2023 Summary from Deaf Australia CEO Jen Blyth


Hello! I am Jen Blyth, CEO of Deaf Australia. I am on Wurundjeri Country of Kulin Nation. I want to give you a summary of what our team has achieved this year, but I have only picked out a few things to share for you to understand how busy we have been!

This year, I travelled around Australia and met with many of you and young Deaf people, in workshops facilitated by young Deaf leaders, to collect information about the NDIS. We also held online workshops with people, including those from the Queer community and parents of deaf children. Altogether there were 21 consultations. Thank you to those who attended.

We received many donations, thanks to those who donated, including those regular donors. This year, we received $11,892 and Deaf Youth Australia received $7,496, thanks again to those who donated who wanted to support both organisations so we can continue to do our work.

We had a Deaf Mental Health workshop earlier this, and we are still working on a summary to share, we had a lot of attendees who believe deaf mental health is important. We sent in 13 submissions and reviews, wrote two expert letters for you to use for you for your own advocacy needs. We created a ChildSafe package, which includes things like Safeguarding, security, appropriate conduct, and other things like mandatory reporting.

We had a ‘the Voice’ webinar, hosted in collaboration with Deaf Connect, but we must recognise the hard work of Jody Barney who worked really hard to get presenters involved and facilitated this workshop. It was our highest number of attendees, out of 9 total webinars, we had 150 attendees on both Zoom and Facebook that night. Wow, impressive, it really drove home how important this topic is to the community.

We had a Parliament Breakfast, organised in collaboration with Deaf Connect, hosted the week before NWDP, with many MPs and Deaf Youth attending to talk about issues that affect Deaf youth and Deaf community in Australia.

We also had a Crossing Borders Camp, with 45 people coming from all over Australia, between the ages of 12-17 – again this was in collaboration with Deaf Connect. It looks like we have been so busy with so many things happening.

We migrated to a new CRM, which allows us to email you and use your information better so we can contact you about many things, so far, we have sent 20 emails. If you haven’t received any emails, please consider becoming a member, or check that your details have been updated.

We had our AGM this year where we passed a new constitution and we approved the change from incorporation to CLG. Thank you to those who attended the AGM.

We had the Dot Shaw Young Writers Competition, sponsored by Sweeney Interpreting again for the second year in a row, thank you Sweeney! We really appreciate it. We had an Auslan Day competition with the theme ‘jaw-dropping’, this was sponsored by MyAuslan, thank you MyAuslan!

Auslan Santa grew from 3 states last year to 6 this year and also expanded to NZ, - it’s so great to see a positive reaction from the community – thank you!

DYA now has 7 members on the board, congratulations DYA, we look forward to seeing you doing wonderful things going forward – we should all watch this space.

We went to South Korea for the WFD Congress, it was an incredible experience to be involved in this. The next Congress winning bid was for UAE – this led to a lot of discussion and outcomes including a first ever in the history of WFD, a Special Meeting, where we re-confirmed that the next Congress will be in UAE.

People continue to join our social media channels, thank you for this! We also have renewed our relationship with SBS – last year we had ‘Our Deaf Ways’, this year, we have ‘Deaf Humans of Australia’ where one person from each state share their stories in 5-7 minute snapshots. We hope you will enjoy these stories from people with interesting things to share, which is hopefully going to be released in Jan.

We are also collecting personal advocacy stories from people who may want to share small stories about their own advocacy – if you would like to share yours, please do. We think we may have a separate page on our website to showcase these stories, and to remind people that it’s not only Deaf Australia who does advocacy, people do that on their own. Of course, you know this, but it may be interesting for others to learn how others have advocated and to build their own strategies.

We have made and edited over 100 videos and uploaded them onto Vimeo, this is a lot!

At NWDP this year, we had 5 webinars and the Colin Allen Lecture.

So, we’ve done a lot, we have been so busy! The team has been busy! Our team here has done a lot to connect and share with the community to provide a lot. Without the team, I couldn’t do my job, - I would like you to join me in congratulating and recognising the team’s hard work, and to recognise the board too.

Thank you, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, stay safe and I hope to see you next year.

Visual descriptions

Opening slide: Graphic features a gradient red and green background with Christmas ornament shapes. The upper middle has a Deaf Australia logo. There is a screenshot photo of Jen Blyth from the video in a circle shape with white border. Title reads: "2023 Summary from Deaf Australia CEO Jen Blyth. Published: 22nd December 2023"

Video: Jen is standing indoors with a white brick wall and Human Rights poster behind her. She is wearing a black t-shirt and signing in a friendly manner towards the camera.

Closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-led advocacy and information organisation in Australia representing all Deaf, Deafblind, and hard-of-hearing people and others who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as their language of preference. Contact us: [email icon] [email protected], [website icon] deafaustralia.org.au, [Instagram and X icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

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