Disability Services Minister Don Punch has welcomed seven new members to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability, meeting with the group today to discuss issues facing Western Australians with disability and the continued implementation of the WA State Disability Strategy.
The new Council members are:
- Dr Siyat Abdi, disability advocate and President of the WA Somali Welfare Society;
- Chanel Bowen, film programmer and practitioner;
- Clare Gibellini, disability advocate;
- Georgia Inglis, research assistant, PhD student and wheelchair basketball athlete;
- Dr Rita Kleinfeld-Fowell, disability discrimination lawyer;
- Danielle Loizou-Lake, population health adviser and disability advocate; and
- Dr John Thompson, consultant anaesthetist.
Current Council members Kane Blackman and Mary Butterworth will continue on the Committee, with Kane Blackman recently appointed as Chair.
The Council was established to represent people with disability, their families and carers in Western Australia.
Council members have either lived experience of disability or are a family member or carer of a person with disability.
There will also be a new strategic direction in the way the Council operates, harnessing the extensive experience and formidable skills of the Council’s members.
The WA State Disability Strategy has provided an opportunity for the Council to align its work with the series of five Action Plans that bring the Strategy to life.
The Council, alongside members of the Disability Services Commission Board, will now drive activity to support the Strategy and current Action Plan, and will have a key role in consultations as future Action Plans take shape.
Council members are currently working to identify alignments between the Action Plans and their own areas of interest and expertise, as well as providing advice directly to the Minister on other disability-related matters that arise.
As stated by Disability Services Minister Don Punch:
“Members of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability bring knowledge, lived experience and invaluable professional and personal networks to the table.
“The Council provides authentic advice and perspectives on issues relating to disability in Western Australia that is of enormous value to both myself and to the State Government as a whole.
“The disability sector in Western Australia has gone through a period of enormous change in recent years with the introduction of the NDIS.
“The State Government continues to work to make sure the NDIS delivers for Western Australians, and the Council has an important role in advising on systemic issues that I as Minister can take to the national Disability Reform Ministers’ Meeting and advocate for their resolution on behalf of people with disability in our State.
“The Council’s advice will contribute to and inform a number of important initiatives that will impact the lives of people with disability, their families and carers in Western Australia for years to come.”
Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability – new members
Dr Siyat Abdi
Dr Abdi – who has vision loss – is a Systemic Advocacy Officer with the Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre. Dr Abdi was born in Kenya and is an active in the WA African community and is President of the WA Somali Welfare Society. Dr Abdi has a PhD in Community Rehabilitation from Flinders University.
Ms Bowen – who has an acquired brain injury with hearing loss – is a regional-based screen producer with an extensive career who works with various producers and production companies. She is the WA representative on the board of Women in Film and TV Australia. Chanel is passionate about telling disability stories onscreen and finding ways to increase disability inclusion in the film industry in Australia.
Ms Gibellini – who lives with autism and physical disability – is a disability advocate, and has worked for the Valued Lives Foundation, the National Disability Insurance Agency, Community and Mainstream Engagement WA, the Carers Association of WA and Intelife Group. She has also been involved with the Disabled Surfers and the South West Autism Network Association of Australia.
Ms Inglis – who is paraplegic after a spinal cord injury 17 years ago – is a research assistant and PhD student. Ms Inglis has a Bachelor’s degree in health science and a Masters in gender studies. She is an accomplished wheelchair basketballer and key leader in the Australian Gliders wheelchair basketball team. She is also a mentor for young, recently acquired spinal cord injury patients.
Ms Kleinfeld-Fowell – who is Deafblind and has Usher’s Syndrome – is a lawyer with a background in community law work in the UK, and more recently in Western Australia. She is currently with the Midland Information Debt and Legal Advice Service, and previously with the Women’s Law Centre. She has also been a Senior Planner and Support Co-ordinator with the National Disability Insurance Agency. Ms Kleinfeld-Fowell is also the Chair of Deafblind West Australians and the Valued Lives Foundation.
Ms Loizou-Lake – who has incomplete paraplegia – is a disability advocate with the National Disability Service. She has extensive background in the disability sector as Strategic Projects Manager with the former Independent Living Centre and as the founder of Paper Planes disability support coordination. She has previously managed the secretariat to Coalition of Disability Advocacy Organisations and been Chairperson of the Fremantle Early Learning Centre.
Dr John Thompson
Dr Thompson – who is paraplegic – is Consultant Anaesthetist at Perth Children’s Hospital. His medical career has seen him work in a range of areas, having been a registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and in Neurosurgery. He has also been a General Practitioner in Perth and Esperance. He was a member of the Drugs and Therapeutics Committee of Princess Margaret Hospital between 2001 and 2018.