Welcome to Country
Uncle Vaughn McGuire
The youngest of seven children, Uncle Vaughn, was born in Balladong Country and is a dedicated Whadjuk man having stories and songs passed down by his father, Whadjuk Elder Walter McGuire.
Uncle Vaughn is passionate about sharing the knowledge and history of his people and delivers the culture of his great, great, great grandparents with his heart.
Hon Don Punch BPsych BSocwk MBA MLA
Minister for Disability Services; Small Business; Fisheries; Seniors and Ageing
Drisana Levitzke-Gray is the recipient of the 2015 Young Australian of the Year Award and WA Young Australian of the Year Award, in recognition of her passion and dedication in advocating for the human rights of deaf people. She raises awareness about Auslan (Australian Sign Language), and the right of deaf children in Australia to access Auslan from birth. An advocate and activist, Drisana seeks opportunities to create a positive social change and to challenge the stigma and misconceptions about Deaf people and sign languages.
As a graduate of The University of Western Australia, Drisana is a credentialed and registered Deaf interpreter and translator in 4 languages, a professional keynote speaker, Auslan tutor, Deaf mentor and provides workshops and training on a variety of topics. Her biggest passion is to consult on projects and policies to ensure the inclusion and celebration of Deaf people and sign languages. Drisana is the embodiment of the concept of ‘Deaf gain’, not ‘hearing loss’, inspiring the Deaf community, and encouraging the wider community to accept diversity.
Inclusion and Intersectionality
Wayne is a prominent, in-demand, and outspoken international public speaker, presenter, comedian, and author promoting the rights of and opportunities for people with disability and people in the LGBTIQ community. In his career to date Wayne has undertaken a number of speaking opportunities throughout Australia and internationally on issues of disability, diversity, and human resources. Wayne’s entire career is focused on assisting people with disability into employment and training. Wayne has many years’ experience working within the Disability Employment Services Program (DES). He has seen the transformative difference well-paid employment can make in an individual’s life. Wayne has experience in all aspects of organisational leadership, client relations, human resources, and business administration. He has a keen interest in social and employment policy that ensures the talents and expertise of people with disability are recognised in the workforce and community more broadly. Wayne’s work is focused on ensuring that full participation in both work and community life is realised.
Wayne is a solutions-focused thought leader. He knows there is much work to be done to improve the employment of people with disability. He knows all too well that as a country, Australia cannot let the skills and talents of people with disability go to waste.
Dr Scott Hollier
Dr Scott Hollier specialises in the field of digital accessibility and is the CEO and co-founder of the Centre For Accessibility Australia, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to alleviating hardship caused by digital access issues. With a Ph.D. in Internet Studies and senior management experience across the not-for-profit, corporate and government sectors, Scott is an internationally-recognised researcher and speaker.
Scott’s other roles and achievements include Finalist for 2022 Australian of the Year, holds academic positions at Edith Cowan University and the University of South Australia, and is an Invited Expert for the W3C Accessible Platform Architectures Research Questions Task Force. In addition, Scott is legally blind and as such has both a professional and personal understanding of the importance of accessibility
Julia Hales is a theatre-maker and performance artist who has dedicated her career to sharing the experiences of people living with disability, in particular Down syndrome.
In 2018, Julia presented the world-premiere of You Know We Belong Together – an autobiographical play on love, relationships, acceptance and belonging experienced by a woman who also happens to have Down syndrome. Since 2019, she’s been mentored by Black Swan Theatre Company’s artistic director Clare Watson. This has opened up opportunities to contribute to the theatre company, including performances in London and Edinburgh in August 2022 and at Sydney Opera House in September 2022. Through this experience and mentorship she is further developing her skills as a leader in the arts and disability space.
Now focused on creating artistic opportunities for other artists with disability, Julia is collaborating with My Place WA on the development of a new arts bureau called My Studio. A passionate advocate within her community, Julia demonstrates through her art what she and others with Down syndrome are capable of. She’s dispelling prejudice and creating opportunities for people like her.
Master of Ceremonies
Phoebe has a background in lived experience (LE) peer support work, public health sector governance, executive representation and advocacy via LE positions as chair, vice chair and project manager roles for ‘consumer’ councils and was privileged with full inclusion in the WA mental health sector’s executive directorship. Phoebe also works in the non-government sector and she served a term as a board director for Consumers of Mental Health WA. Recently, Phoebe has returned to her enjoyment as a Master of Ceremonies, she was the MC for Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia’s Finding North Network (FNN) national symposium, Perspectives 22, and she visits Canberra in November for further FNN launches and other parliamentary events. Phoebe is currently the Co-Chair of a national Consumer Reference Group for Australia National University and the Institute of Communication in Healthcare, but her favourite role to fulfil is the ‘MAD March Hare’! My peer work is all about Rabbit Holes…