pink

by Steven Paull

Alyce Nelligan Alyce’s Grandad was a handyman, as well as being inventive and hand-made most of the items in the house that made Alyce’s life more comfortable. Things like an accessible bed and parallel bars around the house. Alyce moved to Toowoomba as there were more opportunities here for study and work and it was here where she started her studies to be a teacher where she moved on to Creative Arts. For the next 11 years Alyce worked with WhatsUp’s Toni Mitchell and TASC’s Rodney Vagg providing workshops on understanding disability in schools throughout the region and providing advocacy to those in need. Alyce’s life has been filled with barriers. She was told that she would not live to 23 and then not to 27 and that she would never survive a pregnancy. How wrong they were. Alyce is in a loving relationship with Brendan, their two foster children and their daughter. Alyce met Brendan through her brother where one day he showed up at Uni.

Brendan says “Alyce is smart and interesting, and not too bad on the eyes.” After some time they decided to give the relationship a go and went on a holiday away together. That was 10 years ago. “Brendan brought me out of my shell”

“ I love this colour combination. You know I love pink and red! It's so good! And sexy!”

When talking about being a mother Alyce looked down at the floor and then with hurt and anger in her voice told me what she had been told by the Doctors and others. “What if she turns out like you!” This kind of statement, “Wears you down, it is damaging and just creates barriers.”

Being in a chair, Alyce just wants to be a normal mum, but understands that there are times when she is not able to pick up her children, nurse them or give them a bath. “Brendan has taken on a number of mum things,” she said. “This makes me sad sometimes when I want to be a mum but I’m restricted by my mobility.”


A documentary is currently being produced about Alyce’s life and it is guaranteed to be one that no one should miss. WhatsUp in Disability

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Go Green by Steven Paull

Alyce Nelligan decided early on that the Greens best matched her political ideals. “Everyone works together and there is compromise and good intentions, even if they don’t always work out as well as they could do,” she said, “It’s not just about protecting the environment.”

Alyce is an outspoken critic of issues she has found within the NDIS particularly around the level of choice and control participants have over their plans. She realised that to make a true difference she need to be in the right position to be able to work with the right influential people and politics is where this is most prevalent. At a state level she is focused on water, affordable public housing and access. What about the future—watch this space!

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Alyce’s Miracle Baby Alessandra Nelligan-Cooke could fit in your hand, when she was born 10 weeks premature, a few months ago. Now she's so heavy and healthy, that her mother, Elyse, struggles lifting her up. “She just hit 5 kg, which we were stoked at,” Alyce said. The 10-week-old Toowoomba baby celebrated her first Christmas with parents Alyce and her fiancé, Brendan Cooke. Alessandra's mother entered the record books in July when she became the first woman, with minicore myopathy in Australia, known to have given birth. The rare and complex muscle wasting disease meant, Alyce’s final few weeks, carrying Alessandra were painful, with doctors performing a caesarean at 30 weeks. “I couldn't get any larger and her growth slowed, I pushed the limits of my physical size” Alyce said. But the 32-year-old said after a few nervous weeks in the hospital, she realized her daughter was as healthy and happy as any other baby. “It was so nerve wracking, taking her home. I didn't sleep for the first few days, but she was happy and didn't have any problems” Alyce said. “She's such a happy and funny baby. She's always smiling and laughing. You couldn't meet a happier baby.”

by Tom Gillespie The Chronicle

Alyce, a fierce advocate for the rights of those with disabilities, said the enormity of her achievement to simply give birth dawned on her several weeks later. “Every so often, it just hits you. I look at her and realize, I did it. It makes you realize this is something extraordinary. We have a long way to go, but when people go out and do this, it breaks the stigmas to help people who come afterwards. It normalizes this for disabled people.” Alyce and her daughter defied doctors throughout the pregnancy, and after Alessandra’s birth. “I just pinched myself, even my GP was shocked.” She laughed.

WhatsUp in Disability

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COVID-19 Updates COVID-19 Disaster Payment This is a lump sum payment to help workers unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 state public health order. This may involve a lockdown, hotspot or movement restrictions.

People with disability and disability workers are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Some people with disability are at greater risk of becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19, so getting vaccinated is very important.

How much you can get will depend on your location and your individual circumstances. Your Support Workers You have a choice over who you employ to support you. You can ask your disability service provider to encourage your support worker to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If your worker doesn’t want to be vaccinated, and this is an issue for you, contact your service provider. Your service provider will talk to about other arrangements for your support worker. This may mean finding a different support worker for you.

