Region 16 Newsletters

West Vic News Spring 2015

Region 16 Pam Anderson - Monday, November 09, 2015

West Vic News

Spring 2015

National Disability Coordination Officer Program Region 16

Welcome to the start of Spring….beautiful sunny days to wash away the damp, cold winter we have just experienced!  Birds are tweeting, everything is turning green and wildflowers coming out in full bloom…

The Passport 2 Employment Program has been delivered in Portland, Warrnambool, Hamilton and Horsham (Pathways with Purpose) with a total of 68 students participating in this fabulous program.  Negotiations are underway to deliver the program in Geelong & Eastern Victoria (Gippsland) in 2016.  The P2E program was an original initiative of the Glenelg Transition Action Network and Glenelg Southern Grampians LLEN.  So far the program has been highly successful with preparing students for the world of work and/or further education and training.  Many have gone on to part time jobs, work experience, structured work placements, volunteering and some have commenced courses through TAFE.  The beauty about this program is the collaborative effort from key stakeholders working together towards a common goal.  Stakeholders have included, Federal and State Government Departments, Government Secondary Schools/Special Schools, Private & Independent Schools, Disability Employment Services, TAFE, Rural Access (Council/Shires), Australian disability Enterprises, Health Services, Mental Health Services,  Local Learning & Employment Networks (LLEN’s), Industry/Businesses, NDCO, Volunteering Organisations, Disability Services, Community Services and special mention must be had to our wonderful PSD Coordinators in schools of which are sometimes flying under the radar so to speak!  So far the program has been delivered with minimum funding required but some funds were accessed through the WDEA Charitable Trust (Portland) and Department of Health & Human Services (Warrnambool).  The Horsham program has been delivered from support by Horsham Special School, Warracknabeal SDS, NDCO, WSMLLEN and Horsham Rural Council.

Recently members of the Glenelg Transition Action Network attended the Victorian Disability Sector Awards at Federation Square in Melbourne to receive an award as one of the Top Five Finalists in Victoria for “Excellence in Learning and Development Outcomes” for people with disability.  The Passport 2 Employment Program was voted as a finalist out of 103 nominations.  Well done team!

This program would not be sustainable without the whole of community approach and enthusiasm I have witnessed from all providers involved (including competitive organisations).  We hope to keep delivering the program to more students in the future years to come.

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

 Kind regards,

Pam Anderson


Pam Anderson NDCO Region 16 Mobile: 0418 108 555 Email:  


The Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference will host the 2015 Employment Awards 9-10 November, 2015 at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park. The 5 awards will be presented during the Welcome Reception at the Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference.

The Awards aim to recognise individuals and organisations for their continuous work and commitment to excellence, dedication and achievements within the Employment Industry. Award winners will be profiled by media partners and will be featured on the Conference website and social media.

Award categories include; 
Youth Employment Organisation
Indigenous Employment Organisation
Disability Employment Organisation 
Regional Employment Program
Employment Officer for 2015 (Nominated by an Organisation).

For further information and how to nominate, please visit the website.

Nominations close August 31st, 2015.

Nominations Open Now

Conference Secretariat- Samandra Edwards
Phone: +61 7 5502 2068


Nominations Open for Disability Awards

The 2015 National Disability Awards are now open, giving Australians the chance to acknowledge the many people, organisations and initiatives across the country that make a positive impact on the lives of people with a disability. These awards help build awareness of disability issues and showcase important work throughout the community, enabling people to fully participate in work and society. This year the Awards are looking for nominations that demonstrate great community initiatives. I encourage people across Wannon to put forward a person, organisation or initiative in their community that deserves recognition. To nominate for the National Disability Awards, go to Or call 1800 672 682. TTY users please call 1800 555 677 and ask for 1800 672 682.

Nominations for the National Disability Awards close on FRIDAY 4 September 2015.


Supporting tertiary students with disabilities, mental illness and long term health conditions: Student and staff perspectives of what works.

