10th National Disability Awards Video Gallery


Hello. I’m Karni Liddell, and I’m honoured to be the 2016 Patron of International Day of People with a Disability. Congratulations to all the winners of the National Disability Awards, and thank you for your contribution.

The awards recognise the exceptional work and effort of individuals and organisations to improve the lives of people just like me. The finalists and winners have advocated, designed, explored, discovered and built a range of products and services that will have a real impact on the lives of people with a disability.

If you want to know more on how to get involved, please visit our website.


10th National Disability Awards Winners


Lesley Hall Leadership Award

This award recognises excellence in the development of reform opportunities across all areas of Australian life that improve the lives of people with disability.


10th National Disability Awards 2016
Lesley Hall Leadership Award
Maurice Corcoran AM

Maurice Corcoran is a national influencer on disability issues.

He played a key role in development of the National Disability Strategy, and has inspired change for Australians with disability across many sectors including transport, education, accessibility and community affairs.

As chair of the Disability Advocacy Council of South Australia, Maurice represented Australians with disability to develop the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Maurice received the Order of Australia in 2006, most notably for his contribution to the development of the national standards for Accessible Public Transport.

This work also resulted in a National Award from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Lesley Hall Leadership Award
Maurice Corcoran AM
10th National Disability Awards 2016


Employer of the Year Award

This award recognises excellence in workforce diversity by providing sustainable employment opportunities for people with disability.


10th National Disability Award 2016.
Employer of the Year Award
G-Force Contracting, Western Australia
Brisbane City Council, Queensland
Griffith University, Queensland
Lifestart Cooperative Ltd, New South Wales

G-Force Contracting has a clear vision to help people with disability enter the workforce and earn full award rates of pay.

G-Force provides gardening and cleaning contracts for homes and businesses, as well as confidential document shredding. Staff with disability fill each role, and are backed and supported by experienced G-Force staff.

Over the past three years, about 40 people with disability have been placed in paid employment. There are plans to grow the business across other sectors to give more people the opportunity to work.

Brisbane City Council’s program, DisABILITY ACTION at WORK, has been helping empower, employ and retain employees with disability since the early 1990s.
The program helps people with disability to apply for council jobs. The council aims to create an inclusive organisation where applicants are valued for their abilities and contribution to the workplace.

Since the program’s inception, 80 per cent of graduates have moved onto ongoing employment or further education. By June this year, 80 per cent of program graduates had maintained employment or university studies.

Griffith University has been selected as a finalist for the Employer of the Year Award for its commitment to workforce diversity and fostering an inclusive workplace culture.
Its approach to an inclusive workplace is underpinned by the University’s Disability Action Plan, Equity and Diversity Plan, and the Equal Opportunity Policy that is driving inclusion and change.

Staff have access to a range of equity, health and wellbeing initiatives that aim to create a satisfying, inclusive, healthy and safe workplace.
Building inclusive communities for children and young people is a priority for charity Lifestart Co-operative.

Lifestart provides early intervention and support programs for children and young people living with disability or developmental delay. Highly skilled therapists, educators and family support staff work with families to achieve the best possible outcomes for a child or young person’s learning and development.

Positive and supportive adjustments are also provided to work arrangements for employees with disability, ensuring they are able to participate inclusively and meaningfully in their community.

Employer of the Year Award
G-Force Contracting, Western Australia
Brisbane City Council, Queensland
Griffith University, Queensland
Lifestart Cooperative Ltd, New South Wales
10th National Disability Awards 2016

Employer of the Year Award Winner
Brisbane City Council, Queensland
10th National Disability Award 2016


Excellence in Community Partnerships Award

This award recognises excellence in developing cross-sector community partnerships that improve access and participation in Australian life for people with disability.


10th National Disability Awards 2016
Excellence in Community Partnerships Award
Taste Creative and Bus Stop Films, New South Wales
Accessible Arts, The Deaf Arts Network, New South Wales
The Dementia Friendly Kiama Project, Kiama Municipal Council, New South Wales
Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club and the Fremantle Dockers Foundation, Western Australia

Taste Creative and Bus Stop Films are working to break down barriers and create opportunities for people with disability in the film industry.