WhatsUp in Disability

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WhatsUp We don’t need to overstate the challenge of finding a suitably sized and skilled provider workforce to deliver on the promises of the NDIS. It’s a challenge that has been slowly growing over the past few years. It’s always in the background, pervading the day-to-day operations of providers, but any possible solutions often feel beyond providers’ control.

NDIS National Priority 1 Improve community understanding of the benefits of working in the sector and strengthen entry pathways. To achieve this, the Plan highlights five initiatives: 1. Promote opportunities in the care and support sector.

Well, the Department of Social Services (DSS) has released a document that aims to turn potential solutions into reality and put them into practice.

2. Develop a simple and accessible online tool for job seekers to self-assess their suitability for new roles based on values, attributes, skills, and experience.

Following from the 2019 NDIS Market and Workforce Strategy, the NDIS National Workforce Plan: 2021–2025 was released in June. It reminds us of the scale of the workforce challenge: there are currently 3,175 unfilled vacancies, and (more dauntingly) forecasts suggest an additional 83,000 NDIS workers will be required by 2024.

3. Improve effectiveness of jobs boards to match job seekers to vacancies in the sector.

This is a significant increase on the already eye-watering 270,000 workers currently employed by providers. I don’t think anyone would say this is one of those government documents that overstates the problem – almost every provider we talk to mentions workforce as one of their biggest organisational headaches. We have long needed a more comprehensive roadmap for addressing the workforce challenge, beyond the hollow rallying cry of “support growth in the market.” The Workforce Plan has four components: to support and retain existing workers, to grow the workforce, to maintain quality of supports, and to support sector efficiency and innovation. From this vision, there are 16 initiatives that the Commonwealth government will implement, across three key priorities:

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4. Leverage employment programs to ensure suitable job seekers can find work in the sector.

5. Better connect NDIS and care and support providers to employment and training providers and workers (that is a serious number of “and”s in one clause!)

Priority 2 Train and support the NDIS Workforce to support retention and meet the needs of participants. The initiatives for this priority area are: 1. Develop micro-credentials and update nationally recognised training to improve the quality of supports and enhance career pathways. 2. Support the sector to develop a Care and Support Worker Professional Network. 3. Work to establish a skills passport. 4. Support the sector to increase the number of traineeships and student placements, working closely with educational institutions and professional bodies.

Workforce Plan 2021-2025 by Rob Woolley DSC NEWS services and supports they need online. 5. Explore options to support allied health professionals to work alongside allied health assistants and support workers to increase capacity to respond to participants needs. 6. Enable allied health professionals in rural and remote areas to access professional support via telehealth. 7. Help build the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector to enhance culturally safe NDIS services. Overall, it’s good to see a well-researched approach, and this is the most useful NDIS Workforce Plan to date. But until some of the more deep-rooted problems are addressed by forces broader than just DSS, the challenge will continue to grow and affect choice and control.

In Summary

Priority 3 Support efficiency and innovation through reduced red tape, new service models and innovation, and improved market information The initiatives for this priority area are: 1. Improve alignment of provider regulation and worker screening across the care and support sector. 2. Continue to improve NDIS pricing approaches to ensure effective operation of the market, including in thin markets. 3. Provide market demand information across the care and support sector to help identify new business opportunities. 4. Support participants to find more of the

I do have to give the Plan credit for trying to tackle the elephant in the room: NDIS pricing. Most providers would agree that the pricing cap is one of the main factors stopping them from recruiting and retaining workers. But the priorities in this Plan seems like DSS dancing around the issue The Plan talks about provider responsibilities like undertaking workforce planning, targeting growth, investing in skills for the entire workforce (including leaders), developing innovative service models, leading cultural change, considering employee value propositions... how is any provider supposed to do that when it’s billing $55 per hour? So, the initiatives in this priority area targeting pricing decisions make complete sense – I just have a healthy scepticism about whether they’ll have any impact.

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Independent Assessments Are Dead - long live the…? Sara Gingold DSC NEWS Analysis

Wow, who saw that coming? As you have probably heard by now, months of stubbornly insisting that Independent Assessments (IAs) were essential for the survival of the NDIS culminated in Minister Linda Reynolds announcing on Friday evening that the program has officially been scrapped. Her press release followed the Disability Reform Ministers meeting with the states and territories, in which she was seeking in-principle support for her amendments to the NDIS Act. The fact that the states and territories denied that support is unsurprising. But the commonwealth’s surrender to the “states’ revolt” was slightly more unexpected. But how did this happen? And most importantly, where do we go from here?