Date:   Wednesday 9th September 2015
Time:   10.00am – 10.45am AEST
Cost:    VETnetwork Australia members $49, Non-members $69
Presenters: Dr. Annie Venville and Professor Ellie Fossey

This webinar brought to you by VETnetwork Australia and NCVER will summarise the findings of two NCVER-funded research projects focused on the learning experience of tertiary students with disability, mental illness or ongoing ill-health:

The webinar will focus on the following implications for practice

  • The need for VET organisations to focus on inclusive teaching practices; identifying and acting on key early warning signs that apply to all students that may be at risk of non-course completion or poor progression.
  • Information about study supports and reasonable adjustments and the formal provision of these should be provided to all students, and not be predicated upon the disclosure of mental illness.
  • Changes to the way VET institutes collect disability related information that ensure data collected for organisational reporting purposes is transparent and clearly delineated from that designed to enable the identification and provision of student support.
  • The provision of institution-level learning supports may be made more visible so as to foster learning environments that are inclusive of tertiary students with disabilities.
  • The provision of relevant and effective reasonable adjustments for individual students could be enhanced with greater emphasis on collaboration among the parties involved, with the student at the centre. 
  • Enhancing student awareness of available learning supports and increasing transparency about the nature and types of disability support available could reduce the variability in tertiary student experiences of learning support. 
  • The provision of institution-level learning supports may be made more visible so as to foster learning environments that are inclusive of tertiary students with disabilities.

For more information visit the VETnetwork Australia website or contact
Keri Torney on (08) 8297 4533 or at

 Disability-related Events Calendar 2015

Each year the Australian Network on Disability (AND) compiles a list of key disability- and health-related campaigns and events scheduled throughout the year.  If you are aware of an event or campaign that is missing from this list, please contact with the details.  Here are the events/campaigns coming up for the remainder of 2015….. Happy fundraising!


1-30 - Dementia Awareness Month - Alzheimer's Australia

1 - Gold Bow Day - Australian Thyroid Foundation

14-21 - National Stroke Week - National Stroke Foundation

10 - World Suicide Prevention Day (UN) - Suicide Prevention Australia

10 - R U OK? Day - R U OK?

15 - World Lymphoma Awareness Day - Lymphoma Australia

21 - World Alzheimer's Day - Alzheimer's Australia

14-20 - Headache and Migraine Week - Headache Australia (Brain Foundation)

21 - World Alzheimer's Day - Alzheimer's Australia

29 - World Heart Day - World Heart Federation


1-31 - Mental Health Awareness Month - Mental Health Association NSW

1-31 - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - National Breast Cancer Foundation

1-31 - Dogtober - Assistance Dogs Australia

Various - Girls Night In - Cancer Council Australia

1 - World Cerebral Palsy Day

TBC - National Amputee Awareness Week - Limbs for Life

4-11 - Mental Health Week - National Mental Health Commission

11-17 - Haemophilia Awareness Week & Red Cake Day- Haemophilia Foundation Australia

9 - World Sight Day - Vision 2020 Australia

10 - World Mental Health Day - United Nations

12 - International Arthritis Day - Arthritis Victoria

16 - Loud Shirt Day – (to benefit deaf children) – Hear and Say Centre

20 - World Osteoporosis Day - International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF)

TBC - Pink Ribbon Day - Cancer Council

30 - National Bandanna Day - CanTeen


1-30 - Movember- Movember Foundation

1-30 - Lung Health Awareness Month - The Australian Lung Foundation

TBC - Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week - Independence Australia

9-15 - National Psychology Week - The Australian Psychological Society

14 - World Diabetes Day - Diabetes Australia

15 - White Cane Day - Vision Australia

22-28 - Assistance Dogs Australia Awareness Week - Assistance Dogs Australia


1 - World AIDS Day

1 - Red Ribbon Appeal - runs in conjunction with World AIDS Day - ACON Sydney

3 - UN International Day of People with Disability - IDPwD


Employment Charter for the Employment of People with Disability

These are the key principles that assist organisations with their development of long term sustainable approaches for inclusion of people with disability as employees.  We encourage organisations to adopt these principles in their employment practices.

Equal Opportunities Policy and Procedures
Employment of people with disability will form an integral part of all Equal Opportunities policies and practices.

Staff Training and Disability Awareness
Specific steps will be taken to raise awareness of disability throughout the organisation.

The Working Environment
Specific steps will be taken to ensure that the working environment does not prevent people with disability from taking up positions for which they are suitably qualified.