Not only do they provide world-class education for students, they also foster inclusion in the film industry. Their work challenges the accepted notions of disability and creates opportunities for equal participation and representation.

So far, Taste Creative and Bus Stop Films have facilitated 77 creative and campaign work experience placements for people with intellectual disability, both behind and in front of the camera.

Accessible Arts, The Deaf Arts Network––or DAN––is improving the participation of Deaf and hard of hearing people in the arts.

Through its dynamic cultural and linguistic program, DAN gives people greater access to professional opportunities in the arts sector.

The network provides an authentic and unique cultural voice for the deaf community through training workshops. The organisation offers a platform for deaf artists to become leaders in their chosen art form. It is also enabling and promoting better access to the arts for deaf and hard of hearing audiences.

Kiama Municipal Council has a mission to make Kiama one of Australia’s first dementia friendly communities.

The Dementia Friendly Kiama Project is a partnership between Kiama Council, The University of Wollongong, Alzheimer’s Australia and the Kiama Community. Itis an innovative pilot driven by people living with dementia to increase awareness and understanding of the disease in the community.

Kiama residents with dementia are supported with opportunities to volunteer and work, while businesses are encouraged to provide more accessible services. This includes employing staff who understand dementia and know how to communicate effectively with people who have dementia.

Special needs children are being encouraged into sport through the innovative Starkick program delivered by Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club in Perth and the Fremantle Dockers Foundation.

Starkick provides children with special needs the opportunity to play AFL as part of a local community club, and helps them learn team skills and develop camaraderie. Children with disability aged five to 12 are brought together under the program to play alongside other Auskickers in this Australian-first initiative.
Starkick uses existing community resources and is run by the community for the community. Through the program, little footballers previously unable to participate in mainstream sporting teams have been able to play footy for the first time with a community club.

Excellence in Community Partnerships Award
Taste Creative and Bus Stop Films, New South Wales
Accessible Arts, The Deaf Arts Network, New South Wales
The Dementia Friendly Kiama Project, Kiama Municipal Council, New South Wales
Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club and the Fremantle Dockers Foundation, Western Australia
10th National Disability Awards

Excellence in Community Partnerships Winner
The Dementia Friendly Kiama Project, Kiama Municipal Council, New South Wales, New South Wales
10th National Disability Awards


Excellence in Inclusive Community Design Award

This award recognises excellence in collaborative and innovative design of places and communities that place a high value on the contribution of people with disability.


10th National Disability Awards
Excellence in Inclusive Community Design Award
Shire of Collie, Western Australia
Changing Places, Association for Children with a Disability, Victoria
V/Line, Victoria
RSL Victoria, Victoria

Collie is a welcoming, inclusive and vibrant community that prioritises compliance with accessibility standards across its CBD infrastructure, buildings and facilities.

It is committed to delivering the highest standard of accessibility, and has undertaken a number of recent improvements to increase accessibility for people with disability.

A highlight includes an upgrade to the town’s 50-metre Olympic-size swimming pool to incorporate purpose-built ramp access for wheelchair users and people with impaired mobility.

Safe, clean and convenient facilities for people who can’t use regular accessible toilets are being delivered through the Association for Children with a Disability’s Changing Places initiative.

The initiative provides specialised facilities for more than 200,000 Australians with complex and multiple disabilities and their families. This includes adult-sized adjustable change tables and ceiling hoists for people with severe and profound disabilities who would otherwise need to restrict their outings to short trips close to home or risk being placed in degrading and unhygienic situations.

Since the start of this project, over 55 Changing Places have been built––or are being built––across Australia, providing better choice and control for individuals.

V/Line’s focus on customers with communication difficulties is improving the commuter experience for people with disability and making their train and bus travel throughout Victoria easier.

V/Line’s approach is collaboration with industry experts, customers and staff, which has enabled innovative and simple solutions to be introduced.

This includes a communication toolkit, which has been developed for staff at all V/Line stations throughout the state, as well as specialised disability awareness and communication training for frontline personnel. The approach is not only improving the knowledge and skills of staff, but also increasing the confidence of about two million travellers of all abilities who use V/Line services each year.

