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Your Voice Your Choice Self Advocacy Conference

Dylan Speaking

The Disability Trust hosted the Your Voice Your Choice Self Advocacy Conference for people with a disability, parents and carers, and service providers on 14th and 15th October 2019 at Novotel Northbeach. With attendance figures reaching over 400 individuals and over 29 disability businesses involved, the event promoted and reinforced the building of networks and exploring opportunities within NDIS planning and personal journeys with self-advocacy.

The event excitingly featured Australian Paralympian, World Sporting Champion, Media Personality and Disability Advocate, Dylan Alcott OAM as the keynote speaker. Highlighting his achievements and personal accounts across his life, Dylan recounted defining moments from his early childhood and overcoming his perception and attitude of disability, to his public appearances at an elite sporting level and Australian media stage.

He noted his position has allowed him to have the opportunity to pursue his passion in redefining the Australian perspective and view on individual’s with a disability, overcoming expectations, in addition to removing barriers and opening dialogue with Australian employers through his consultation company Get Skilled Access.

"I really look forward to listening to the stories of people with disabilities, what they are doing and what we can improve on to try and get more people with disabilities out there. The goal is to not only improve products and services but highlight the value of employing people with a disability”, stated Dylan.

Falling within the Conference theme of Choice and Control, there were thirty-five presentations across two information streams throughout the two-days, detailing informative and personal journeys surrounding NDIS planning and the impact that it has had on individual experience.

In addition, it included an active stream for more hands on fun and a self-advocacy awards dinner to recognise the achievements of individuals improving the lives of people with a disability such as Bec Schmidt-Lachlan who led a campaign for an accessible lift at Unanderra train station.

There was a range of speakers across different backgrounds and demographics, highlighting and reinforcing both the community and collaborative focus of The Disability Trust mission ‘creating an inclusive world’ and the need for continued self-advocacy.

While each presentation attracted large attendee numbers, two individual presentations in particular stood out.

Carol Berry, Director of Provider & Market Engagement for the NDIA provided valuable information on an individual’s ability to tailor their NDIS plan to meet their personal needs and supports. She gave an informative outline on the framework surrounding the NDIA and its involvement within disability service processing.

Alex Dawson, aged 13, gave a passionate presentation surrounding his personal journey through his integration of social clubs and groups in redefining how he lived his life. He noted his involvement with his local drama group had allowed him to overcome barriers socially.

The Disability Trust Chief Operating Officer Edward Birt noted, "We are really thrilled to be able to facilitate this opportunity for people so they can share experiences and learn from each other. And we are seeing small communities and social networks form and an increasing interest by both participants and the general public in making the NDIS the best it can be." 

All presentations from the Your Voice Your Choice Self Advocacy Conference will be featured online at our website. 

We would like to thank all sponsors who had supported the event, including:


Gold Sponsor: 

  • Devika


Bronze Sponsors: 

  • Uniting
  • Dejay 
  • HESTA
  • Reimagine
  • Scope Home Access


Conference Dinner Sponsor: 

  • Greenacres
  • Interchange Illawarra


Day Catering Sponsor: 

  • Destination Illawarra

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