To get some answers, we examine the swarm of important reports released in the lead-up to the decision and look at what they tell us about what might be next.

Independent Advisory Council (IAC) Advice on Scheme Reforms Last Wednesday, the IAC, a council consisting of people with lived experience of disability which reports to the NDIA board, broke its public silence on IAs and other proposed Scheme reforms. Its report, arriving two days before the ministers meeting, appears to have been hugely influential on the meeting’s outcome. In her press release, Reynolds noted that the advice had been well received by all the ministers and thanked the IAC for their “hard work, frank advice and professionalism.” The mandate the IAC was given was to recommend “specific changes to the access and planning proposals, including independent assessment” but not to comment on

“whether these changes should go ahead.” Those frustrating parameters basically asked council members to tell the government what they really think but nothing the government really didn’t want to hear. Regardless, the report’s first and probably most significant recommendation was that IAs should not proceed in the form they took in the pilot. Reynolds’s press release cited this as a reason for the government scrapping the program. Importantly, the report did not just cover IAs. Some of the broader recommendations should definitely remain on Reynolds’s to-do -list, including:

• Investing 1% of the NDIS’s annual spend in Tier 2 of the Scheme, covering people with a disability who are not eligible for individualised NDIS packages.

• Adjusting provider registration requirements, requiring providers to avoid client capture (except in exceptional circumstances), avoiding SIL and Support Coordination being provided by the same provider, and becoming accountable to participant outcomes and have people with disability on the board.

• Moving people from group homes to community living options.

• Rebuilding the trust of the disability community through transparency and genuine co-design, which will be a challenge if ever I’ve seen one. It’s unclear yet which (of any) of the IAC’s broader recommendations the Agency or government will act upon. However, given the emphasis on the council’s influence in the decision not to proceed with IAs, it might be politically difficult for the government to simply walk away from the rest of the report.

WhatsUp in Disability

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Business by Steven Paull and Mike Loft

These Business Awards are all about ability

September Gala Dinner a fitting celebration and night to remember.

Productive and prosperous communities rely on all its members having the opportunity to participate in and contribute as fully as possible to their community.

The last event was a sell-out success and organisers are confident for the same again.

Over 60 local business and community leaders celebrated the official launch of the 8th Business disABILITY Awards on Monday 26 July at the Toowoomba Function & Events Centre. The Awards is the only event of its kind in the region, established to recognise and celebrate people and businesses who help to create more inclusive workplaces and communities.

The Awards are open to individuals, businesses and community groups across eight categories: Social Inclusion, Outstanding Employer, Outstanding Employee, Outstanding Volunteer, Innovation & Access, Education & Training, Indigenous Champion and Business Engagement. The guest speaker is Paul Hockey, who will share his inspirational story ‘A Handful of Spirit’. Despite losing his right arm to cancer at just three weeks of age, Paul Hockey became the first disabled person to climb Mount Everest from the North side.

Ten Awards will be presented at the Gala Awards on Thursday 9 September at The Goods Shed Toowoomba. They include the Judy Antonio Memorial Award, which was established to honour the legacy of Judy Antonio who lost her battle with motor neurone disease three years ago. Mrs Antonio was the wife of Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio and the Patron of the Toowoomba Business DisABILITY Awards. The Awards also honour the legacy of Elissa Flanagan with a Scholarship in her name. Elissa was just 28 when she was involved in a fatal road accident on her way home from the Awards event in 2015. “We’ve lost two special people from our community and this is our small way of paying tribute to their lives,” Awards cofounder Paul Wilson said. Plans


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Above: Paul Hockey Facing page: Organisers L-R Paul Wilson, Kim Stokes and David Wallace

WhatsUp in Disability is proud to be a Media Partner for this inspiring event. To purchase Gala www.tbda.net.au




disABILITY Awards

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South & Greenwattle Toowoomba

10.00 am every Saturday $20 per session 3 games Sports Registration $52 (membership) Glenda (07) 4614 1136 Kathy (07) 4630 5221 Page 16

Australian Swimmer Brendan Hall Brendan posted his first picture from the Tokyo Aquatics Centre where there will be 146 events. Swimming is the 2nd largest sport behind athletics in the games that run from 24 August to 5 September. Brendan already has medals in the men’s 100 metre freestyle S9, 100 metre backstroke S9 and men’s 400 metre freestyle S9. Good luck to Brendan and the other 177 Australian competing in 18 sports.