Recruitment Commitment
Recruitment procedures will be reviewed and developed to encourage applications from, and the employment of, people with disability.

Career Development
Specific steps will be taken to ensure that employees with disability have the same opportunity as others to develop their full potential within the organisation.

Retention, Retraining and Redeployment
Full support will be given to any employees who acquire a disability, enabling them to maintain or return to a role appropriate to their experience and abilities within the organisation.

Training and Work Experience
People with disability will be involved in work experience, training and education.

People with disability in the wider community
The organisation will recognise and respond to people with disability as clients, suppliers, and members of the community at large.

Involvement of People with Disability
Employees will be involved in implementing this agenda to ensure that wherever possible, employment practices recognise and meet their needs.

Monitoring Performance
The organisation will monitor its progress in implementing the key points.  There will be an annual audit of performance reviewed at board level.  Achievements and objectives will be published to employees and in the annual report.

For further information visit:

 What is “Inclusive Language?”

 Language is an incredibly powerful tool, and can be used to create a sense of empowerment, pride, identity and purpose.  Contrary to the old adage "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," improper use can have a devastating impact, even with the best intentions. It can be difficult to keep up with what is the acceptable terminology in relation to disability, so below is a brief refresher for you.

 Focus on the person, not the impairment

In Australia, best practice language is to use person with disability’ or ‘people with disability’.

Person-first language is the most widely accepted terminology in Australia.  Examples of person-first language include: person with disability, person who is deaf, or people who have low vision. Put the person first, and the impairment second (when it’s relevant). Other terms that are growing in popularity and acceptance are ‘person living with disability’, and ‘person with lived experience of disability’. These terms are inclusive of people who may have experienced disability in the past, but don’t any longer, and also people who are carers.

 We also prefer to say ‘person without disability’, and do not recommend the terms ‘non-disabled’ or ‘able-bodied’.

 Don’t use language that implies a person with disability is inspirational simply because they experience disability.  People with disability are just living their lives, they are no more super-human than anyone else. Implying that a person with disability is courageous or special just for getting through the day is patronising and offensive.

 Conversely, don’t make out that people with disability are victims or objects of pity

Just because a person experiences disability does not make them weak, a victim or someone to be pitied. Examples of language that can imply people should be pitied include ‘suffering from…’, ‘struck down by…’, and ‘afflicted by/with…’ We try to remove the emotion from the language, for example, ‘Paul experiences depression’, ‘Ravi developed Multiple Sclerosis’, or ‘Katya has epilepsy’.

 People are not ‘bound’ by their wheelchairs

The term wheelchair-bound is one that is commonly used in mainstream media, and it is one that really irritates (and often offends) many people with disability, and anyone with any knowledge of the Social Model of disability. A person who uses a wheelchair is not bound by the chair; they are enabled and liberated by it, it can become an extension of their body. ‘Confined to a wheelchair’ is equally as negative. It is much better to use ‘wheelchair user’ or ‘person who uses a wheelchair’, instead.

 ‘Disclosure’ can imply secrets and lies

We are moving away from the traditional terminology of ‘disclosure of disability’ (in a workplace setting), as it can make it seem like the person is about to divulge a secret of epic proportions. We avoid ‘declaration of disability’ for similar reasons. We should also steer clear of the increasingly popular phrase ‘identify as a person with disability’, as this brings with it a whole range of other issues around identity and belonging. Someone may have impairment, but still not identify as a person with disability.

 We now tend to use the simple phrase ‘choose to share information about their disability/impairment’, when talking about a person’s choice to let their employer or colleagues know about their disability or specific requirements. (Australian National Disability Network)

 Avoid euphemisms and made up words

‘Differently abled’, ‘people of all abilities’, ‘disAbility’, ‘diffAbled’, ‘special needs’ and the like, are all euphemistic and can be considered patronising. While the intention is usually good, these phrases tend to fall into the trap of making people with disability out to be special or inspirational, just for living with disability (see above point).

 Change the focus from disability, to accessibility

In recent years, some organisations have increasingly referred to Accessibility Action Plans or Access and Inclusion Plans, rather than Disability Action Plans. This makes the focus much more inclusive, and incorporates the requirements of a diverse range of people who may have access needs, including older people, parents and carers of young children, and travelers.

