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Including Everybody: 
A monthly newsletter from Inclusion Australia 

Hello again

Welcome again to Including Everyone, our monthly newsletter full of information about our work, our projects, and who we are.  

It also has some news on what our members are doing, and different ways to get involved. We hope it is of interest to anyone who is interested in a more inclusive Australia for people with an intellectual disability.   

With winter biting in the south of the country, I was fortunate to spend some of this past month in the Northern Territory. In early July I was on the land of the Arrernte people in Mparntwe, or Alice Springs. I was there to listen to witnesses at the Disability Royal Commission public hearing into the operation of the NDIS for First Nations people with disability in remote and very remote communities.  

I appreciated being able to work alongside our colleagues Damian Griffis and Aunty June Riemer at First People’s Disability Network (FPDN). FPDN’s leadership and expertise is much needed to help address the significant gaps that people in this community experience every day.  

I am pleased that Inclusion Australia has had a more active presence in the Northern Territory over the past 12 months, starting with the appointment of Liz Collier, our first Northern Territory Manager. Liz has a long relationship with the Territory and with the broader disability community and it’s great to have her based in Darwin.  

I was lucky to be able to spend a few days with Liz on the land of the Larrakia people at the start of August. I enjoyed meeting Dan, Ben and Rebecca and hearing about the work the team is doing together for the Towards Inclusive Practice project. I feel confident that our work alongside local advocacy organisations across the Territory will make a difference to support the rights of people with an intellectual disability. 

(From left) Daniel Ross, Catherine McAlpine, Ben Hankin, Liz Collier and Rebecca Hell.

This month has also been a stark reminder that COVID is far from over. With case numbers rising once again around the country, we have been working with the Australian Government, the NDIA and our members to ensure that the needs of people with an intellectual disability are not forgotten in the pandemic planning.  

Our recent accessible video, Living with COVID, made in partnership with Speak Out Tasmania with people with an intellectual disability is just one practical way of having the important conversations to keep our community safe. The Disability Sector Federal Election COVID Recovery Plan also details a list of actions that the Government must urgently address.  

Elsewhere in this edition you will also find the latest on our Disability Royal Commission work, what’s happening with the Our Voice Committee, news about our Your Service Your Rights workshops, the upcoming Speak Out Conference in Hobart and news of a powerful interactive video by VALID about the experiences of people with a disability in the criminal justice systems. 

Until next time, stay safe. 

Catherine McAlpine
CEO, Inclusion Australia


Our Voice news 

Our Voice is an official committee of the Inclusion Australia Board. All the members come from around Australia and have an intellectual disability. Our Voice gives advice on issues that are important to people with intellectual disability.  

In July we wrote to Leah van Poppel from the Independent Advisory Council (IAC) to ask her meet with us.  

The IAC represents the voice of people with a disability in the NDIS. It has 4 reference groups, including an Intellectual Disability Reference Group. You can read about this group here.  

We will meet meet with Leah in October to talk about the experiences of people with an intellectual disability in the NDIS.

This month we also gave advice to Inclusion Australia about how to include the voices of people with intellectual disability in their systemic advocacy.  Systemic advocacy is about changing systems and processes to work better for people with a disability. We all agree it is important that people with an intellectual disability are involved in this work.  

We have also been planning our presentation for the Speak Out Advocacy conference in Hobart in September. Some of the Our Voice members will travel to Hobart to be part of the conference.  

To find out more about Our Voice, visit: 

See you next time!

Kalena Bos

Chair of Our Voice

The latest from the Disability Royal Commission

In July the Disability Royal Commission met in Alice Springs for Public Hearing 25. The hearing explored the operation of the NDIS for First Nations people with disability in remote and very remote communities. Our CEO Catherine McAlpine was there in person with our Northern Territory Manager, Liz Collier.  

Over five days the Commissioners heard evidence from people with disabilities, Northern Territory organisations working across remote areas, disability representative organisations and from the National Disability Insurance Agency.  