RSL Victoria’s partnership with Housing Choices Australia is providing Australia’s younger veterans with accommodation and individual support to meet their current and future needs.

The project aims to deliver short to medium-term accommodation for younger veterans who are at risk of homelessness. But the project provides more than a roof over their head. It also offers young veterans support to transition back into the community using a holistic approach to recovery.
As a result of the partnership, RSL Victoria and Housing Choices Australia are working towards increasing security, stability, and improving the wellbeing of veterans.

Excellence in Inclusive Community Design Award
Shire of Collie, Western Australia
Changing Places, Association for Children with a Disability, Victoria
V/Line, Victoria
RSL Victoria, Victoria
10th National Disability Awards 2016

Excellence in Inclusive Community Design Award Winner
Shire of Collie, Western Australia
10th National Disability Awards 2016


Excellence in Inclusive Service Delivery Award

This award recognises excellence in innovative service design led by people with disability, or innovative services that apply person-centred approaches for people with disability that demonstrate genuine engagement with people with disability.


10th National Disability Awards 2016
Excellence in Inclusive Service Delivery Award
Determined2, South Australia
Nightlife Disability Service, Victoria

Determined2’s Immersion Therapy Program is a safe, inclusive and exciting initiative that allows people with disability to experience scuba diving in the comfort of their local pool.

A tailored program is developed for each participant and provides many benefits, including enabling participants to be active while in a weightless environment.

The program removes barriers for people with disability, increases inclusion and provides physical, psychological and fun social benefits.

Nightlife Disability Service enables people with disability to live in their own home by providing flexible, responsive, night-time support.

This unique initiative delivers a consumer-driven mobile and on-call personal care service that is tailored to each person’s needs. The service operates 365 days a year, delivering high-quality night-time support for periods upwards of 30 minutes.

Support is provided for short periods throughout the night, preventing the need for more costly and cumbersome services, such as extended evening shifts, sleep-overs or congregate care. The service model supports each person’s independence and choice, and reduces their reliance on partners, family or friends.

Excellence in Inclusive Service Delivery Award Winners
Determined2, South Australia
Nightlife Disability Service, Victoria
10th National Disability Awards 2016


Excellence in Technology Award

This award recognises excellence in innovative design and use of accessible technologies to improve the lives of people with disability, or in providing communication and information systems that are accessible, reliable and responsive to all people, including people with disability.


10th National Disability Awards 2016
Excellence in Technology Award
Rehabilitation Robots Development Partnership, Victoria
Dr Peter Puya Abolfathi, Healthcare Innovations Australia, New South Wales
Sonokids Australia, Queensland
OrbIT— accessible gaming system, South Australia

Young children who undergo intensive rehabilitation are being supported through an innovative and highly effective therapeutic aid, called the humanoid robot NAO.

The design of software for NAO to serve as a companion to children during rehabilitation is the result of a collaboration between computer scientists, physiotherapists, doctors and psychologists, known as the Rehabilitation Robots Development Partnership.

The robot has been successfully trialed with more than 30 young patients at Melbourne’s Royal Children Hospital, and is expected to improve rehabilitation and recovery time for patients.

Dr Peter Puya Abolfathi is committed to developing technology that brings function to paralysed or injured hands. And he believes that through this research and development, the same mechanism will eventually be used for other parts of the body, including the legs.

The first technology to be brought to market is the Exoflex, a device worn on the hand that can be used to perform therapy and assessment of the hand. The device can manipulate and mobilise hand joints for exercise, rehabilitation and eventually function.

Dr Abolfathi’s determination to bring this technology to market will not only help people with disability in Australia, but around the world.

Sonokids Australia has developed software that supports children with disability to participate equally and inclusively.

The Sonokids Ballyland Early Learning Software is an innovative concept that supports early computer and mobile touch screen technology skills in young children with blindness or vision impairment.

For a child who is blind, using a laptop for the first time is a valuable experience of inclusion and empowerment. Sonokids gives blind and visually impaired children the opportunity to play and learn together.

