New NDCO for Northern WA

Welcome to our newest NDCO in WA. Rangi Pouwhare joined the team in September 2013 as the NDCO for Region 28 – covering the Kimberley, Pilbara and Mid-West.

Rangi decided it was time for a change of scenery (and weather) and moved from New Zealand to sunny Perth, 5 years ago, where she was offered a senior management role in the Office of Aboriginal Health at the WA Department of Health.

Rangi brings to the NDCO role extensive experience across various organisations and government agencies in particular developing meaningful relationships with stakeholders, and tailoring strategies that meet specific needs of organisations and the clients served. In these various roles she had been an educator, policy/planning officer and held middle and senior management roles.

Rangi has devoted her professional career to healthcare with a particular focus on Indigenous health. Her work on traditional medicine in NZ resulted in regional tribes taking ownership of traditional medicine. More recently her focus has been the effective development of standards for traditional medicine with attention to system issues relating to funding models, policy environment, workforce development and quality services.

As an NDCO, Rangi has a vision of equality across all aspects of living for people with disability. An avid supporter of the All Blacks, Rangi is also proud grandmother to three fabulous grandsons.

Ability Careers EXPO September 2013

This year's EXPO was held in the Grand Ballroom at Crown Perth. Feedback from exhibitors at last year's EXPO noted that a different venue would be more suitable, so it is pleasing to note that 68% of exhibitors rated this year's location as excellent and 20% as very good.

The organising committee committed more resources to advertising the EXPO in local newspapers, on radio and on Transperth bus-stop billboards. The result was a marked increase in parent involvement with 190 parents attending the EXPO. Exhibitors noted in the evaluation survey the improved parent engagement.

The Official Opening.

The Career Story forum and Dance and Movement workshop, run in conjunction with the exhibitor EXPO, were both well attended with six students and former students speaking of their journey transitioning from school into the workforce.

From left: Alex Murphy, Steve Cook, Philleen Dickson, Carly Gettingby and Colin Stevenson at the IPS Showcase Day.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Showcase Day

In April the NDCO program, in collaboration with the Western Australian Association of Mental Health (WAAMH), hosted an Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Showcase Day. This event was held at EDGE Employment Solutions' office in Subiaco.

Fourty five participants from Disability Employment Services (DES) and Mental Health Services (MHS) attended and had the opportunity to network during the day. Philleen Dickson, Sector Development Officer with WAAMH, presented on the evidence-based supported employment model. Guest Speaker Steven Cook, Manager of Kimberley Personnel, spoke about his first-hand experience in developing an IPS partnership with Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Services in Broome. These presentations gave those present an insight into making IPS a reality in Western Australia. Participants also heard from a consumer and a carer on their perspectives on employment.

Introducing IPS into West Australia to improve collaboration and cooperation between DES and MHS has been an objective of NDCO and WAAMH for the past two years. The Showcase Day aimed to build on the initiative of the Kimberley DES and MHS IPS partnership. 79% of attendees were very satisfied with the event with 58% very likely to consider IPS implementation.

To date progress has been encouraging with three metropolitan MHS sites looking to enter into partnership with DES providers in the first quarter of 2014. To learn more about IPS, visit WAAMH's website

Steve Cook presenting at the IPS Showcase Day.

Bunbury Future Possibilities Youth Conference

From left: Bradyn Green, Dale Arthur (NDCO) and Kyle James at the conference.

The Bunbury Future Possibilities Youth Conference returned to the All Seasons Sanctuary Golf Resort in Bunbury.

The annual conference is designed for students disabilities plus indigenous students from years 10-12 who are preparing to transition from school to work or further study. Conference participants came from as far afield as Bunbury, Collie, Manjimup, Australind and Busselton.

Ninety one students participated in the conference with a total conference attendance of approximately 180, when support staff and service providers were included.

Ron Ng and Douglas McDowell as targets!.

The keynote speaker this year was Joshua Yates who is Blind. Joshua was the VET in Schools Education Support Student of the Year, Tafe Trainee of the Year and Winner of the Dr Louisa Alessandri Memorial Fund Scholarship. Joshua now works with Regional Kids as a public relations representative, mentor and fundraiser.

Students attended interactive workshops on Independent Living, Employer Expectations, Getting a License, Having the Look for the Job, Guide to the World of Dominance and Staying in Touch. A recreation session was also scheduled and, despite the rain, many enjoyed the break.

Approximately 29 service providers, with sufficient staff, provided information and interacted with registrants and parents throughout the day.

Students themselves did much of the preparation for the day. They also primarily did the comparing of the presentations to the whole conference. Special thanks goes to Natalie Garic, Bradyn Green and Kyle Jones.

The evening following the conference saw the participation of some 33 parents in a program set up particularly for them. The parent evening included four speakers who presented parents with hope, options and inspiration for the future possibilities of their children. These included, Ron Ng (Geographe Education Support), Dale Arthur (National Disability Coordination Officer for Southern WA), Marilyn Novak (Disability Service Commission Area Manager) and Sarah Thompson (Parent).

Some of the students and conference Staff who led out in the conference. Left to right: Bradyn Green, Tara Lambert, Natalie Garic, Donna Wroth and Kyle James. Front: Isabelle Evans. NDCO Dale Arthur starring as 'Jobless Joe'!
Damian Griffis presenting.

First People’s Disability Network (FPDN) Forum

The NDCO program in West Australia hosted Damian Griffis, Executive Director of FPDN at EDGE Employment Solutions in November. The aim of the forum was to establish a branch of FPDN in WA.

The 50 participants who attended the forum were a combination of Aboriginal people with and without disability and a wide range of service providers. Damian spoke eloquently about the work and policy input that FPDN is undertaking at a state and national level.

Membership of the Executive of First People's Disability Network is made up of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with disability and primary carers of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person with disability. Non-Aboriginal organisations can be associate members of FPDN.

The Aboriginal Disability Network WA (ADNWA) is the most likely body to represent WA under FPDN as a member, however, this is a decision for ADNWA to make and will be raised by Sandra Collard current president at their next meeting. For further information on ADNWA please contact Sandra on ph: 08 9175 0764. M: 0408 927 551 or email:

Discussion regarding a service provider network that would give meaningful engagement with the ADNWA FPDN took place. A number of people present indicated an interest in forming a service providers network that was closely aligned and engaged with ADNWA and FPDN. Service providers interested in forming such a network please contact Alex Murphy, NDCO, via email at

Damian concluded the Forum by inviting Aquinas Crowe and Sam Ward to be WA representatives on the national board of FPDN and attend its next board meeting in Sydney in December.

For further information on FPDN visit

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