WhatsUp in Disability

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WhatsUp Zero Tolerance is an initiative led by NDS in partnership with the disability sector. It assists disability service providers to understand, implement and improve practices which safeguard the rights of people they support. Built around a national evidence-based framework, Zero Tolerance is:

A way for organisations to understand actions they can do to prevent and respond to abuse, neglect and violence of people with disability

A clear message that abuse, neglect and violence are not okay

• •

A way of thinking about abuse as a human rights issue not a disability issue An organisational commitment to act on:

- anything that makes disability be or feel unsafe



• A way of working collaboratively within and outside the disability sector to prevent and respond to abuse The Zero Tolerance commitment is a commitment to recognise, raise and respond to any deviation from the human rights of people using disability services. It is a personal and organisational commitment to always have our eyes open and always be doing better to support rights. People with providers:





• Respect people’s choices and decisions • Involve people with disability in planning their services




- anything that doesn’t support a person’s human rights - anything that we could be doing better

• A collection of resources to educate and

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train staff at all levels to understand their responsibilities in preventing and responding to abuse

• Make sure that staff can do their job properly

• Get to know people and treat them as an individual https://www.nds.org.au/resources/zero -tolerance

National Conference WhatsUp attended this conference held the 21st and 22nd July 2021 for 2 days utilising online engagement and organised through DSC Managing Director Roland Naufal and Evie Naufal Manager online and training. Held just 10 days after the sudden announcement to ditch Independent Assessments, the timing was drop dead perfect for the Where To From Here conference. On screen and in discussion, we assembled 1,700 of the nation’s key NDIS decision makers and influencers to fill the void this question begs. It was the first time the whole service sector has been together since 2015 and we expressed our dismay that after 8 years of the NDIS, the big ideas we hoped to achieve are still a long way off. As you would expect, we also acknowledged how incredibly difficult everything is right now. The mood got pretty bleak. Then something happened about halfway through, Minister Reynolds began her speech by thanking Labor’s Jenny Macklin. In one short sentence she signalled a return to NDIS bipartisanship! The Minister even showed pride in the NDIS and demonstrated that she would promote it as an insurance scheme, not a welfare program. She then committed to:

restart the National Disability Strategy, the plan for all levels of government to address mainstream inclusion

focus on Tier 2, the up till now missing piece of NDIS community development

address the needs of those not eligible for the NDIS, the 4.5 million people with disability outside the scheme

enhance plan flexibility and return to genuine co-design.

A lot of the WTFH reaction was highly sceptical about the Minister’s commitments (that’s putting it nicely). While we agree it’s incredibly hard to have any faith in this government, at least these are the right commitments at the right time. They are promises that we can hold her accountable to. Most importantly, it shifts the debate from Minister Robert’s politics of fear and deliberate misinformation to focus on the issues that matter. Right on the Minister’s heels, original NDIS leaders, Bruce Bonyhady and John Walsh reminded us of what the scheme is intended to do. It is a scheme for every Australian, a scheme that should build capacity at every level of the nation. They insisted that we use our collective energy to demand a return to focus on what the NDIS was meant to achieve. All the major newspapers immediately picked up and ran with this message.

With this ence and somehow found the

momentum, speakers, the audieven a singer and comedian all coalesced. As a collective, we answers to where to from here?

The answers are this simple and also this complex:

• The government and NDIA must do the hard yards to rebuild trust, focus on mainstream inclusion, deliver genuine codesign and reconnect with NDIS original purpose and intent.

• Organisations need to both demand and assist the government to hold true to their promises. We also need to hold our organisations true to purpose, and that purpose is that people with disability are in control of their lives. Whenever we stray from what we promised, we need to get back on track.

And finally, the word used most often for WTFH was “Everyone” WhatsUp in Disability

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Interests The games of the XXXV Olympiad Australia will welcome the Olympic Games for a third time after Brisbane won the right to host, in an unopposed race, the International Olympic Committee announced. Of the 80 votes distributed to IOC member nations in Tokyo asking whether they accept to elect Brisbane, 5 voted “no” and 72 voted “yes”. It will also mark the second time Australia has hosted the Paralympic Games which were first held in 1960. Brisbane’s election means that the next three hosts of the Summer Games have been secured. Paris will host in 2024 and Los Angles in 2028.

