Category: Updates

Announcing Perth Thinking Lab 2024

We have an exciting new event to announce! Coming this winter, we are hosting…
Thinking Lab 2024 is a space bringing many deaf people together to figure out what and how we think. Our aim is to develop and improve our deep thinking skills. We are busy preparing the application and FAQs for you, keep an eye on our social media and website for the latest updates.
In the meantime, see Gab’s video for all the details. We hope you’re excited and will think about joining us!


Hello Australian Deaf Community! My name is Gab Hodge. I'm Deaf from Melbourne and now working in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh in sign language linguistics. 

Have you ever dreamed of spending one week at a beautiful location, thinking, learning and signing with other Deaf people? Yes, me too! 

I’m excited to partner with Deaf Australia in hosting a new event in Perth from 1-5 July 2024. 

Thinking Lab 2024: a space bringing many deaf people together to figure out what and how we think. Our aim is to develop and improve our deep thinking skills. Thinking Lab will not be like sitting in a row in a classroom watching boring lectures. We will watch different films. [Note for Deafblind attendees we can use different prompts on request]. We will draw on different ideas from these films, depending on all of our different interests. These ideas will be taken into group or one-on-one discussions, and we'll also do different creative activities designed to support development of our deep thinking skills. 

Thinking Lab 2024 will be facilitated by myself and four other wonderful Deaf people:

  1. Annelies Kusters (Belgium) who is extremely knowledgeable about Deaf people, language, culture and film-making. 
  2. Jody Barney (Australia) who has extensive experience relating to First Nations knowledge, culture, language and advocacy. 
  3. Stef Linder (Australia) who is skilled with interpreting, translating and community development. 
  4. Marta Morgado (Portugal) who is knowledgeable about linguistics, Deaf culture and visual notetaking. This is different to English notetaking, as it relies on transforming ideas into visual or tactile notes. 

We are very excited to host this event together. Jody, Stef and myself all use Auslan. Annelies and Marta use BSL or International Sign. 

There are 25 spots available for Thinking Lab. These limited places ensure we can provide a good quality learning experience for everyone who attends.

The registration fee is $2,000 per person and includes all food, accommodation and learning for the week. We also have five free places available for people who do not have access to funding. 

Would you like to join? You must be:

  1. Deaf, Deafblind, Deaf disabled or hard of hearing and age 18 or older
  2. Comfortable using visual or tactile sign for the week
  3. Open minded, curious and interested in other people and ideas

We hope you will apply! Stef explains the application process in another video. We also have a series of FAQ videos that you might like to check for answers to any questions.  

Hope to see you there! Thank you.

Visual description

Gab is standing in front of a plain white background. She is wearing a dark red turtleneck and signing in a friendly and informative manner.

NDIS Update – 2 April 2024



This is the NDIS update. This is a hot topic within the Deaf community, especially for those who use the NDIS in different ways. Deaf Australia has continued working with the NDIA in different ways, we regularly attend forums, meetings and discussions. Deaf Australia has also been contributing to working groups on topics such as the planning process, and providing feedback from a Deaf perspective. We also have had meetings regarding issues that we see occurring in the NDIS space that affect the Deaf community. This includes insufficient interpreter funds being allocated, the rejection of Auslan training in plans, or insufficient funds for Auslan. Also supporting people to appeal the NDIA’s decision and supporting cases at the AAT that relate to interpreter funding, Auslan training and other Deaf specific requests.

The Deaf community must have their choice and control with the NDIS. We have been doing lots of work in this space.

I also acknowledge there have been a lot of changes and reforms to the NDIS, however, this information hasn’t been shared with the Deaf Community well. We will create a page on our website to explain these changes. Recently there was a bill introduced in Parliament to ensure that the NDIS stays within its original vision. This means that Deaf Australia along with other Disability Representation organisations can work with the NDIA to ensure a better outcome and experience for the Deaf and wider disability community when accessing the NDIS.
There have also been changes in policies to crack down on fraud and strengthen fraud prevention, this will be released soon.

