Region 16 Newsletters

NDCO Region 16 West Vic News Summer 2015

Region 16 Pam Anderson - Friday, December 04, 2015

West Vic News

Summer 2015

National Disability Coordination Officer Program Region 16

 Welcome to Summer….only a few sleeps until Christmas and holidays! On behalf of the NDCO Program for Western Victoria I hope you all have a wonderful time with family and friends and travel safe to and from your holiday destinations this festive season.

The year 2015 has seen many projects and activities in relation to young people with disability transitioning from secondary school into further education/training and/or employment.  The NDCO program could not do this without the wonderful support of the people in our local communities across Western Victoria. 

Our service providers who have contributed to the Passport 2 Employment Program and Pathways with Purpose Program 2015 have been the glue and key to its success.  We hope to continue the work of this fantastic program in 2016 with further development and delivery happening in Geelong/Barwon and Eastern Victoria.  If you would like to find out more about the program for students or young people in your area, please contact me for a chat.

The NDCO has been volunteering with Karingal Disability Services (Community Living) in Geelong over the past few months with my wonderful Maremma, “Pat” (pictured below).  Pat has been providing therapy to participants at Karingal every week and is a registered Delta Therapy Dog.  Pat would like to let you know that there is a real need out there for people and their loving pooches to volunteer as a Delta Therapy team.  It’s not hard to do if you have a pooch who enjoys the company of people.

Check out the Delta Society webpage at: to see what is involved! 

If you are interested in how the NDCO program could help in your local region/area please feel free to contact me. 

Kind regards,

Pam Anderson

Pam Anderson NDCO Region 16

Mobile: 0418 108 555



The Welcome to country Iphone app

About the App:

The Welcome to Country iPhone app. delivers a simple Welcome to Country video introduction~ to Australian indigenous culture, including basic cultural protocols that are tribal boundary geo-specific^.

The app. uses the GPS function of the iPhone to deliver a Welcome to Country video (or text/image version) to the user via a push notification. Where available within a tribal boundary^, the video will be of a traditional owner (or elder) welcoming the user/visitor to their country when the user enters that tribal geo-boundary^.

The app. educates the user on the Traditional Owners' culture and heritage protocols right across the Australia. It gives the user a solid appreciation of the many cultures and languages groups that exist in Indigenous Australia. The app. also teaches users some simple, relevant information about Indigenous culture and the customs of the tribe within that tribal geo boundary. As such, the Welcome to Country iPhone app. can be used by tourists, schools, employers, government departments, by tourism bodies and many other user groups and individuals.

Version 1.0 of the Welcome to Country app. contains more than 30 tribes and languages groups (of over 500 groups!) right across Indigenous Australia. We'll be adding many more language groups over the coming months so please check back regularly for updates.

What is a 'Welcome to Country'?

"A Welcome to Country is where an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander custodian or elder from the local area or region welcomes people to their land. This may be done through speech, song, dance or ceremony and has been part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocol for thousands of years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols or customs in relation to Welcome to Country are diverse and will vary from region to region."

Most people don't know there are over 500 Indigenous tribes (and therefore tribal geo boundaries) and language groups that exist across Indigenous Australia? The Indigenous Australia map that can be found at is just one representation of other map sources that are available for describing Aboriginal Australia. This map in particular indicates only the general location of larger groupings of people and this may include smaller groups such as clans, dialects or individual languages in a group.

If you're a traditional owner or a member of an Australian Indigenous language group and you'd like your Mob included on the app. please contact us by email to discuss.

  Koorie Kids with Special Needs Magazine- First Edition - Victorian Aboriginal Indigenous Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI)

VAEAI has just released their first magazine focusing completely on the support available for Koorie children and young people with a disability and/or special needs.  This is a magazine for families, for community members and for anyone who is interested in finding out more about the programs, services and assistance available.

In 2014, with funding from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, VAEAI began looking at developing resources to support Koorie families who have children with special needs.

With the help of a steering committee of Koorie parents/caregivers, and the advice of representatives from organisations working in the field of disability, VAEAI developed a radio show which airs fortnightly on 3KND, called Koorie Kids with Special Needs.  The radio show features parents/caregivers talking about their experiences and what works for them, as well as organisations talking about programs and supported.  The radio show has been a great success and will continue to air on 3KND in 2015/2016.  What was discovered is there is a need to promote the assistance available to Koorie communities because there is help available, but not everyone knows about how to access that help.

So to complement what VAEAI is doing with the radio show, they created the first Koorie Kids with Special Needs magazine.  VAEAI hope to promote the great work that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations are doing to support Koorie Kids with Special Needs and also hope that the parent/caregiver stories featured in the magazine will give confidence to other parents who may be starting out in seeking support for their child.  Being a parent is challenging work, and having a child with special needs adds some extra challenges, but with the right assistance your child can thrive and achieve the best education outcomes possible.

