It is easy to get caught up in the particular area of work that you do to get to the desired outcome of employment for a person with disability. Meanwhile, there is policy change, advocacy, new data and a shifting culture in how we talk about employment that is all impacting on achieving that outcome. Samantha will walk through the changing policy environment, current advocacy, and how all these reforms and agendas need to fit together if we are going to get consistent results for people with disability.
People with Disabilities WA (PDWA)
Samantha has been an advocate for the rights of people with disability since the early 1990s, and throughout her professional life as a social worker. Through this time she has worked and advocated in many disability-related areas including employment services, individualised funding and person-centred planning. Highlights of Samantha’s work have been her time with the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO); her involvement in development of self-directed funding and direct payments in Victoria; developing policy on self-directed services in the community sector in WA; being involved as an ‘expert’ in the NDIS development, and subsequently on co-design groups with the National Disability Insurance Agency Independent Advisory Council. Samantha has kept coming back to employment as a key driver for the inclusion of people with disability as active and valued citizens.
Samantha has been involved as a volunteer with many community organisations on management committees and Boards of governance, including being a past chair of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, and past chair of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability in Western Australia. Samantha spent 6 years as a Local Government Councillor at the City of Stirling (2011-2017). Currently she is Executive Director of People with Disabilities WA and is focused on ensuring the voice of people with disabilities is heard in decision making.