Cr Tim McMahon Visits Tim has the Environment and Community portfolio and visited the Paul Myatt Community Centre to learn about some of the things that we do and what we offer to our community. Tim wrote: Steven Paull runs BigDog Support Services and the question he often gets asked is ‘what do you guys even do?’ Well think of everything a big, loyal dog does. Protection, assistance, help, a friend when needed and support to its owner. This is what their company does.

Steven with Cr Tim Mahon

They employ about 160 locals between here and their other base in Rocky. They offer support for those in the community who need it and they operate a busy community centre on Alexander Street. They give fresh produce to those in the community who need it through @ozharvesttoowoomba They are committed to ensuring that people with disabilities live as independently as possible and they offer day trips, community activities and get people making connections. Thanks for the vital role that yourself and other groups like this have in our community. WhatsUp in Disability

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WhatsUp by John Elliott Long life and happiness in a public garden "I'd walk through the garden three or four times a week with my dog Herman and take pictures," said John Elliott. "When my dog died I had a pretty serious broken heart. One day I was sorting out pictures of my dog and I found all these pictures of the gardens." John named his book 'Ju Raku En' after the garden's formal name. "It means 'long life and happiness in a public garden'," Mr Elliott explained. "That's what I try to capture in my photographs." "The gardens are over 30 years old now," John said. "I spoke with the son of the designer and while he's thrilled with how the garden looks today, he said 'come back and see it in 100 years time, when it's got a bit of age'." The iconic garden was built during the 1980s at the University of Southern Queensland and opened in 1989. The photos John loves the most are taken on less-than-perfect days. "I've taken photos of the garden in the sun and fog and winter and autumn and rain," he said. "I recommend people get out and see the garden on any day, but next time it's raining drive out there. Or if you get out of bed and it's a foggy morning, go out and experience the Japanese Garden in that weather." "I was hoping publishing the book might have been the end of it, but I think I'll photograph the Japanese Garden until I die."

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Photographs of Toowoomba’s Japanese Gardens by John Elliott

WhatsUp in Disability

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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: warrinas@warrinas.com.au or visit our office at

172 Bridge Street Toowoomba Office hours Mon-Fri 9-5pm

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Growing up Disabled Edited by Carly Findlay Carly Findlay OAM is an Australian writer, speaker, and online influencer. Findlay describes herself as an 'appearance activist', and has been outspoken on a number of disability-related issues. Growing up Disabled in Australia is a rich collection of writing from those negotiating disability in their lives – a group whose voices are not heard often enough ‘My body and its place in the world seemed normal to me. Why wouldn’t it?’ ‘I didn’t grow up disabled; I grew up with a problem. A problem that those around me wanted to fix.’ ‘We have all felt that uncanny sensation that someone is watching us.’

‘The diagnosis helped but it didn’t fix everything.’ ‘Don’t fear the labels.’ ‘That identity, which I feared for so long, is now one of my greatest qualities.’ ‘I had become disabled – not just by my disease, but by the way the world treated me. When I found that out, everything changed.’ Contributors include senator Jordon SteeleJohn, Paralympian Isis Holt, Dion Beasley, Sam Drummond, Astrid Edwards, Sarah Firth, El Gibbs, Eliza Hull, Gayle Kennedy, Carly-Jay Metcalfe, Fiona Murphy, Jessica Walton and many more. Growing Up Disabled in Australia is the fifth book in the highly acclaimed, bestselling Growing Up series.

WhatsUp in Disability

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Commission Media Releases

Supporting Safe and Enjoyable Meals

Disability Royal Commission - Latest

The NDIS Commission is creating new elearning training modules for NDIS workers. These short online courses will be on the topics of communication and mealtime management. Real voices, stories, and perspectives of people with disability are an important part of this training.

Report by Ian Montague NDS

There are opportunities to feature in the 'Supporting safe and enjoyable meals' module. This module will explain the vital role of mealtime assistance for NDIS workers, and the risks and considerations when supporting someone with swallowing disability. The producers of the module are looking for people with disability who have mealtime support needs and are willing to present, act in scenarios, and feature in the voice segments. You may be asked about your experiences with mealtimes that can be included in the training for NDIS workers. If you want to be involved, please email education@ndiscommission.gov.au to receive further information.

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An extension to the hearings has been granted to September 2023 with the next phase being the Disability Services hearings and the Psychotropic medication hearing report.