For information about the magazine and to order some copies please visit: or contact your local Wurreker Broker.

Koorie Kids with Special Needs RADIO SHOW!

Every Thursday 12-1 pm

In September 2014, VAEAI began broadcasting the Koorie Kids with Special Needs Radio Program from 1503 AM 3KND....

What they are doing is talking to parents and caregivers of Koorie Children who have special needs.  They are talking about their experiences and how they accessed support for their kids.  The show also talks to people working in the field of disability about the range of programs that are on offer for kids with special needs.

3KND broadcaster Garry Hansen hosts the program. 

The show is very appreciative of all Koorie parents and disability support professionals who come in to share their knowledge.  They hope that other families listening in will get useful advice and know that there is support available for their child.


Visit online at:

If you are a parent/caregiver of a Koorie child who has special needs and would like to share your story VAEAI would love to hear from you.

Please get in touch with Vaso Elefsiniotis at VAEAI on 03 9481 0800 or email  You can also contact VAEAI on Facebook at

 Girrwaabugany; What Aboriginal students say is the best way to connect with them

During November 2015, the NDCO Region 16 attended the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Education Conference held at the Mercure Pullman Hotel in Albert Park.  The following presentation was delivered by Michael Donovan from the Wollotuka Institute, University of Newcastle.  Michael is a Gumbaynggir man with experience in various fields of health (Enrolled Nurse and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine).  Michael has also held various roles in education – Aboriginal Education Assistant, Bachelor of Teaching (Primary), Lecturer, NSW AECG Life Member and PhD candidate – “What form(s) of pedagogy are necessary for increasing the engagement of Aboriginal school students?”

 Michael’s PhD study is asking the question, “What form(s) of pedagogy are necessary for increasing the engagement of Aboriginal school students?”

  • What is significant about relationships from an Aboriginal standpoint
  • Highlight Aboriginal pedagogical theory
  • What could this mean for educators working with Aboriginal students

 What do Aboriginal pedagogical theorist say about Aboriginal students?

 Relationship development between teacher and Aboriginal students

  • The need for aspects of recognition of Aboriginal culture
  • Localised content and placing the learning in context to Aboriginal society and Aboriginal worldview
  • Use of group and peer support
  • Adapting the learning environment to be safe and free from racism
  • The engagement of dynamic teaching practices to support various preferred Aboriginal learning practices
  • Allowing Aboriginal students to be responsible for their learning with some choice within the educational framework
  • Acknowledging the use of reflective learning
  • High expectations of Aboriginal students

 What are Aboriginal students saying about the teacher and student relationship?

 School is good

  • School is social
  • Aboriginal student spaces are valuable
  • Valueing of Aboriginal culture is positive
  • A real relationship by Teachers is a must
  • Teachers being organised and consistent
  • Dynamic teaching practices
  • The Teacher is more important than the subject
  • Subjects with hands on activities or practicalities are important
  • Students see very limited value of Aboriginal culture at school
  • The recognition of Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge needs to be acknowledged in schools for both Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal students and should be part of everyday practice
  • Improved teacher expectations of Aboriginal students is important

 What is meant by Girrwaabugany?”

Treating the student “like your Mob” or in a familial relationship

  • Relationships needs to be based on an Aboriginal understanding of family
  • Development of an authentic relationship that is relational with shared experiences
  • Respect needs to be foundational
  • “So if there is a cultural difference between the teacher and the student then this difference needs to be recognised, acknowledged and engage with in this relationship to effectively occupy the Aboriginal student worldview.”  (Donovan, unpublished thesis)
  • What can this relationship be?
  • Develop some social connection and understanding of your student.. “I started with a teacher I didn’t like, therefore I didn’t like the subject”
  • Recognition of the students Aboriginality… “If they know more about your life, they can understand if something happens at home”
  • Greater than a “9 to 3” relationship
  • Based on shared respect and high expectations… “She listens to you, not like other teachers.”
  • “You have a better relationship with your teacher if they know more about your life.”
  • “He’s a fun person to know, you can talk to him about personal stuff and he’ll be good with it, he’ll be cool.”
  • “Some of them really take the time to get to know you and they even help you through stuff that you needs help with.  Like even if it’s not schoolwork.”

 Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI) Resources

 Community Partnerships

VAEAI encourages all schools wanting to work collaboratively with their local Koorie Community to create a culture of high expectations for Koorie students, to enter into a School-Community Partnership Agreement.  You can read more about the KPaCE program and how to develop a School-Community Partnership Agreement in The Koorie Parent and Community Engagement Model (2103), available at:

 Start-Up Guide for Both Schools and Communities

The VCAA has provided a start-up guide for schools or community members wanting to get involved in reclaiming and reviving Victorian Aboriginal Languages and cultures, through starting up start-up a school-based language program.  See:

The VCAA website highlights the importance of following protocols developed through community consultation.  The protocols guide and LOTE standards for teaching Victorian Aboriginal Languages can be viewed at:

(Reference: Protocols for Koorie Education in Victorian Primary & Secondary Schools (2015) proudly produced by the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Incorporated (VAEAI))

Assistive Technology: changing lives

The NDIS Assistive Technology (AT) Strategy was released at the NDIS New World Conference in Brisbane at the end of last month.

Technology is increasingly a part of everyone’s life, and for people with disability it can help them perform tasks they could not otherwise do, and to do this more safely and securely. It is allowing many people with disability to reach their potential at home, in their community and in the workplace.

AT is a big component of the NDIS, with up to 50 per cent of participant plans in trial sites including AT so far. We expect to be spending $1 billion a year on AT supports with NDIS participants when the Scheme is active across the country.

Our aim is for participants to have choice in and access to the AT solutions that give them greater autonomy and independence and enable them to live the lives they want.

It is critical that the NDIS harnesses the full potential of technology in the short and long term. It is creating opportunities in employment and participation that will change lives and also the Scheme.

Three priorities of the NDIS AT Strategy are:

  • Supporting and stimulating a vibrant and innovative AT supply market for NDIS participants by providing a conduit for such innovation and promoting the take-up of AT solutions
  • Encouraging informed, active, participant-led demand for AT by empowering participants to choose technology that best supports their needs
  • Delivering a financially robust, sustainable approach that generates economic and social value in the long term

The NDIS can see great potential for innovative service delivery models to emerge through the use of technology generally (eg. ICT, remote equipment diagnostics), particularly in remote areas.

Co-design work with people with disability and sector stakeholders was part of creating the AT Strategy. This approach will continue to be a fundamental part of strategy development and implementation for NDIS.  Read the Assistive Technology Strategy.

NDIS benefitting more people with disability, their families and carers

The latest quarterly report on the progress of the NDIS was recently released. The report shows that delivery of the NDIS continues to be on time and on budget.

More than 19,700 people are now benefitting from the NDIS, with more than $1.2 billion invested in the services and equipment Australians with disability need to live more independent lives.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 19,758 people with disability had an approved NDIS plan, at a total cost of $1,201.1 million. This represents 94% of the bilateral targets.
  • The cost of the average package (excluding residents of large institutions) is $34,831. This remains below the expected full Scheme average of $38,600.
  • Participant satisfaction levels with the NDIS remain very high.

The full report is available on the Quarterly reports page.

For further information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme visit:

Changes to the “BACK TO WORK” Scheme

The Victorian Government has boosted the Back to Work Scheme to assist Victorian job seekers and employers looking to hire new staff……

From 1 November 2015, employers will receive a significant increase in government funding of up to $12000 when they hire long term unemployed workers (now 26 weeks unemployed, reduced from 52 weeks), and up to $5000 for retrenched workers, out-of-trade apprentices, and young people aged between 15 and 25 who have been unemployed for three months or more.

The eligibility criteria for the scheme has been expanded to include new apprentices and trainees as well as unemployed people who are disability and sole parent pensioners, members of drought affected farm households, people who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, refugees, social housing residents and young people in or exiting out-of-home care or who are a current or recent youth justice client.

Employers are able to elect to have this funding redirected, for example, to services supporting disadvantaged job seekers with placement and employability skills support. Up to $4000 for training will also be provided to employers who provide accredited training to a new employee. This will be on top of any other payment received.

More details of the scheme can be found on the notice in the Victoria Government Gazette

What are the key changes to the Back to Work Scheme?

The Back to Work Scheme is being expanded to provide better support to employers who employ disadvantaged job seekers. The changes include:

  • increased payment amounts,
  • additional payments for accredited training,
  • additional groups of employees who will attract the payments, and
  • shorter waiting periods for some groups.

What are the changes to the payment amounts?

Payments to employers hiring full-time workers will be increased as follows:

  • For young unemployed and retrenched workers, employers can claim $5,000 (up from $1,000).
  • For long-term unemployed workers, employers can claim $12,000 (up from $2,000).
  • Employers hiring new part-time employees can claim 75 per cent of the above payments.

What additional payments will be provided for accredited training?

Employers that provide accredited training to new employees in any eligible category will receive an extra payment of up to $4,000.

What additional groups of employees will attract the payments?

The category of eligible employees is being expanded to include apprentices and trainees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, disability pensioners, drought-affected farm households, refugees, social housing tenants, sole parent pensioners, youth justice clients and young persons in or exiting out of home care.

What other changes are being made?

Persons who are unemployed and seeking work for 26 weeks or more are now considered long-term unemployed workers (previously 52 weeks).

