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Including Everyone

A monthly newsletter from Inclusion Australia

Hello and welcome to our new monthly newsletter!  

Inclusion Australia is the national organisation for people with an intellectual disability and their families. We work with our members CID, DDWA, Parent 2 Parent, SACID, Speak Out and VALID to make Australia a more inclusive place for everyone.

This is our first monthly newsletter. It has information about our work, our projects, and who we are. It also has some news on what our members are doing, as well as different opportunities to be involved in our work. It will be useful for anyone who is interested in a more inclusive Australia for people with an intellectual disability.  

Our first newsletter comes at an exciting time, with a new Australian Government. Amanda Rishworth from South Australia is the new Minister for Social Services and Bill Shorten from Victoria is the Minister for the NDIS. We look forward to working with them both. We will also work closely with Mark Butler as Minister for Health and Aged Care and Tony Burke as the Minister for Employment.

During the election, we asked people with intellectual disability, including the Our Voice Committee what their priority was for the new Government. People were very clear that they wanted more jobs and proper pay. Read our employment plan here:
We also worked with other national disability organisations to make sure the new Government includes people with disability in their future plans about COVID. Too many people are still left in lockdown. We want the Government to do more to make sure people are safe and can live a more normal life:

We hope the new Government will listen to people with disability and that these plans will be included in the next Federal budget in October

2022 has been a busy year so far for our work with the Disability Royal Commission. We have already talked a lot about employment this year and last month we were part of a public hearing in Canberra about inclusive education. You can read more about our work with the Royal Commission in this newsletter.

You can also find out more about our team and our projects at Inclusion Australia in these newsletters. This will help you know who we are and who to contact if you have any questions.

We are also very pleased to highlight work by our members around Australia. This month we hear from SACID who just held their first ever conference in Adelaide.   

Big thanks to everyone around the country for all you do to make Australia more inclusive for everyone.    

Take care until next time and stay safe!
Catherine McAlpine, CEO Inclusion Australia

A year of change for Our Voice

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 to Inclusion Australia on issues that are important to people with intellectual disability.

In our recent work on employment with the Disability Royal Commission, Our Voice members were very clear:
“People with disabilities have the right to work in the open market like anyone else and get the training and support they need. This means no more sheltered workshops.”

There have been some big changes for Our Voice this year. Kalena Bos from Speak Out Tasmania took over as chair from Heather Forsyth. Heather was the chair for three years, a time when Inclusion Australia has grown bigger. Heather was presented with a certificate for her excellent work and a hamper.

We also have a new member for Queensland with Payge taking over from Allycia. Thank you Heather and Allycia for all your hard work for Our Voice!

To keep up to date with Our Voice visit:      

Telling the story of a big year

COVID-19 and lockdowns mean that 2020 and 2021 was a time that many people will want to forget. However, Inclusion Australia and our members were also very busy making sure that people with an intellectual disability were not forgotten.

You can read all about the story of our big year in the Inclusion Australia Annual Report 2020-21. It includes things we did to help keep people safe from COVID, our fight against NDIS Independent Assessments and our work with the Disability Royal Commission. Now for 2022! 

To read the report visit

Talking about inclusion at work and in education with the Disability Royal Commission

2022 has already been a big year for our work with the Disability Royal Commission.

Employment has been a big focus, with public hearings on Disability Employment Services in February, and the experience of people with disability working in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) in April 2022.  

Our CEO Catherine McAlpine was a witness at the ADE hearing, along with Greg Tucker from VALID. Greg told the Royal Commission about how he was paid just $2.50 an hour for his work in an ADE.

Catherine told the Commission that all people with an intellectual disability should be paid properly for their work and given more opportunities for open employment or to start their own business.

"People are framed as a burden, not contributors. They are framed as learners, not teachers. They are framed as cost, not benefits. There are all these assumptions that have been in place that haven't changed since the 1950s." Catherine McAlpine at the public hearing into ADEs

The hearing showed the strength of Inclusion Australia and all our members working together to call for change. Greg’s story was covered by the ABC who also interviewed Gavin Burner from SACID about his experiences in an ADE. Their news article has had over 600,000 views on the ABC website: Royal commission hears Australian disability enterprise workers paid as little as $2.50 an hour - ABC News

Gavin Burner and Laynie Dunne-Heynis from SACID from their ABC interview

We also spoke with Georgie from DDWA about her time working in an ADE who did a blog for us. Sharing her story about ADEs, Georgie said “I miss my friends but I would never go back.”  

