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Develop, support, promote disability leaders

Finalists 2020

National Awards for Disability Leadership 2020

Finalists announced!

These Awards reflect what is important to disabled people and the ways that we are effecting change and pursuing equality for our community. They recognise outstanding achievements by individuals, or disabled people’s organisations, who have significantly contributed to advancing the status of disabled people.

In 2020 the Awards are focussing on the work done by disabled people and our organisations to support the Australian disability community through several challenging events including the pandemic, and bushfires and other natural disasters. We asked what work has been done by disability leaders in these difficult times to advance equality for disabled people, and to protect and promote our rights in rapidly changing situations.

A large number of quality nominations were received, across all 7 Awards categories, showcasing the work of outstanding disability leaders in a wide range of fields.

The 2020 Finalists are:

Akii Ngo

During the pandemic Akii has used social media to successfully raise awareness of those living with chronic pain and invisible disabilities.

Brenden Borellini

Unable to travel during the pandemic, Brenden has provided leadership and advocacy for inclusion and access in Mackay and beyond, and has influenced other arts organisations, council and businesses to adopt initiatives that will ensure the whole community can benefit.

Dan Graham

Dan was instrumental in helping organisations, like the MEAA, become more accessible to the disability community during the pandemic and adopt ongoing practices which address disability rights.

El Gibbs

El was a media spokesperson for our community during 2020’s crises. She led her team of disabled workers to be the COVID disability response government wasn’t providing.

Find A Bed

@findabedAU popped up during the catastrophic 2019-20 bushfires & worked extraordinarily quickly & hard to find accommodation, generators, specific toys, disability aids & more, to meet the needs of individuals & families in crisis.

James Griffiths

For DARU’s Disability and Disaster Resilience forum James was motivated to share his story. Although the storytelling was difficult and personal, his motivations for sharing his story was to help people to understand the challenges faced by people with disabilities, particularly for those who are Blind/VI.

Jeff Shaw

Jeff has built 2 programs for the disability community this year:

  1. Connecting Couches: virtual, accessible activities offered FREE to Australians of all abilities via Zoom. Sessions run daily and see an average of 10-20 participants.
  2. Because We Care: deliveries of food packs to people with a disability in our community facing financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Jody Barney

Jody has been preparing and delivering meals to elders, while still working to raise awareness about Indigenous people with disability, particularly from the deafness community. Her short videos on social media sharing sign language tips have been shared widely.

Julie Loblinzk

Julie is part of a research team at UNSW Sydney. During 2020 this research work has contributed to a greater understanding of the pandemic on disabled people and has also been used by the Disability Royal Commission.

Lauren Watson

During this difficult year Lauren was honest and open on her social media about her struggles and how isolation may offer a degree of understanding to non-disabled people of what it feels like to live with a disability.

Mark Oakley

Although the storytelling was difficult and personal, Mark’s motivation for sharing his story was to help people to understand the challenges faced by people with disabilities during and after bushfires.

Ramas McRae

Ramas demonstrates a ‘can do attitude’ in disseminating key messages across multiple social media platforms. Particularly during a time of COVID where social media platforms have played a pivitol part in increasing awareness around Sign language and Deaf Aboriginal minorities.

Ricky Buchanan

During Covid19 able bodied people have needed to access medical services and have experienced isolation new to them. Due to her ongoing life experiences and years of advocacy, Ricky Buchanan has been an expert navigating 2020. She has been able to use multiple forms of media to talk about the issues and advocate for keeping accessible services once able-bodied people don’t need them anymore.

Tim Chan

Tim is an Autism Advocate, and a young Chinese Australian, diagnosed with autism at 3 years old, and have been non- speaking after 14 months of age. Tim has become pivotal to the Self-advocacy movement to drive autism to a new level of relevance and inclusion, and has provided personal case studies of being locked down in public housing Melbourne.