WA advocate recognised in national awards
A West Australian disability advocate has been recognised nationally for her ongoing and significant contribution to the disability reform agenda.
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas and Senator for Western Australia, Louise Pratt today met with Ms Samantha Jenkinson of Karrinyup who has been named a finalist for the 2012 National Disability Awards which will be announced later this month.
Ms Jenkinson is a finalist for the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Disability Reform which recognises the significant achievements of an individual in influencing the disability reform agenda.
Senator McLucas said she was proud to meet with and congratulate Ms Jenkinson whose efforts are making a real difference to the lives of local people with disability every day.
“Samantha was selected in recognition of her ongoing commitment to increasing awareness of the barriers facing Australians living with disability,” Senator McLucas said.
“Samantha has made outstanding achievements in disability reform, particularly her involvement in the Count Me In state disability plan, Every Australian Counts campaign, and her work with the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations.
“People with disability should have the same opportunities as all Australians. Samantha has taken remarkable initiative in helping this become a reality.”
Senator Pratt said Samantha’s nomination for the Minister’s Award recognises her continuing contribution to improving the lives of people with disability.
“Samantha’s professional knowledge as a social worker combined with her lived experience with disability has driven effective change in the disability sector in Western Australia and beyond.”
Senator Pratt said increasing recognition for those individuals and organisations who help to overcome the barriers and challenges faced by people with disability is vital.
“The annual National Disability Awards, now in their sixth year, are an important opportunity to celebrate the remarkable contributions that individuals, organisations and businesses make to our community and to the disability sector,” Senator Pratt said.
“Samantha was chosen from more than 200 nominations across nine categories. I give my warmest congratulations to Samantha and wish her all the best for this month’s awards.”
Ms Jenkinson said, “I am just one of many people working hard to make a difference for all people with disabilities. It is the voice of people with disability and hearing the real stories of what works and what doesn’t which has to be at the core of the reform process.”
“This is a time where there is so much potential for improving the lives of all people with disability. All levels of government are recognising the need for accessible and inclusive communities and the contribution that people with disability can make, but there is still a long way to go.
“Providing the right support and removing barriers to access, benefits the whole community and can only be done with the leadership and involvement of those most affected.”
Senator McLucas said the 2012 National Disability Awards follow what has been a historic year for the disability sector.
“The Australian Government is laying the groundwork for the largest disability reform ever undertaken in Australia—a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS),” Senator McLucas said.
“We are investing $1 billion for the first stage of an NDIS, which will begin next year in five launch sites across Australia.
“From the middle of next year, around 26,000 Australians with disability, their families and carers will start to benefit from the first stage of an NDIS.”
The National Disability Awards will be presented at a gala dinner at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra on Wednesday 28 November 2012.
The Awards are part of the Australian Government’s celebration of International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD), which occurs on 3 December each year and is in its 20th anniversary this year.
Senator Pratt is encouraging local organisations, including councils to organise an event to celebrate IDPwD.
Organisations and individuals planning a celebration for International Day of People with Disability can register their event on www.idpwd.com.au which contains a toolkit to help organisations in preparing and organising their event.
For more information, visit the International Day of People with Disability website at www.idpwd.com.au or call 1800 440 385.