First People’s Disability Network CEO Damien Griffis and Deputy CEO Aunty June Riemer gave interesting and powerful evidence to the Commissioners about the scale of the issues facing many people with a disability from First Nations communities. This builds on FPDN’s 10 Priorities to Address Disability Inequality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.  

Both were clear that that current NDIS model does not work in remote communities. This includes the language used around the NDIS which is too bureaucratic and has little meaning for many First People.  

They highlighted the importance in community of connecting person to person through local organisations on the ground, something which the NDIS is not well placed to do. One example used was the Community Connectors program. Although seen as successful, this was due to its implementation through local organisations. There are fears that the programs incorporation into Local Area Coordination will stifle progress.  

For more on the hearing read the Royal Commission’s Connect newsletter for July.

Meanwhile, we are preparing for Public Hearing 30 on guardianship, substituted and supported decision making, to be held in Sydney in November. As outlined in our 2021 submission to the NDIA, we have concerns about the availability of support for decision making for people with an intellectual disability. We are working with the NDIA to ensure these concerns are part of their planning as they develop their policy on supported decision making.  

The need for this was highlighted recently by the situation at Activ, one of the largest service providers in Western Australia. Following an announcement in May that their Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE) were to close, the new Australian Government stepped in with funding for an 18-month transition plan for workers with disabilities. Amongst the ideas put forward was the transfer of workers to other ADEs.  

As raised at the Royal Commission public hearing into ADEs, most people with an intellectual disability are given limited choices in terms of open and self-employment and face significant barriers to receiving the same pay as non-disabled workers. We believe Activ employees must be given support for decision making to understand their employment options. We will continue to advocate to government that this is part of the transition plan.  

To read more about our work with the Disability Royal Commission visit:

Have your say about applying for the NDIS and your NDIS plan

Last year the disability community sent a clear message to the Government rejecting Independent Assessments for the NDIS.

Since then, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has been thinking about different ways for people with disability and their families to have more control over their NDIS plans, and when applying to join the NDIS. This is part of a new project called IGAP, or Information Gathering for Access and Planning.  

The NDIA has asked Inclusion Australia to run workshops with people with an intellectual disability and families to better understand people’s experiences. 

Our workshops for people with disabilities are already fully booked. 

However, there is a separate  workshop for up to 8 family members on Wednesday 24 August (7pm to 9pm AEST)   

Participants will be paid $50 per hour for taking part in the workshops. 

The NDIA also has an online survey seeking feedback on IGAP. 

For more information or to register for the family workshop visit: 

Staying safe from COVID-19

COVID-19 is still a big risk for many people with disabilities. 

This month we have seen a big increase in cases of COVID-19 in parts of Australia. We have been working with the Australian Government this month to make sure people with an intellectual disability are part of their planning for this wave of COVID. 

The Department of Health have been working with our colleagues at CID to write helpful information in Easy Read about ways to protect yourself from COVID. This includes  Easy Read information about new medicine that can help people if they catch COVID.   

CID have lots of other helpful videos on their website that can help you to understand vaccines, RATs and other things to help you stay as safe as possible.  

You can also watch Living with COVID, an animated film by Inclusion Australia and Speak Out Tasmania about making decisions that are right for you to stay safe. A new audio description version is also available!   

For up to date government information, keep visiting the Department of Health website and check out their range of Easy Read resources

Your Service, Your Rights workshops

Everyone has rights. Do you know what your rights are when you receive services through the NDIS? 

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has asked Inclusion Australia and its member organisations to deliver free workshops for people with an intellectual disability across the country. The series of four workshops can be delivered to people in their services. The workshops are about: 

  1. Rights and Services: What are rights and why are they important for everyone? How do you know if you’re getting your rights met by your service? 

  1. NDIS Commission – Code of Conduct and Complaints: What is the NDIS Commission? What do workers need to do to make sure you get your rights, and how can you make a complaint to the NDIS Commission? 

  1. Speaking Up and Supports: Why it is important to speak up; how to get support; using an advocate. 

  1. Being Involved: what are the things your service can do to include you in making sure your service is safe and good quality? 