Changes such as an extra day in processing payment for services, changing from 2 to 3 business days to ensure appropriate oversight.

Check-in with your plan or plan managers to understand these changes and to make sure they don’t impact any of your services. We are trying to get more visual and accessible information about these changes so you can understand how to best use your plan in alignment with the changing NDIS space.

If you have any concerns about your NDIS plans please contact us and we can point you in the right direction to have this resolved.

Thank you

Visual description

Shirley is wearing a black t-shirt standing in plain cream background.

She is signing in a friendly and concise manner towards the camera.

DRC Update – 2 April 2024



Hello, this video is an update about the Disability Royal Commission. As you know the DRC finished its commission and handed down volumes of its recommendations. This means the Australian Government needs to consider its response to each of the many recommendations. Originally the plan was for the response to be released this month, however, they have extended this until mid-July. That means we must wait a little longer until the Government releases its responses for us to begin our collaborative work with the other Disability Representation groups to provide our feedback. No one knows our needs like we do, so it’s important to ensure the response from the Government is appropriate and that nothing is missed.

There was a recent progress update, which covered other Disability related themes unfortunately none of which were related to the Deaf and Auslan community. Only some information regarding general accessibility, which I want to acknowledge. We will wait until mid-July for the full response from the Government and we will provide you updates about that when it happens, as well as what impacts may occur in the community.

We also acknowledge that there isn’t a lot of information available in Auslan, we aim to create a page on our website dedicated to the DRC, its aim, and its impact across all the various areas. This will help understand Deaf Australia’s role in responding to the Government’s response. We hope to have this information up in a few months.

Thank you for watching.

Visual description

Shirley is wearing a black t-shirt standing in plain cream background.

She is signing in a friendly and concise manner towards the camera.

NRS Update – 2 April 2024



Hello, this video is an update about the NRS. You may remember the previous video we posted about the NRS and the concerns around the tender process for service delivery.
The tender application has now closed. We acknowledge the limited consultation with the community and the gaps that exist in the current form.

We have been contacted by the relevant Government department to discuss the areas we have identified and they expressed they are happy and willing to have further discussions on how the service can be improved once the tender has closed.
We will share more updates when they happen.

Also, we have been working closely with ACCAN who are experts in the area of Communication, they have assisted us in how best to lead this, with foresight for the next tender process to avoid what happened in the recent tender.

The process will take some time with negotiations to ensure its successful. We want to ensure issues raised are resolved, so we don’t have to deal with the same types of issues in future tender cycles. We will share further updates when we have them.

Also, for any issues identified or brought to Deaf Australia’s attention, we will be approaching the Minister of Communications to inform them and have thorough conversations on how these can be addressed. We hope to begin this approach shortly.

Lastly, we have spoken with ACCAN about ‘Triple-0’ emergency calls. They are eager to explore how this can be improved. You may be aware that the 3G network will be shutting down this year. Different Telecommunication businesses such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have announced when they will turn off their 3G networks. Please check with your phone provider to make sure you won’t be affected with this change.
ACCAN told me about the various levels of 000, some being the State’s responsibility and others being the Federal Government’s responsibility. They’re happy to work with us to help address the issue of Deaf people being unable to access 000 in the time of an emergency, and the changes needed to amend this. We’ve been involved with a committee of other stakeholders and the Government which has given us a great opportunity to inform them about this so they can also advocate for us.

Once we know more about how to best approach State-based 000 providers, and approval from the board, we will let you know and consult with the community to move this issue forward.

Thank you for watching this update.

Visual description

Shirley is wearing a black t-shirt standing in plain cream background.

She is signing in a friendly and concise manner towards the camera.

Acting CEO Shirley Update – April 2024



Hello! In this update, I’ll be sharing an update on all the work we’ve been doing at Deaf Australia. There has been a lot happening across different sectors, it would be impossible to fit everything into one video. Instead of one lengthy video, I’ve decided to break it up into smaller videos depending on the topic of the update, so I can go into more detail in each video. I will email Deaf Australia’s members with the different videos, as well as post these on social media in the next week or two for you to watch.

