New members to renew ACT Disability Reference Group

Wed 31/5/2017

From Minister for Disability Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA 05/05/2017

The ACT Government has appointed eight new members to its Disability Reference Group to provide high level advice on issues affecting Canberrans with a disability.  

I welcome the new members; Ms Louise Bannister, Ms Mignonne Cullen, Ms Sharon Ding, Ms Alicia Flack-Kone, Mr Wayne Herbert, Mr Douglas Herd, Mr Justin Le Couter and Ms Fiona May.

These new members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Disability Reference Group during this time of significant change in the policy environment.

The Disability Reference Group provides advice to the Minister on policy development and how to create a more inclusive community.

Other important issues on which I will be seeking the Group’s advice over the next year include the ongoing implementation of the NDIS in the ACT and the development of a Disability Justice Strategy.

I look forward to working with the new and continuing members of the Disability Reference Group and receiving their counsel as we strive to improve the lives of those in the ACT with a disability, their families, and carers under the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

The Disability Reference Group meets six times a year, with the next formal meeting to be held in June 2017. Some members of the previous DRG will remain with the group for a handover period of several months to pass on their knowledge and provide consistency.

The Community Services Directorate is actively seeking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation on the Disability Reference Group. If you or someone you know may be interested please contact the Directorate or the Minister’s office.

ACT Disability Reference Group

Name Areas of interest and expertise
Mr Douglas Herd Mr Herd has previously held a senior position working with the National Disability Insurance Agency. He is passionate about promoting increased social and economic participation of people with disability within a rights-based framework.
Ms Louise Bannister Ms Bannister has worked in the disability sector for almost 20 years, as a consumer representative on a wide range of Commonwealth and ACT committees. She has also worked for not-for-profit organisations including Belconnen Community Service, National Disability Services and Women With Disabilities ACT.
Ms Mignonne Cullen As part of the Disability Reference Group Ms Cullen hopes to improve the policies that affect people with disability in relation to housing and employment. Ms Cullen has previously been on the board of a disabled peoples organisation and is committed to community engagement.
Ms Sharon Ding Ms Ding has experience with promoting the inclusion of people with disability through her membership of several organisations including the disability consultative network and the disability education reference group and the ACT disability working group of the parents and citizens council.
Mr Wayne Herbert Mr Herbert has spent his career focusing on assisting people with disability into employment and training. He has previously worked within the Disability Employment Services Program, and the former Disability Employment Network.
Mr Justin Le Couteur Mr Le Couteur has 40 years of knowledge accumulated in relation to the experience of people with disability. Mr Le Couteur believes a role on the Reference Group would enable him to motivate and show young people with disability that anything is possible.
Ms Fiona May Ms May is the Chief Executive Officer of ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) and has developed an in-depth knowledge of the ACT disability system as well as the NDIS. Ms May also brings carer experience, as the parent of a young adult with disability.
Ms Alicia Flack-Kone Ms Flack-Kone is the President of the ACT Down Syndrome Association (ACT DSA), She has a comprehensive understanding of the disability sector, and the daily challenges of working relating to inclusive education and community attitudes to people with disability. Ms Flack-Kone has also worked as an early childhood teacher.
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