Media Release by The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

Celebrating our Leaders for tomorrow

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Amanda Rishworth, today congratulated 31 inspiring graduates of a Gillard Government national leadership program for people with disability at a special ceremony at Parliament House.

The Gillard Government provided an additional $110,000 to hold this national celebration in recognition of these graduates who are among 43 from across the country to graduate from the third intake of the program.

“The Gillard Government’s Leaders for Tomorrow initiative is a 12-month program which supports people with disability to develop their leadership skills,” Ms Rishworth said.

“This important program is tailored according to each participant’s leadership aspirations to help committed and talented Australians achieve their leadership goals.

“By linking participants with appropriate training, support and mentoring, Leaders for Tomorrow helps participants overcome barriers to work and education so they can become leaders in their chosen field.

“I’m so pleased that these 31 participants from across the country have already achieved wonderful successes since starting the program, including 40 year old Will Elrick who had a major car accident which left him with his right leg amputated and a traumatic brain injury.

“Despite this, he has literally scaled new heights, trekking some of the longest treks and climbing some of the highest mountains in the world. He is working in partnership with organisations to build new homes in villages in the Philippines. He is also writing a book and completing a degree in Agroecology at university, with the aim of working for the United Nations in the future.

“Another graduate, 34-year-old Amber Del Pin is following her dream to create beautiful clothing for people with physical limitations. In pursuing her small business, she has undertaken business coaching and mentoring, completed a Certificate III in MicroBusiness Operations and created a Facebook page for her fashion line.

“Congratulations to each and every one of the graduates. Their stories show what every Australian can achieve when they are provided with the right support.”

Ms Rishworth said the Gillard Government strongly believes people with disability have the right to participate fully in the social and economic life of our community.

“We are committed to ensuring that every Australian has the confidence to participate in work, community and social activities, to achieve their best in life, and to develop skills and gain experience”, Ms Rishworth said.

“This is why we have invested more than $11 million for community participation services like Leaders for Tomorrow under the National Disability Strategy to expand opportunities for people with disability and their carers.

“This is also why in the Federal Budget Labor provided $14.3 billion over seven years to 2018-19 to roll out DisabilityCare Australia nationally. DisabilityCare Australia will give people with disability, their families and carers the care and support they need over their lifetimes, and choice and control over the support they receive.”

Ms Rishworth wished each of the graduates all the very best as they go on to be leaders in their communities and to inspire others around them.

Leaders for Tomorrow is being delivered by TAFE NSW Hunter Institute, leading a consortium with E-QUAL (Enhancing Quality).