I encourage you to become a Deaf Australia Member so you can have quick access to our updates too via our mailing lists.

If you’re not yet a member, that’s fine. We are still amending our member forms on our website to make joining and payment easier with our new payment option. By using My CRM, our central management system we can see all details in one handy location.

This also will align with the recent changes from our last AGM, regarding membership structure. We will provide further updates on this soon.

Another exciting date coming up soon is Auslan Day, on April 13th! We are excited! If you don’t already know we’re having a video competition with prizes to be won. For more information, please check out our website. We will be releasing a promo video soon, so please keep a look out!

Now for all the things we’ve been working on at Deaf Australia. There’s been lots! As you know we’re a small organisation, but that doesn’t stop us from tirelessly advocating for systemic change. We’ve had lots of meetings with the Government, and lots of things have been happening. Of course, it is a slow process, but we know that eventually, the impact will be a positive change.
Unfortunately, nothing can change overnight, so we keep advocating.

Three things I’d like to provide an update on are the Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review as well as the NRS update. Three big topics!

Please watch the separate videos for further information.

Deaf Australia has also been busy reviewing and writing position papers, which are released after working closely with Deaf Australia’s board for approval. We have plenty of position papers available on our website, with more to be added soon.

We have provided submissions to the Government for their different reviews to help inform better policy decisions and reform to influence the rest of Australia’s states and territories.

I know that was a lot of information for one video, I hope you have a good week and enjoyed the break over the recent long weekend.

I look forward to working with you more soon.

Visual description

Shirley is wearing a black t-shirt standing in plain cream background.

She is signing in a friendly and concise manner towards the camera.

International Women’s Day 2024


International Women's Day, Friday the 8th of March 2024.

Deaf Australia will be joining the United Nations in celebrating International Women's Day with this year's theme: "Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress."

We all want to make this world a better place. This means we need to support and believe that girls and women can lead safer and healthier lives. By ensuring equality, which benefits all. We all need to work together to make this change and accelerate progress.

Deaf Australia wants to acknowledge and empower all Deaf women to improve their future for the better.

Happy International Women's Day to the all the women in the Deaf Community.

Visual description

Paula is a white woman with long blonde and curly hair. She is standing against a plain blue background and wearing a grey long-sleeved shirt with a scarf. She has glasses on and is signing towards the camera in a friendly manner.

Part Time Job Opportunity


Hello! I am Shirley Liu, Acting CEO at Deaf Australia.

We are excited to share a work opportunity with you – this will be only fixed term – 3 months (late March until late June).

Due to internal staff changes, we can offer this temporary position.

We are looking for a deaf person who is available as soon as possible, can meet our criteria, and fit into our organisation, Deaf Australia’s vision and purpose.

The title of the job is Project Assistant. Part-time means 3 days – 21 hours.

What responsibilities are involved in this role?

  • Have translation skills (Auslan to English, vice versa)
  • Manage some general email and administrative tasks, coordination, and logistics
  • Collaborate and support the team to ensure the timely production and logistics of Deaf Australia projects
  • Create a review & final outcome report after resources and projects are released
  • Consult with our deaf community members
  • Research and identify trending topics related to advocacy and community issues
  • And other general tasks

If you are interested, please send your Expression of Interest (EOI) and motivation statement to me at [email protected]. The EOI will be closed by 15 March 2024. Any questions, please contact me; I am happy to provide any further information.

Visual description

Shirley is standing against a beige background and is wearing a black t-shirt.

Interested? Send your EOI and Motivation Statement to
Shirley at [email protected]

NRS Poll


Hello! We would like to share an update with you about the NRS. The National Relay Service is under the responsibility of the Australian government. This means that the government will contract one company to manage the NRS for all people around Australia.

Every three years (sometimes extended) the government creates a new contract through a tender process. The government will pick a business and continue NRS. The contract is responsible to provide services to all people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech communication difficulty.