OrbIT––developed through a partnership between Flinders University, the University of South Australia, and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network in Adelaide––is a fun therapy and gaming system for children with limited hand function, such as those with cerebral palsy.

The system is an accessible home-based solution that encourages and stimulates hand use while promoting peer interaction. Children with and without disability were included in the design process.

The success of an OrbIT trial with children with cerebral palsy has led to the system being trialed with acute post-stroke patients in Adelaide, and a similar trial is planned for a major hospital in Singapore.

Excellence in Technology Award
Rehabilitation Robots Development Partnership, Victoria
Dr Peter Puya Abolfathi, Healthcare Innovations Australia, New South Wales
Sonokids Australia, Queensland
OrbIT— accessible gaming system, South Australia
10th National Disability Awards 2016

Excellence in Technology Award Winner
Dr Peter Puya Abolfathi, Healthcare Innovations Australia, New South Wales
10th National Disability Awards 2016


Excellence in Education and Training Award

This award recognises excellence in inclusive education or vocational training that delivers improved economic and social outcomes for people with disability. This award also recognises practice that demonstrates effective education and training support for people with disability to transition from school to work or other types of community participation.


10th National Disability Awards 2016
Excellence in Education and Training Award
Tagai State College Student Support Services Team, Queensland
Dandelion Program, Department of Human Services, Australian Capital Territory

Tagai State College on Thursday Island wants to ensure each child has an educational program that best suits their needs.

As part of this commitment, the college’s student support services team has developed a specialised approach to case managing students with disability to ensure they are engaged in the curriculum.

The Students Educationally At Risk System––or StEARS––supports students with disability. It enables appropriate interventions and support mechanisms to be implemented for students with disability, including those with conductive hearing loss.

The Dandelion Program provides people with Autism Spectrum Disorder opportunities for skilled employment in the information and communication technology sector.

A collaboration between the Department of Human Services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Danish organisation Specialisterne, the program has already provided traineeships for 11 people based in the department’s ICT software testing hub in Adelaide.

Dandelion has now expanded to Brisbane and Canberra, with a further 38 trainees engaged this year. More recently the program has expanded to other government departments including the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Excellence in Education and Training Award
Tagai State College Student Support Services Team, Queensland
Dandelion Program, Department of Human Services, Australian Capital Territory
10th National Disability Awards 2016

Excellence in Education and Training Award Winner
Tagai State College Student Support Services Team, Queensland
10th National Disability Awards 2016


Excellence in Justice and Rights Protection Award

This award recognises excellence in justice, rights protection and advocacy practices for people with disability.


10th National Disability Awards 2016
Excellence in Justice and Rights Protection Award
Kerri Cassidy, Victoria
Kairsty Wilson, Victoria

Kerri Cassidy has demonstrated her determination and commitment to raising awareness about the need for justice and rights protection of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Kerri successfully initiated a trial to prove the effectiveness of the Chronic Cerebro Spinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) treatment. This has resulted in thousands of people with MS around the globe experiencing significant improvements in their quality of life by undergoing the procedure.

Kerri has inspired a community of people with neurological disease to stand together and communicate how important this research is. It has given hope that there are new avenues to investigate, in MS and other neurological diseases, that challenge the status quo.
Kairsty Wilson’s advocacy work over the past 15 years is helping Australians with disability get better access to justice.

Kairsty has been a pioneer in human rights protection for people with disability and in 2008 was instrumental in founding the AED Legal Centre, a state-wide community legal service based in the Melbourne CBD.

Kairsty is an advocate for improving the wages and working conditions of people with disability working in Australian Disability Enterprises. Her dedicated to her clients, and her fundraising efforts, demonstrate her tireless commitment to people with disability.

Excellence in Justice and Rights Protection Award
Kerri Cassidy, Victoria
Kairsty Wilson, Victoria
10th National Disability Awards 2016

Excellence in Justice and Rights Protection Award Winners
Kerri Cassidy, Victoria
Kairsty Wilson, Victoria
10th National Disability Awards 2016