Similarly, car parks, lifts and bathrooms are now appropriately described as accessible, rather than disabled.

 Relax, and don’t get caught up in semantics

While the above information may seem daunting if it’s new to you, the most important thing you can remember is to simply focus on the person, rather than the disability. Don’t be so afraid of saying the wrong thing that you don’t say anything at all – relax, and just be willing to communicate!!

…..AND REMEMBER"The majority of disabilities are not visible"

Reasonable Adjustments

What is a reasonable adjustment?

A reasonable adjustment is a change to a work process, practice, procedure or environment that enables an employee with disability to perform their job in a way that minimises the impact of their disability.   Reasonable adjustments allow a person to:

  • perform the inherent or essential requirements of their job safely in the workplace
  • have equal opportunity in recruitment processes, promotion and ongoing development
  • experience equitable terms and conditions of employment
  • maximise productivity

 The term ‘reasonable adjustments’ is used because, under the Disability Discrimination Act (1992), employers are obligated to make adjustments to accommodate an individual’s disability, unless that adjustment would result in unjustifiable hardship.   Many employers accept that workplace flexibility is an attraction and retention strategy.  Reasonable adjustments are also often called ‘workplace’ adjustments.  Examples of workplace adjustments that create an inclusive environment include:

  • Allowing a person with disability to have some flexibility in their working hours, such as working part-time or starting and finishing later, or teleworking for part of the week
  • Redistributing minor duties (i.e. not inherent requirements of a job) that a person with disability finds difficult to do
  • Purchasing or modifying equipment like voice-activated software for someone with a vision impairment, an amplified phone for a person who is hard of hearing, or a digital recorder for someone who finds it difficult to take written notes
  • Providing additional training, mentoring, supervision and support
  • Providing an Auslan interpreter or captioning for a Deaf employee
  • Providing increased font size for people with vision impairment
  • Providing agendas in electronic formats for people who find it difficult to manipulate pages

 What is “reasonable” when making adjustments? What do I need to do, and how will this fit with my organisation’s policies?

 What is considered ‘reasonable’ will depend on the facts and circumstances of the particular situation. Under the DDA, an adjustment is considered reasonable unless it causes “unjustifiable hardship” to the employer or organisation. Unjustifiable hardship could be in the form of financial cost, an amendment to the physical building that is not possible due to council or other restrictions, or an adjustment that would disadvantage other employees.

 There are a number of factors to take into account when considering whether an adjustment is reasonable:

 The effectiveness of the adjustment in assisting the employee with disability to perform their job

  • The practicality of the adjustment
  • The extent of any disruption caused to business operations
  • The financial or other costs of the adjustment
  • The extent of the organisation’s financial and other resources
  • The availability of financial or other assistance to help make the adjustment (e.g. the Employment Assistance Fund)
  • The nature of your business activities and the size of your organisation

 For more information on reasonable adjustments visit

 How do I get help for Free Workplace Assessments?

 JobAccess is an Australian Government initiative that provides help and workplace solutions for the employment of people with disability.  JobAccess provides free workplace assessments. They will organise a review of your workplace and recommend adjustments that will assist employees with disability.

 JobAccess has an Employment Assistance Fund which provides financial assistance to businesses so they can purchase a range of work-related modifications and services. Assistance is available for people who are about to start a job or who are currently working, as well as those who require assistance to find and prepare for work.

The Fund may reimburse the cost of work related modifications & services including, but not limited to:

 The cost of modifications to the physical work environment

  • Modifications to work vehicles/Adaptive equipment for the workplace
  • Training required to learn how to use any equipment funded in the workplace
  • Information and communication devices
  • Auslan interpreting for interviews, workplace interpreting or co-worker Auslan training
  • Specialist workplace services for employees with specific learning disorders and mental health conditions
  • Disability awareness training/Deafness awareness training/Mental health awareness training

 JobAccess has managed over 22,000 funding requests since inception and organised nearly 7,000 worksite assessments to determine disability-specific workplace needs. See the JobAccess website or phone 1800 464 800

 SAVE THE DATE: “Time 2 Transition” Careers Forum

Geelong Cats Community Centre, Skilled Stadium Geelong

Date: Tuesday 8th September 2015

Time: 5pm-7pm

 Useful Websites

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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