NDCO Conference Fremantle 2014

In early December the annual 2 day National Disability Coordination Officers Conference was held in West Australia at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle. The conference opened with an official and heartfelt welcome to country from Marie Thorne, a local Indigenous elder representing the Wadjuk people of the Noongar nation. After these formalities the two day conference began in earnest.

Hot topics for day one were the NDIS and its impact on current providers and service delivery and and the presentation by Craig Ritchie Branch Manager Access and Participation Branch Department of Education with points of note being, Critical Interventions Framework: The department developed a Critical Interventions Framework to assist in advancing equity in Australian higher education and commissioned research to clearly identify activities that will support greater effectiveness in equity outcomes and develop a comprehensive performance framework to better monitor and measure progress in equity outcomes.

Between 2004 and 2013 there has been an 85% increase in number of students with disability attending University compared to an increase of around 59% for the general student population. In the public VET system students with disability have increased from 5.7% to 6.8% of total students. The number of VET qualifications completed by students with disability has increased by over 140% since 2004. This is much higher than the number of VET qualifications completed by students without disability, which increased by 89%.

The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) on School Students with Disability is an annual collection which began in 2013. This is a joint initiative between all state and territory education authorities, the Catholic and Independent education sectors as well as the Australian Government. The collection is being phased in over three years in selected schools with all schools reporting data from 2015. Education ministers have agreed that data from the first two years of implementation will not be published, however it is anticipated that 2015 data may be published in 2016, subject to data quality being confirmed.

Day one was rounded out with an interesting series of case studies from various NDCO groups from across the country. The final official act for day one was the Conference Dinner where much networking was conducted and many old friendships rekindled.

Day two of the conference started with an interesting short presentation from the conference MC James Lush. James pointed out the importance of using the media, the way in which the it engages with the community, how that is changing and how important it was that the NDCO program get the message out about the good work it is doing using a unilateral strategy. Presentations regarding Inclusive Education, ADCET and Working in Partnership & Network Development -Ticket to Work, were all informative, lively sessions leading up to lunch on day two.

Day two was again rounded out by those remaining NDCO groups from across the country who had not presented their case studies the previous day. These case studies from all groups provided an excellent insight in to how the program was progressing Australia wide and undoubtedly provided some fresh and different ideas to all present.

Over the two days of the conference all members in attendance would agree that much information was shared as well as many ideas. The NDCO program looks to be in good shape and going from strength to strength in achieving goals and targets set in the various regions country wide. Well done to all who attended.

NDCO Mob gathered from far and wide.

Are you aware of:

Quite frequently we assume people and services that support people with Disability know about a person with disabilities entitlements and rights.

However, the experience of the 3 West Australian National Disability Coordinators is that often, important information is lost in the overwhelming amount of information available.

One such small piece of information is that of the Advance payment entitlement (upto a $1,000) available to people receiving Centrelink payments.

The entitlement can be applied for through Centrelinks online  or mobile app  and approval is swift with payment being made within 2 days of approval.

For further information: www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/enablers/advance-payment#a5

If you are aware of information you think is valuable to a person with a disability then please inform the NDCO program so we can assist its distribution through our newsletter and the networks we engage with.

Albany 'Employing People With a Disability' Booklet Launch

More than 40 people attended the 'Employing People With a Disability' booklet launch at St Georges Restaurant, Great Southern Institute of Technology (GSIT) in Albany. Those attending were employers who had been invited by the local Disability Employment Service providers (DES), Disability Service Commission, Albany Secondary Education Support Centre (ASESC) and GSIT.

The Albany Chamber of Commerce CEO, Russ Clark, gave the keynote speech where he highlighted the value of those with disability in the workplace. Following the launch of booklet those attending enjoyed a sumptuous afternoon tea prepared by students with disability.

The "Employing People With Disability" booklet was prepared by the Albany Transition Pathway group that included: Great Southern Personnel (GSP), Worklink, Advanced Personnel Management (APM), Options Employment, Disability Services Commission (DSC), GSIT and Albany Secondary Education Support Centre. It is hoped that this booklet will assist employers in understanding the value of employing people with disability.

Employers in discussion following the event: Left to right – Andrew Rodgers – Westfarmers Insurance (WFI), Pieter Berkelaar - Hidewood Signs and Print, Ian Campbell – Community Living Association. Wendy Macliver (GSIT), David Arys (Options), Dale Arthur (NDCO), Tracy Neilsen (GSP), Robyn Sellenger (ASESC).