Are there any changes to the process to make a claim?

The process for making a claim for the existing category of eligible employees (i.e. young unemployed persons, long term unemployed persons, retrenched workers and out of trade apprentices) is unchanged. There will be a new process for making a claim for the expanded category of eligible employees and to claim accredited training costs.

When do the changes to the scheme commence?

The changes commence for any eligible employee (including the expanded categories of eligible employee) that commence employment with an eligible employer on or after 1 November.

Where do I get more information?

Full details of the new payment amounts, the expanded category of eligible employees and other changes will be detailed in the revised Eligibility Criteria, which have been Gazetted on 29 October 2015. You can access the Gazette via the following link:

New University Preparation Resources for Students!!

Below are links to two new web-based resources available for people considering university as a pathway:

What's Uni Like is an online course helping people answer the following questions: Is university for me? What should I expect at university? What academic skills will I need?

Campus Quest is a game designed to help people understand and prepare for life at uni

Developed at Curtin University with funding from the Australian Government Department of Education.

The world’s largest job search website for jobseekers with disabilities…..Toozly is all about YOU.

Whether you’re a jobseeker with a disability looking for work, an employer looking for staff or a service provider assisting clients with disabilities to return to the workforce, you’ve probably found yourself wondering – Why is there no major online jobsearch platform specifically for people with disabilities ?

There is now.

What you might not have known is that Toozly was created by professionals with over 30 years experience in Disability Employment Services, Business, Human Resources, Psychology, Education and Training.

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the free services and support available to employers and jobseekers with disabilities ? You may want to browse our Resources section for more information as well as loads of tips and advice for supporting jobseekers with disabilities into the workforce.

For those of you who believe that people with disabilities (18.5% of Australia’s population) are greatly under-represented in the workforce, we’ve created The Toozly 5-Step Plan to help organisations assess and improve their diversity and inclusion practices.

The Toozly 5-Step Plan is freely available in our Resources section.

The Toozly Pledge, featured on our front page encourages employers to commit to the Toozly 5-Step Plan and is a public show of support for Diversity and Inclusion in the workforce. Employers are encouraged to showcase their commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. Take The Pledge and put your company in our Hall of Fame !

Our goal for Toozly is quite simple:

Employers are sitting on a goldmine of underutilised talent and in an ageing population it makes good business sense to tap into this resource and hire a person with disability. Toozly is here to make that process easy !

For case managers and people with disability we believe the time is right for a big picture approach to assisting you to find work for yourself or on behalf of your clients. Toozly is the vehicle that can display your talents to a wide cross section of employers who are looking for reliable and talented staff.

We trust that Toozly is of value in assisting you to achieve your employment goals.

To get started visit:

NDCO Victoria New Website

The Victorian National Disability Coordination Officer Program website has recently been u updated. The site provides a range of general information about post school support and transition options into education and employment for people with disability.  In addition to this each region contains specific information about events and services in your local area.

National Disability Clearinghouse

Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund

Check out what’s New at the following link:


Supports the NDIS will Fund in Relation to Education
This fact sheet provides information on what supports the NDIS will fund in relation to education and how to determine whether a support is funded by the NDIS or the school education system.

Supports the NDIS will Fund in Relation to Higher Education and Vocational Training

This fact sheet provides information on what supports the NDIS will fund in relation to higher education and vocational education and training (VET) and how to determine whether a support is funded by the NDIS or the higher education and VET system .

Supports the NDIS will Fund in Relation to Employment

This fact sheet provides information on what supports the NDIS will fund in relation to employment and how to determine whether a support is funded by the NDIS or the employment system.

Or Visit: for further information.


Victorian NDCO’s

The NDCO Program works strategically to assist people with disability access, and participate in ‘Tertiary Education’ and subsequent employment, through a national network of regionally based NDCOs. There are 31 NDCO regions in Australia with 7 in Victoria. Each NDCO region has an Advisory Committee with representation from key regional stakeholders. In Victoria the NDCO program has also established a state network to work on collaborative state priorities.

Region 11 - Inner Northern Melbourne NDCO: Tania Perez Phone: (03) 9686 2354

Region 12 - Western Region NDCO: Gary Kerridge Email: Phone: 0439 113 364

Region 13 - Eastern Melbourne NDCO: Effie Kapsalos Email: Phone: (03) 9686 2354

Region 14 –Southern Melbourne NDCO: Sally Bailey Email: Phone: (03) 9784 0400

Region 15 - Northern Victoria NDCO: Mark Cottee Email: Phone: (02) 6055 6309

Region 16 - Western Victoria NDCO: Pam Anderson Email: Phone 0418108555

Region 17 -Eastern Victoria and South East Melbourne NDCO: Andrea Evans McCall Email: Phone: 0418 208 039

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