Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Celebrating ‘ability’ and creating a level playing field for life...’

Ability Awareness Week, a state-wide community initiative of Ability Options will be launched at ANZ Stadium on Monday 2nd August by The Hon Bill Shorten MP Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services; Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction.

With the announcement yesterday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard recommitting to a 10-year national disability strategy including support for the inquiry into a National Disability Insurance Scheme and increased government support for people with disabilities in areas including early intervention, employment and those who have ageing parents, Ability Options CEO Matt Donnelly welcomed the announcement.

“As one of the largest Disability Employment Service providers in NSW, we welcome this announcement. The government clearly has its eye on the ball for people with disabilities.

“By supporting initiatives that allow people with a disability to gain meaningful employment in the open market, the benefits to the individual, their family and the community are enormous.

“Recent research published in the journal Public Library of Science Medicines by researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah shows that isolation is a significant factor impacting negatively on over-all health and wellbeing.

“Many people with a disability experience isolation. We also know that by getting a job you love not only contributes to building self esteem but also builds resilience, independence and importantly, reduces the sense of isolation that people with a disability may feel,” Mr Donnelly said.

“Through launching Ability Awareness Week, a celebration that everyone has ‘abilities’, we aim to promote equality and independence while fostering understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities throughout the wider community of NSW, and build a stronger connection between people with a disability and their own communities,” he said.

With Ability Options services being provided for clients throughout the state, Ability Awareness Week is designed to encourage everyone in the NSW community to join together to create a level playing field for people of all abilities and help break down the barriers faced by people with a disability.

“Ability Awareness Week is about celebrating ‘ability’ and helping the wider community to understand that people with disabilities are like everyone else. They make their own decisions, make fabulous employees and contribute to society in the same way that we all do. By acknowledging that we all have strengths and weaknesses, goals, dreams and abilities too, we are breaking down barriers and opening up opportunities for people to connect with each other,” Mr Donnelly said.

Beau Champion of South Sydney Rabbitohs, (campaign partner) is the voice of the campaign. Featuring along-side Ability Options client Adam Budzinski, Beau is delighted to support this initiative saying, “As a community, we can all do so much to help create a level playing field for people like my mate Adam.
“It’s about recognising that no matter who we are, no matter what we do, we all have abilities too and during Ability Awareness Week, we want people to think about what they can do to help create a level playing field for life.”

Established for more than 30 years, Ability Options is a statewide organisation dedicated to working with people with disabilities in the areas of lifestyle, accommodation, employment, well-being and independent living.

Ability Options provides excellence in services for people with disabilities, promoting independence and providing support to make independence an achievable goal while at the same time, improving the quality of life for people with disabilities enabling them to have empowerment over their own lives and the opportunity to achieve their goals.

Australia’s internationally recognised Professor Trevor Parmenter formerly Foundation Chair of Developmental Disability Studies in the Sydney Medical School and Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at the Royal Rehabilitation Centre Sydney, supported this initiative saying; "Ability Options is recapturing the sense of excitement we experienced in the 1980s which saw the passing of the landmark Disability Services Act. Its wide range of support initiatives is helping to empower people with a disability to take greater control of their lives; to enable them to attain their rightful place as full citizens in a community which respects and values their innate abilities."

Mr Donnelly said, “Ability Awareness Week is about creating a level playing field for life. It’s about fostering understanding and acceptance for people with disabilities in the wider community, so that everyone can be respected for their abilities and have a fair go, just like everyone else.”

To help create a level playing field for life for people with disabilities throughout NSW, or to make a donation please contact Ability Options by calling: 02 88 111 777 or by visiting:
I think, I feel, I do. I have abilities too. I am just like you.


We are able to offer a number of interview opportunities with spokespersons including:

  • Matt Donnelly, CEO, Ability Options Limited
  • Anne McElduff, Director, Ability Options Limited
  • Nicola Hayhoe, Senior Manager, Ability Options Limited
  • Professor Trevor Parmenter AO PhD
  • Inspirational client success stories in multiple NSW communities

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Bill Shorten, Ability Awareness Week, Ability Options, South Sydney Rabbitoh, ANZ Stadium, Beau Champion, Matt Donnelly, disability



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