Busselton Disability Service Agency Forum

Some of the 45 agency attendees at the Busselton Disability Forum.
National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) Dale Arthur together with the Capes Employment Development Group organised a forum for disability agency representatives to meet with the Lower South West Disability Service Commission administration. The main purpose of the event was to discuss the role agencies can play in the rollout of the State Government's WA National Disability Insurance Scheme "My Way" model in the Lower South West.

The event was convened in the City of Busselton meeting room on the 17th of November 2014.

A larger than expected group participated in the event. DSC area manager Amanda Gilbert, supported by Regional Director John Thomson, gave an overview of the direction the 'My Way' program was heading and indicated the increasing role that various disability agencies can play in the delivery of disability services in the following Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the Lower South West. Augusta-Margaret River, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Busselton, Donnybrook-Balingup, Manjimup and Nannup.

Following the presentation and discussion with DSC, the next hour was spent reviewing local disability issues with those attending breaking out into three groups. The groups discussed what is working and what is not in the Lower Southwest with each group reporting back to group as a whole. From this a summary was developed to send to all participants following the event.

It was acknowledged that there has been a considerable amount of growth in the number of disability service providers in the region. My Way has been increasing staff considerably in order to maintain effective administration of the trial and successfully completion of client plans. Another issue highlighted was the considerable issues around travel of clients within the region. These included the lack of adequate public transport, suitably adapted taxis and the clients lack of opportunity in obtaining a drivers license.

For further information on the Lower Southwest "My Way" trial site visit: http://www.disability.wa.gov.au/wa-ndis-my-way/wa-ndis-my-way/wa-ndis-my-way-model/locations/lower-south-west/

Dale Arthur (NDCO), Naomi Davey (City of Busselton), John Thomson (DSC Regional Director) and Amanda (Mandy) Gilbert (DSC Area Manager).

Pathways 12 Conference Fremantle 2014

Darlene McLennan President Australian Tertiary Education Disability Network (ATEND) Thanks the Pathways 12 organising committee.
The first week in December 2014 was certainly a busy time for Australia's disability support services community in Fremantle WA. Hot on the heels of the NDCO National Conference held on December 1-2, was the Pathways 12 Bi-annual conference held on Dec 3-5 at the Esplanade Hotel.

Pathways 12 attracted Key-note and guest speakers from all over Australia and indeed international representation by Dr Sheryl Burgstahler from the University of Washington. It was impressive and inspiring to hear from speakers country wide and from other countries about what advances are being made in their particular fields of expertise.

The theme for Pathways 12 was Navigating New Frontiers and to this end many diverse topics were covered. These topics ranged from individual placement support programs, to community-based rehabilitation involving social networking and families, through to the latest innovations in accessible technology being used in America, to enhance the functionality and independence of people with a disability.

Damien Griffis, Executive director of First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) provided insight into the achievements and issues facing Indigenous Australia and related disability services and program initiatives. Damien continues to assist in the setting up and strengthening of Indigenous disability advocacy groups in NSW and also to assist and advise groups from other states in Australia.

The social and networking opportunities that Pathways 12 presented were well addressed. The evening of day one of the conference saw guests attend a welcoming ceremony held at Notre Dame University. Evening two of the conference was the official Conference Dinner, held poolside in the magnificent tropical gardens at the Esplanade Hotel. Much discussion about the two days of the conference took place and many new working relationships were forged.

All too soon day three drew to its conclusion and marked what had been an extremely successful Pathways 12 Conference. I huge well done to all those who presented is in order as is a big thank you to the organising committee of the conference. A special thank you goes out to all those volunteers who donated their time over the three days of the conference, these events are extremely difficult to organise and execute without that extra assistance.

Finally thank you to all those people who attended the conference as audience participants. It is important that these types of conferences are well supported, as they provide an excellent forum for sharing ideas and gaining knowledge.

For further detailed information and copies of transcripts from Pathways 12 please contact promaco@promaco.com.au

Professor Torbjörn Falkmer presenting 'Paving the way into post-school participation for students with autism spectrum disorder'.

Welcome to Mark Bateman

The WA NDCO team has a new member, Mark Bateman, who will take the reins for region 28. Mark commenced his career in Indigenous employment and training with a Wheatbelt based Community Development and Employment Program after eight years military service. He has extensive experience in project management, training, small business development and employment, in both Government and private sectors. Marks role previous to employment at EDGE was that of Diversity Coordinator at Western Power. Mark commenced employment as NDCO Region 28 (North West WA) in November 2014.

Welcome aboard mark we look forward to working on some exciting projects in 2015.

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