Workshops are happening around Australia from now until June 2023. Some workshops are in person. Some workshops will be online. To find out more please contact the Inclusion Australia member in your state or territory or visit: 

We are also working with First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN), National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) and Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) and Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA). This is to develop and deliver workshops and information for people with an intellectual disability from different cultures, places and age groups.    

Resources for providers are available about how to include people who use their services in making sure it is safe and of good quality. 

To find out more about the resources for people and providers visit the Your Service Your Rights project page: 

VALID launch powerful new film about the Criminal Justice System 

People with an intellectual disability are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. This is especially true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This can lead to trauma and contribute to inequity and other problems in people’s lives.  

This year VALID in Victoria launched a film about the experiences of people with intellectual disability in Australia’s criminal justice systems.  

The film is called [They Will Use] My First Name. It is a unique and incredible 360-degree experience which allows viewers to look around and explore and interact with the film. It was developed in partnership with people with an intellectual disability. Justen, who was involved in the project said: 

“For me it was exciting to participate in making the film… It was great to be involved with other people sharing their stories… A lot of people have a rough upbringing and don’t want to face reality… a cheap way out for some people is to take drugs to block the pain. Is tough for people… Hopefully, by watching this film people will learn a lot of things about what goes on in the prison system…Not everyone who goes into prison is guilty of a crime and it is tragic that a lot of people go to prison instead of being supported and given a second chance…”  

The film is part of a research project by VALID called the Justice For All Report. It has recommendations to the government to improve the support and treatment of people with an intellectual disability in the justice system. You can read more about the film and the research on the project website: 

To watch the interactive film in full on YouTube, click here  

Content Warning: this film contains material that may upset some viewers. If you would like to talk to someone Lifeline's 13 11 14 crisis support service is available 24/7. Anyone in Australia can speak to a trained Crisis Supporter over the phone, any time of the day or night. 

Speaking out about being inclusive 
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Towards Inclusive Practice is a national project led by Inclusion Australia with our members around the country. The project is about telling government how to be more inclusive of people with an intellectual disability. 

As part of Towards Inclusive Practice we have set up a national network of people with an intellectual disability to discuss important issues and make resources for Government on inclusive practices. 

Heather Forsyth and Eban Pollard are Project Coordinators at Inclusion Australia. This month they have been talking to Ian, Larry, and Sonia from Speak Out Tasmania about their roles as Inclusion Advisors for the Towards Inclusive Practice project. 

Read what they had to say about their experiences on the project and their message for the government here:  

For more on information visit our Towards Inclusive Practice project page.

Find out more about all our projects here:

Getting together again 

The COVID pandemic has made it very difficult for many people to get together in person.  Many of the usual conferences for people with an intellectual disability have not happened or have moved online. This was the case for the Speak Out conference in 2021, with many people joining online or on video.  

The Speak Out Self Advocacy Conference is the longest running conference for people with disability in Australia. This year is extra special for the team from Tasmania, as they celebrate 40 years of the conference in Hobart on 22nd and 23rd September.  

The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Looking Forward, Looking Back’.

Kiara Lavin, Speak Out Members’ President said "the conference is chance to celebrate self-advocacy and advocacy over the last 40 years. It’ builds on 40 years of Speak Out and our continuing fight for equality."
Jenny Dixon, General Manager at Speak Out Advocacy said the conference will continue to look forward with its advocacy. “The Speak Out conference is always a place where you can build skills to make decisions about all aspects of your life. You can also be part of a united voice and Calls to Action for community and systems change.

To find out more about the Speak Out conference or to register, visit  

Another chance for people to get together will be the My Life My Choices conferences in NSW and in Adelaide.  

These free events are being run by our friends at CID in NSW and SACID in South Australia on Wednesday, 28 September 2022. 

  • Adelaide Pavilion, Veale Gardens, Adelaide 

  • Bankstown Sportsclub, Bankstown, NSW  

These free conferences are about making decisions. They are by and for people with an intellectual disability.


To register for NSW visit the CID website or click here for information in Easy Read. 

To register for Adelaide visit: 

Stay in touch

There are lots of ways to find out what’s happening at Inclusion Australia:   


Get in touch and tell us what matters to you!  


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