It was a night of celebration for 14 Australians recognised in the 2015 National Disability Awards. As Ngunnawal Elder Jeanette Philips said when delivering her welcome speech “everyone tonight deserves an award as every single one of you are amazing.”
Assistant Minister for Social Services Alan Tudge also spoke warmly about the extraordinary achievements of the winners and finalists. “Through innovation, these award winners are making a substantial and lasting difference to people living with disability in our community,” he said.
Their achievements included advocacy for the rights of people with disability, improving access and inclusion, developing technology to unlock education and communication and helping people with disability find meaningful employment.
The award recipients:
- Lesley Hall Award for Lifetime Achievement in Disability – Keran Howe – Executive director of Women with Disabilities Victoria and disability rights campaigner
- Joint Ministers’ Award in Inclusive Development – Alexandra Kay –Disability Employment Officer, Scope Global that assist people with disability work as volunteers overseas
- Emerging Leader in Disability Awareness – Connor McLeod – an advocate for the blind community; Kate Swaffer – Chair, Dementia Alliance International – an advocate for the rights of people with dementia
- Excellence in Choice and Control in Service Delivery – Mind Recovery College – delivers learning opportunities for people affected by mental distress
- Excellence in Accessible Technology – Peter Ford – for NeuroSwitch technology that enables people with disability to communicate; The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children – created the first eLearning Braille course, UEB Online
- Excellence in Advocacy – Karen Williams – set up a clinic to advise people with disability on their medical and legal rights; Julie Phillips – an advocate for equal opportunities for students with disability
- Excellence in Community Accessibility – Jessica May/Enabled Employment – a recruitment company for people with disability; Kidney Heath Australia Big Red Kidney Bus Project – allows dialysis patients to take holidays; MJD Foundation – provides support to indigenous Australians with Machado Joseph Disease; Parks Victoria – a program that gives people with disability the chance to explore the outdoors; My Choice Matters – helps to prepare people for disability support services.
For more details on the awards visit: www.idpwd.com.au