There was also lots of support online for our #EqualPayEqualRespect campaign. 

Catherine was back at the Disability Royal Commission in June for the public hearing on the experience of children and young people with disability in education settings.

She talked about segregated schools as a ‘polished pathway’ to a lifetime of separation for people with an intellectual disability. She told the Commission that all young people with a disability should have the chance to have a mainstream education.

The next public hearing is in Alice Springs, from 11 to 15 July. It will look at the NDIS for First Nations people with disability in remote and very remote communities.

To find out more visit:

Ending Deadly Disability Discrimination - a big win!

After many years of campaigning about the health of people with an intellectual disability, there was great news this year with the guarantee of funding for the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability.

The Roadmap has clear plans for fixing the big gaps in the health system for people with an intellectual disability. This includes a National Centre for Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health.

The Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) has led a brilliant campaign to End Deadly Disability Discrimination, with Inclusion Australia, Down Syndrome Australia, the Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine, and UNSW 3DN Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry to seek a guarantee of funding for the Roadmap.
In April 2022 all political parties guaranteed support and funding for the Roadmap and the Centre for Excellence. This was a great win for the campaign after years of campaigning, including talking to the Disability Royal Commission in 2020. 

The new Labor Government will now carry this forward, working with the disability community and health professionals to co-design the Centre for Excellence and inform the implementation of the Roadmap.

To read more about the campaign visit:

To read about the Roadmap, visit: National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Living with COVID - a new video to watch and share

COVID-19 is still a big risk for people with disability. Many people are still left at home in lockdown.

Before the election we worked with disability organisations across Australia to demand a COVID recovery plan for people with disability:

As the colder months arrive for many across the country, supporting people with disability to be ready for winter is an urgent priority. That includes making sure people with disability have access to vaccines and can be sure their vaccinations are up to date. 

We have been working with our friends at Speak Out Tasmania on a new film to help people make decisions about living more safely with COVID. That includes getting your flu vaccine, information on boosters and wearing masks in busy places. Watch the new film here:

The Department of Health has Easy Read vaccine information which you can find here:

They are also working with CID and Down Syndrome Australia on accessible films. Visit and for more!

SACID leading inclusion in Adelaide

Over in South Australia the SACID team had a busy month with their first in person conference.

People came from all over Australia on 9th and 10th June at the Stamford Grand Hotel, Glenelg for their Leading Through Inclusion conference.

CEO, Felicity Crowther told us “SACID are really excited to be hosting our very first Leading Through Inclusion Conference for people with intellectual disability, their families and anyone wanting to learn more about being inclusive.”

Our CEO Catherine McAlpine gave the opening speech with SACID’s Gavin Burner. Everyone was asked to name ‘one big thing’ that needs to change for people with an intellectual disability. Gavin talked about the three big things: education, employment and health.

Speaking afterwards Felicity said “we hope that people took away lots of great information and resources that will help people with intellectual disability be better included in the community and live the life they want.”

To find out more about the conference visit the SACID website:

For interviews and other conference related things, follow the SACID Facebook page:  

Inclusion Australia project news

Each month we will use this section to focus on one of our big projects at Inclusion Australia, including:
  • Towards Inclusive Practice
  • A Service for One
  • Your Service, Your Rights
  • Make Decisions Real
All our big projects are partnerships with our members. We love working with you all and appreciate the time that everyone gives to making sure they are successful.  

This month we stay in South Australia to hear from Team SACID who did this blog on our website:

Find out about all our projects here:

Stay in Touch

There are lots of ways to get in touch with us at Inclusion Australia:

Visit our new website:

Email us:

Contact us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter:@inclusionoz

Please drop us a line and tell us what you're up to and what you'd like to hear more about. 
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Inclusion Australia (NCID) · PO Box 336 · Nunawading, VIC 3131 · Australia

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