Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Grants for conference organisers to improve accessibility

Conference organisers can now apply for grants of up to $12,000 to improve access for people with disability and their carers.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas today called for applications to the Australian Government’s National Disability Conference Initiative.

The Initiative enables conference organisers to apply for funds to support the inclusion of people with disability at disability-focused conferences held in Australia during 2012-2013.

Grants can be used to assist people with disability and their carers with the costs of attending the conference, such as conference fees, accommodation or travel.

Services such as Auslan interpreters, live captioning services, hearing loops or note-takers for people who are deaf and hearing impaired may also be covered.

“Attending a conference is something that many of us don’t think twice about but the fact is there are many Australians who face barriers when doing so,” said Senator McLucas.

“It is through initiatives like this that we can help ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians to fulfil their potential and participate in community life.

“Conferences are a wonderful opportunity for people with disability to come together to learn and share their experiences. They may support professional development and enhance the leadership capacity of people with disability.

For example, last year the National Disability Conference Initiative supported people with disability to attend the Inaugural Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome Conference in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

This conference marked a new beginning for Australians with Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome, as it was the first time in 47 years that those with the condition, their families and carers had an opportunity to come together to learn, to teach and to support each other.

Organisers said that many families who attended the conference met other families with a Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome child for the first time; before this conference, they thought they were the only ones in Australia living with this disability.

The Australian Government is working hard to ensure people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.

“Through the National Disability Strategy, the Government is delivering a range of accessibility measures to make it easier for people with disability, their carers and families to participate in our communities, including going to the cinema, using public libraries and accessing public buildings,” Senator McLucas said.

Eligibility requirements and application forms for the National Disability Conference Initiative are available at

Applications close on Thursday 5 April 2012.