In the South Australian hearing one of the key investigations was into the death of Ann Marie Smith. In response to her death there is consideration of national community visitors and how venerability is conceived and identified A number of themes have also been established including the attitudes to complaints and feedback, the accuracy of reporting, how information travels through an organisation and changes to organisational policies. In response to a witness noting the difficulty of service provision: “Who is going to do better?” In response to a witness comment that they didn’t know of a worker’s character: “The question is: What should (your organisation) have known?”

NDIS in Brief By Sara Gingold Financial Sustainability Report The weekend before the ministers meeting, the Agency released their annual summary of the financial sustainability of the NDIS. After reading the 84-page report, I can honestly say I understand the financial situation of the NDIS significantly less well than I did before. And it seems I am not alone, as the states and territories don’t appear to know what is going on either. One of the outcomes of Friday’s meeting was “agreeing to undertake further work to understand the assumptions and cost drivers that underpin the actuarial modelling.” The one thing you can take from the report with absolute certainty won’t come as a huge shock to you – the government is not happy with how much the NDIS is costing and plans to do something about it. All of this indicates that, even with IAs off the table, we can expect the conversation about Scheme sustainability to continue. The headline-grabbing point from the report was the prediction that by 2029-30 the NDIS would cost $60bn, which is $22bn more than what the Productivity Commission projected in 2017. The question is how reliable this modelling is. To answer that, you would probably need a far more financially savvy mind than mine and access to considerably more raw data. However, when viewing this

Total Participant Costs ($m)


document in the context of the 2019-20 Annual Report (the closest thing I can find to a previous sustainability report), there is reason to be sceptical. Last year’s report did not put a dollar figure on how much the NDIS would cost by the end of the decade, but it did suggest that it would be the equivalent of 1.7% of the nation’s GDP. In the latest sustainability report, however, that estimate has gone up to 1.96%. That’s a small difference in percentage points, but in the context of Australia’s GDP we’re talking many billions of dollars. It’s also worth acknowledging that the NDIS hasn’t really had a huge budget blowout to date. The sustainability report makes a big deal of the fact that 2019-20 was the first year that the NDIS cost more than was budgeted. At the start of that financial year, the government budgeted $16.3bn for the NDIS, but actual expenses were more than planned, at $17.6bn. However, if you look at the table below, you will see all previous budgets predicted the NDIS would cost more than $17.6bn that year. So, you can’t really lower your projections substantially and then be surprised when you exceed them. The 2020-21 year did see the NDIS cost more than was budgeted, but the total amount spent was still within the range of the Productivity Commission’s 2017





Budget 2021-22

2021-22 26,487

Budget 2020-21














Budget 2019-20 Budget 2018-19 Budget 2017-18 Budget 2016-17





Actual Participant Costs






Actual Costs to Budget






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Transition Guides

Trevor Watts MP David Janetzki MP More than ever, there is a need to empower young men and women living with a disability. Ensuring that they are informed and prepared will help them seize opportunities at high school and ultimately prepare them for life beyond school in the broader community. The Guide is well researched and connects students with a range of services and resources that will make a difference to their lives. Every student should have the opportunity to work towards their heart-felt desires and aspirations – and this Guide is an important step to helping them get there.

Preparing school leavers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to participate successfully in the community and the economy is essential to securing young people's future and the future of Queensland. Careful planning and preparation helps ensure a smooth transition into employment, further education, vocational training and life in the community.

This guide is designed to give young people an overview of the supports available through government agencies and the community. As a live document it contains links to websites, Facebook, Twitter and other online pages. The guides are free to download at www.bigdogsupport.com.au/about-us/ information-booklets/ or click on the image at the top of the page WhatsUp in Disability

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in September

1-30 September 2 021

To spread the word about your next event contact WhatsUp on (07) 4632 9559 or email admin@whatsupindisability.org Page 30


in October

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mycommunity www.mycommunitydirectory.com.au

With Andrew Spradbrow TRC Annual Budget 2021-2022 Our Region is vibrant and dynamic and continues to flourish and grow despite the economic and social challenges of 2020. As Toowoomba further bridges the divide between being a big country town and regional city, it’s vital Council delivers infrastructure that will keep pace with the growth of our Region as it moves towards a new era. Investing in key infrastructure and assets now, means we can plan for future growth and sustain the lifestyle and culture we hold so dear for generations to come. The net overall increase in rates and charges will be 2.76% for an urban residential property. This means the majority of residential ratepayers will have an increase of increase of $91.43 a year, or $1.76 a week, after discount, which includes all rates and charges. The increase in the general rate is 2.5%. Few organisations deliver the range of services that local governments provide for their customers every day, from safe drinking water, sewerage and rubbish collection to roads, parks and a host of amenities such as libraries, galleries, community and cultural centres to a range of planning activities and services to safeguard public health and safety, among many others.

