Disability Sector Shines at National Awards

Posted on: Tuesday, 8 December 2015 at 9:12:42 PM

Disability Sector Shines at National Awards

A 14-year-old boy who led a successful campaign to introduce tactile banknotes in Australia and an advocate for empowering women with a disability are two of the winners of the 2015 National Disability Awards.


Connor McLeod’s campaign to change Australia’s bank notes attracted the support of the Human Rights Commission, Vision Australia and almost 60,000 people who signed his online petition. He was awarded the Emerging Leader in Disability Awareness prize.

Connor began this campaign after he received money for Christmas and was unable to tell how much money he had received because he is blind.

More recently he has campaigned for improvements to bank card technology so that vision impaired and blind people know how much money is being removed from their accounts by eftpos machines.

Keran Howe, the founding Executive Director of Women with Disabilities Victoria, was recognised with the Lesley Hall Award for Lifetime Achievement in Disability.

Preventing violence against women with disability is a key focus of Keran Howe’s advocacy. She has been a dedicated disability rights campaigner for more than 40 years.

Howe has developed strategic alliances across the disability and health sectors to ensure greater inclusion of women with disability despite her own physical challenges, the result of a car accident at the age of 19, which she said gave her a unique perspective on disability issues.

There were two winners in the Excellence in Advocacy award.

The first went to Julie Phillips who, for 20 years, has been a tireless advocate for fair treatment and equal opportunity for students with disability challenging the education and legal systems to ensure students with mobility issues, language disorders, learning disabilities, deafness and autism get the assistance they need.  

The second winner was Barrister Karen Williams, from the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House, who has driven the development of a new style of student advocacy and legal clinic which brings together lawyers, medicos and social workers.

The full list of award winners were:

Excellence in Advocacy

·         Julie Phillips

·         Karen Williams, Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House

Excellence in Community Accessibility

·         Kidney Health Australia Big Red Kidney Bus

·         MJD Foundation Ltd.

·         Parks Victoria

·         My Choice Matters

·         Jessica May, Enabled Employment

Excellence in Choice and Control in Service Delivery

·         Mind Recovery College

Lesley Hall Award for Lifetime Achievement in Disability

·         Keran Howe

Emerging Leader in Disability Awareness

·         Kate Swaffer

·         Connor McLeod

Joint Ministers' Award in Inclusive Development

·         Alexandra Kay, Scope Global Pty Ltd

Excellence in Accessible Technology

·         Peter Ford

·         Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children

The National Disability Awards are one of the major events in the lead up to International Day of People with Disability on 3 December 2015

- See more at: http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2015/11/disability-sector-shines-national-awards#sthash.3YNzox8E.dpuf

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