The Queensland Plan Disability Forum at Cup From Above

04 Aug 2013 | Adam

The Queensland Plan Disability Forum

Last Friday we were very honoured to host a forum from the disability community at Cup From Above for the QLD plan.  The forum was put together to hear directly from people with disabilities about their thoughts, ideas and dreams for the future of the great StateCFA Disability Forum of Queensland.

We were very honoured to have the State Minister for Disabilities & Communities and Member for Aspley Tracy Davis MP at the forum.  We sat and discussed and debated the six questions of the Queensland Plan.  Everyone contributed to create some fantastic solutions for the future of Queensland and what that looks like for someone with a disability.

Our hope is to inspire you to fill out the Queensland Plan Questionnaire which you’ll find here.  It took me 39 minutes and 23 seconds to fill it out.  However I knew all about the questions beforehand so put aside a good hour.  Why should you do it?  We live in a great state in a great country with a great future.  To have the best possible plan for the future it’s gonna take as many Queenslanders opinions, solutions, strategies & dreams as we can muster to work together and make it as great as possible.  I believe it’s important for all Queenslanders to have a say so that we get a strong, balanced & accurate vision for the future.  Please encourage your friends and family in Queensland to also fill it out. If you are connected to the disability community somehow (e.g. you have a disability or a family member with one) please please please forward this post on to everyone you know that has a disability in Queensland and make sure you fill out the questionnaire. And if you can comment your individual ideas, thoughts and dreams on this post or on facebook that would be hugely appreciated. We’ll take your suggestions, plans, ideas, strategies and dreams directly to the Minister if you comment below but they will only be included in the official plan if you complete the questionnaire!

The Cup From Above disability forum included:

Peter Rowe who has Down Syndrome, is an author & artist.  Dave McNair who runs a youth shelter and has a child with a disability.  Graeme Agius who has 2 sons with a disability and is involved with the Special Olympics.  Lucy Blackman who has Autism, is non verbal and communicates via Facilitated Communication, is an author and has a Masters in Literary Studies.  Fiona Anderson who is a doctor and has a son with Cerebral Palsy.

Here is an overview of what the Aspley Disability Forum came up with in response to the Queensland Plan questions, specifically from the angle of someone with a disability in Queensland.  We hope this gives you some inspiration for you to give your own answers!

Question 1:  In the context of living in the community, how do we move our focus from me to we?

-Engaging people with disabilities as an integrated community. Making connections in the community for all, especially those who are disadvantaged

-Generate a new mindset which allows for the government to facilitate the communities needs to be met

-Community focussed, for profit, businesses intentionally employing and offering customised training to people with disabilities is the transition from me to we

-Promoting conversation beyond service provision

-Government specifically promoting places like Cup From Above which not only ‘allow disabilities’ but encourage and treat those with disabilities as normal. Creating a culture where they are included.

-Peter Rowe stated:  “What’s really important for those with disabilities is for them to be able to communicate”

-Introvert and extrovert environments. Acknowledging that some people appreciate entirely different environments and this needs to be respected.

-People with Autism can have very specific and unique environmental requirements that we need to accommodate as best as possible for them to truly feel like they are part of ‘we’.

-Lucy stated – ‘For example, take a noisy air con out of disability settings, where people with autism are assisted…have autism appropriate settings’

-Different environments can make different people very uncomfortable

-Welcoming and acceptance as two different terms: Acceptance implies their difference is tolerated. Welcoming assures that the differences are appreciated.

-Some prefer not to be in a ‘welcome’ (sanguine) setting. Some people feel more welcome in a quiet & polite way.

-‘Inclusive’ defined as being respected for who you are, not how people perceive.

Possible Solutions…CFA Disability Forum

Allowing and encouraging people with disabilities into ‘mainstream’ schools (where practical and safe) which in turn integrates other students to people with disabilities.

Early opportunities
e.g. Kindergarten, where people with disabilities and those without can interact before a stigma of difference develops.

Creating meaningful jobs where there is an authentic occupation utilising and developing upon their capabilities, not just a menial task based upon the ‘lowest common denominator’ of their dis-ability.

Question 2: How do we create and foster an education culture that teaches skills and values to meet global challenges and optimise regional strengths?

-Identifying early projected global market trends and promote/teach this skill development at an early age

-Foreign language needs to be a priority to teach in schools

-Teaching foreign language is a link between generally having the gift of speech, and those without that being able to learn another language

-Lucy stated: The general public can sympathise after they realise how hard it is to speak a language that doesn’t come naturally

-Integrating with people with disabilities inherently teaches values

Question 3: How do we empower and educate individuals, communities and institutions to embrace responsibility for an active and healthy lifestyle?

-Promote lifestyle across the community

-Educational campaigns to educate Queenslanders about living a healthy lifestyle

-Graeme Agius stated: Special Olympics is promoted at Special Schools, student forums, athletics functions

-Promote dealing with things properly vs. quick fixes of drugs

-Promote happy and healthy lifestyles

-Promote individual responsibility of each person’s own health

-Taking responsibilities for one’s own health

Question 4: How do we structure our economy to ensure our children inherit a resilient future?

-Fit an economy around the skills of the people in our society. Don’t make people fit a mould that doesn’t suit their abilities.

-Shifting the culture from doing what is easy and inspiring them to work and thus, give back to the community

-More support on the students less pressure to meet school ‘achievements’ levels

-Formal education is not for everyone. Practical education methods such as apprenticeships are a time proven method and create enduring skills.

-We need to provide options for those who don’t meet the school ‘mould’.

-Encourage and educate entrepreneurs in Social Enterprise company structures.

-‘Volunteer for the dole’ so people can do something meaningful while finding employment

-Engaging volunteers providing opportunities for people to fill

Question 5: How do we strengthen our economic future and achieve sustainable landscapes?

-Keep Queensland mines owned by Australians as much as possible. Our assets need to stay our assets so our grandchildren can reap the reward of what we’re pulling out of the soil.

-Purchase local to support local (especially fresh produce)

-Legislative framework around mining so the environment is considered to ensure our agricultural land is preserved for food etc, noting that some land is scrub thus, finding balance between the two.

Question 6: How do we attract and retain the brightest minds and ideas where they are most needed and capitalise on global opportunities?

-Provide a community where people want to live and make a lifeCFA Disability Forum

-Value and appreciate minds

-Provide opportunities for people to feel a sense of ownership

-Offer first class education

If you have any comments, thoughts, ideas, anecdotes, dreams, aspirations, queries or concerns on any of the above we’d love to hear it!  Please comment below or on facebook.  Please remember we especially want engagement from the disability community here on this post  but if you’re proud to call Queensland home then please fill out the questionnaire here!

Thank You for being a part of the Queensland Plan!



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One response to “The Queensland Plan Disability Forum at Cup From Above”

  1. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute my opinion to the Qld Plan.

    Q1. I think we need to live together as one community. I should have equal opportunity like every other Queenslander.

    Q2. I think we should place more focus on education.

    Q3. Through clever marketing

    Q4. I believe it’s through education. If we are all taught while we are young we will know what to do.

    Q5. I think we should all grow our own vegetables and eat them!

    Q6. I am the brightest mind and I am here already!

    I want to thank Campbell Newman for including my opinion.

    (Glen has Down Syndrome and was born with dyspraxia. He communicates exclusively via “Facilitated Communication”. To find out more please visit his website

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