Nine outstanding individuals and organisations were honoured today for their work to improve the lives of people with disability at the annual National Disability Awards.
Speaking at a special gala dinner in Canberra, the Prime Minister said the awards recognised outstanding Australians who have made a real difference to the lives of people with disabilities.
The Gillard Government congratulates each of the recipients for their outstanding and lasting contribution to the disability sector.
The calibre of both the finalists and winners highlights just how hard Australians are working to raise awareness and support for people with disability.
Nominations for the awards more than doubled this year, with more than 400 received from community and not-for-profit organisations, businesses and local governments and disability advocates across the country.
This year has been a significant year for the disability sector in Australia.
The National Disability Strategy was endorsed in February, providing a 10-year vision for all governments to ensure that mainstream services and programs address the needs of people with disability.
The Gillard Government has also started work to lay the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to provide individuals with the care and support they need over the course of their lifetime.
The Prime Minister presented a special award to Mr John Walsh AM in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the disability sector.
Mr Walsh played a pivotal role as an Associate Commissioner in preparing the Productivity Commission's report to Government on long-term disability care and support which recommended the establishment of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The National Disability Awards form part of the Australian Government's celebration of the United Nations' International Day of People with Disability which is held each year on 3 December.
A list of the award winners is below.
John served as Associate Commissioner to the Productivity Commission in its Inquiry into long-term care and support for people with disability in Australia. He is a Partner in the Advisory Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers and in 2001 was named Actuary of the Year by the Institute of Actuaries of Australia. Mr Walsh was also a member of the Disability Investment Group, which recommended a national lifetime care and support scheme based on an insurance model.
A tireless, grassroots campaigner for the rights of people with disability, Frank has contributed to improving human rights for people with disability for more than thirty years. Frank played a pivotal role in the development of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and successfully lobbied for its ratification in Australia in 2008. The Convention now forms the basis for Australian Government policy and program developments for people with disability.
Katrina was the recipient of the 2011 Parramatta Lord Mayor's Youth Award, completed a Bachelor of Community Welfare, and was named Deaf Australia's 2009 Deaf Youth of the Year for her work and volunteer commitments with the deaf community.
Partnering with Kommercial, a local Australian Disability Enterprise, Alcoa Point Henry provides supported employment for more than 30 people with disability, and has teamed up with highly regarded children's program Rainbow Riders, an equine-assisted growth and learning centre.
The City of Mandurah is working closely with Intework to create exciting and rewarding jobs for 44 young people with intellectual disability in areas such as community equipment maintenance, environmental clean-up, gardening and repairs. They were recognised in the 2010 Count Us In Awards.
TADACT is a not-for-profit organisation, which specialises in creating or modifying equipment for people with disability, including a Kinetic Stander, which won the 2010 Australian Institute of Project Management Award in the not-for-profit category within the ACT.
Housing Choices Australia has delivered more social housing over the past two years than any other community housing provider in Victoria, including 100 high-quality units for people with disability.
Parks Victoria has actively embraced universal design and access principles, including introducing all-terrain wheelchair equipment in some parks and a Sailability program. Parks Victoria has also developed an accessibility guide for park rangers and grants to community organisations to help improve visitation and participation.
Nance is seen as one of Australia's most lauded radio journalists. The judges noted her relentless, powerful and timely coverage of people with an intellectual disability, and commended her work as an important contribution to the advancement of disability rights.
22 November 2011