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In the coming year, the major areas of capital expenditure will include:

• $82.69 million for roads, bridges, footpaths, bikeways and drainage projects

• • • •

$38.52 million for water projects $16.31 million for wastewater projects $6.19 million for waste services

$17.22 million for parks and recreation projects

• $22.14 million for community services and

facilities; library and cultural services and property services

• $ 4.03 million for business strategy and operations In 2021/22 we’ll complete work on the Queens Park Master Plan with $2.4 million being allocated to significant landscaping improvement works and lighting at Vera Lacaze Park, pathway and lighting connections between the central amenities building to Godsall Street and lighting works from the central amenities to Hume Street. Council in the coming year will draft and deliver an updated Local Government Infrastructure Plan (LGIP) that will be renamed the Toowoomba Region Infrastructure Plan (TRIP). This recognises its important role in ensuring our Region remains an attractive lifestyle destination and that the infrastructure required to service growth is both affordable and facilitates economic development.


New to Disability? First Points of Contact Centrelink Payments and Services

132 468


132 717

Disability Support Pension

132 717

Health Care Card

132 490

Family Assistance

136 150

Indigenous Call Centre

1800 136 380

Emergency Crisis Payment

132 850

NDIS General Enquiries

1800 800 110

NDIA Toowoomba Office

07 4592 4057

Local Area Coordinator

07 4646 2800

Medicare General Enquiries

132 011

Pharmaceutical Benefits

132 290

MyGov Help Desk

132 307

Queensland Government Child Safety

07 4699 4255

Toowoomba Hospital

07 4616 6000

Department Housing

07 4699 4400

Community Groups

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

Carer Respite

1800 059 059

Lifeline Darling Downs

1300 991 443

Relationships Australia

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 on: Phone: 07 4632 9559 Email: admin@whatsupindisability.org

11-15 Alexander Street Toowoomba (07) 4632 9559 A volunteer disability service organisation run by people with a disability

WhatsUp in Disability

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WhatsUp Executive Team

PUBLISHER: Disability Media Association Inc (Australia) (DMAA) TELEPHONE: (07) 4632 9559 OFFICE:

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POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 3621 Toowoomba QLD 4350 E-MAIL: admin@whatsupindisability.org MANAGEMENT BOARD: Steven Paull (President) Courtney Carroll (Editor) Kylie Gordon (Secretary) Ann Paull (Treasurer) ADMINISTRATION: Tasha Grundon, Dean Gill and Bec McDermott CONTRIBUTORS: Liz Schneidewin, Bronwyn Herbertson, Sharon Boyce, Aidan Wilcock, Steven Paull and many more. PUBLISHED January/March/May/July/September/November ABN: 72 821 350 911


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WhatsUp In Disability is provided as a Master Copy to individuals and organisations. We are environmental friendly, we do not print any more copies than is absolutely necessary. We prefer and encourage the practice of passing the magazine from person to person or copying the whole magazine to pass on to others. Permission is needed to copy (see Copyright above) When copying the magazine we require that the pages be marked ‘copy’.


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Support Services Anne’s Angels



Reben Mobility



Anuha Services (Gatton)



Information Services

BigDog Support Services



Down Syndrome Support Group

Breakaway Toowoomba



(Toowoomba and District)



Liberty Health Services



Epilepsy Queensland Inc.



People of Peony



TASC National



Quality Lifestyle Support



Toowoomba Disability Information



RAWR Support Services



Wagtail Services



Super Starters Ten Pin Bowling



Warrina Services



Toowoomba Sunset Superbowl



Toowoomba Region



Akadia Training



BigDog Cleaning Services



BigDog Lawn Mowing Services



Christine Steele Counselling



Cranbrook Press






Queens Park Market



Tony Wigan Show 102.7 FM



Support Coordination Access Support Coordination



Semloh Support Services



ALLPLAN Management



Jakins Accounting



NDSP Plan Managers



Plan Management

Employment MAS Experience

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