Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Q&A with disability advocate Matt Lennox

August 15, 2013 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Matt Lennox works as a business intelligence analyst for the Taxi Services Commission, which became the new regulator of Victorian taxis and hire cars on July 1, 2013. This followed an 18-month Taxi Industry Inquiry headed by Professor Allan Fels.

Lennox was seconded from the former taxi regulator, the Victorian Taxi Directorate, to work on the inquiry as a policy adviser and data analyst. He is a volunteer at Austin Health in a mentor role as part of the Victorian Spinal Cord Injury Program. He also undertakes a range of volunteer duties for AQA Victoria, including as a facilitator of a program that he described as “a lay persons’ cognitive psychology course”. This is designed to build the skills and improve the outlook of participants with a spinal cord injury.

Q: The most challenging thing about your life?

The most challenging thing about my life changes from day to day, probably because challenges are generally overcome. Having to rely on support workers is a challenge that remains constant. Part of the difficulty is in having to live much of my life in accordance with a fairly regimented timetable, which is not ideal. Not having the ability to regulate my body temperature, which comes with quadriplegia, is also a problem.

Q: Your proudest professional moment?

I’ve had many proud moments, particularly through my involvement with the Taxi Industry Inquiry, but I suppose one that stands out was when I managed to collect a comprehensive dataset from the taxi industry that was, in all likelihood, unsurpassed by any other ever collected in the world.

Q: Any comments about the NDIS?

Well it’s just fantastic basically! Ten years ago when I was injured the concept was already universally recognised as the only equitable approach, but nobody seriously believed a government would ever commit to its cost. Putting the argument in terms of productivity was genius. It is unlikely that I’ll benefit from it personally now, but I would have early on after my accident because I was non-compensable and spent around three years waiting for proper support. Although, spinal injury was used as an example to illustrate the inequity between compensable and non-compensable people in the debate, ironically compensable people with a spinal injury actually set the benchmark. This is so that, however slowly, non-compensable people with a spinal injury would eventually receive adequate support. I think the real beneficiaries will be those born with a disability and their families, whose needs have until now been shamefully ignored.

Q: The hardest decision you have ever made?

As a matter of fact they’ve all been fairly easy. I’ve been quite lucky in that regard.

Q: Advice for dealing with a disability?

All disabilities are different so my advice would be different depending on the circumstances. Dealing with a degenerating condition, for instance, would be completely different to my own situation. My advice for dealing with a spinal cord injury would be: “It’s hard to believe, but you will get used to it to the point where you hardly think about it. Life will be fulfilling. Try to make each day a little bit better than the last.”

Q: Your favourite cause or charity?

I’m very passionate about the power of transport systems to enhance social inclusivity, not just for people with a disability, but for people disadvantaged on other grounds such as socio-economic. That’s why I sought work in the transport sector. The charity I most often support might seem strange given my personal circumstances, but I had a young cousin diagnosed with epilepsy many years ago and I’ve supported the Epilepsy Foundation ever since.

Q: Who or what inspires you?

My two young sons aged two and four are obviously a constant source of inspiration for me. They motivate me to work hard, not just so I can take care of them, but to hopefully provide a positive example. I used to be inspired by literature, but in recent years I’ve been more drawn to visual arts and find myself in an art gallery whenever I get the chance.

Q: What makes you laugh?

My wife and kids are hilarious, and I’m blessed to have some very funny friends. I also have a particularly fondness for talking dog jokes, and believe the theory that anything with a duck in it is 20 per cent funnier.



August 15, 2013
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

To submit an event, please contact: Kymberly Martin