We can see that the NRS still has some issues. We (being a group of key disability organisation stakeholders) and us (Deaf Australia), are disappointed with the government because they didn’t follow proper procedure during this latest tender process. They didn’t consult with us prior to launching the tender regarding any issues. Unfortunately the tender process has already begun.

We are working on a collaborative approach to advocate for the best quality, because we can see how it is dropping each year. Don’t worry because we are currently working with ACCAN who are the peak national advocacy group for Australian communication consumers, similar to us at Deaf Australia. Also, they are knowledgable about what to do when communication issues arise and liaise with the government on possible solutions.

We have full spreadsheet of all the areas we want to improve, remove or add to regarding the NRS. Now, we are asking you all, the deaf community, to let us know if you support our work and respond if you’re happy. Then we can show the NRS our proposal and make sure it’s right and we have picked through the proposal with the relevant deaf topics.

I will give you a list and you let us know if it’s all good! This is a list of different types of support and services like:

Funding of NRS – need to keep ongoing funding, not less.

NRS chat 24/7 – keep this service the same, no changes.

VRS (video relay service) – right now has limited time and day we want to expand this to 24/7 availability.

TTY Services – keep this the same.

SMS Relay – keep this the same.

Captioning Services – like accessible captioned telephone for people who are oral – keep this the same.

Also we want to add education and training program to teach hearing people how to use NRS, and visit schools and teach deaf students how to use it.

Also to educate general hearing public about NRS and to avoid such incidents and misunderstandings when they receive NRS call and hang up or think it is a scam.

Also, how to improve 000 emergency calls though NRS.

Oops, there is one more! We want to remove NRS registration before using service. Meaning no requirement to register or login. You can start using NRS chat and video right away anytime. You won't have to log in or create an account to use service. It will be automatic and easy.

We also want to make sure this is an accessible platform for deafblind people and include them for any issues, discussion or design collaboration.

That is all for now. If you are happy with this proposal so far please fill out the poll to show your support. If you have any feedback or to raise another matter, please add it in the poll, we will be collecting all further notes. I will use to prepare for the next meeting and present. I want to show the connection to you, our community, and present to the government that the deaf community supports this advocacy endeavor!

Just to let you know, the poll closes Thursday 29th February 5pm AEDT. Meaning Sydney / east coast time. Thank you!

Visual description

Shirley Liu is wearing a black t-shirt and standing in front a plain green and blue gradient background. Her hair is pulled back . She is signing in an engaging way towards the camera.

Acting CEO Shirley Update – Feb 2024



Hello! I’m Shirley, the Acting CEO of Deaf Australia.

This is a new role for me and I have already learnt so much especially about things I had never given much thought to in the past. This new experience has kept me very busy.

I’ve been pleased to watch the Deaf Australia team work so well together over the last three weeks. We have been busy preparing a toolkit that will be released next week. Please keep your eyes out for more information about this on Facebook, Instagram and, if you are a Deaf Australia member, in your inboxes.  

We have also been planning an event for the upcoming Auslan Day. You’ll find lots of information about this on our website.

Today, I attended the ‘Deaf History Collection’ launch – more information about this event is in the next video.

Today I attended the launch of the Deaf History Collection, a very special event that was held at the University of Sydney in a space that used to be occupied by the Darlington Deaf School.

Here in a very old building that holds many stories and memories for our community ex students and community members gathered. It was not only Sydney-siders that attended but community members from across the country that came together for this special and very enjoyable launch of the Deaf History Collection website.

The website, through various media types, documents the history of the deaf community in all areas of life including advocacy, education, sport and the arts.  

Deaf Australia would like to acknowledge and thank Deaf Connect for their significant investment in the Deaf History Collection and ensuring that it is available for our community to access, enjoy and learn about our history.  At the beginning of this projects journey, Deaf Connect reached out to Deaf Australia so that we could work collaboratively on this project.

Today was the launch of a living collection of our history. Please share the website with your friends, family and work colleagues. We will continue to document our history through the Deaf History Collection website.

Once again, Deaf Australia would like to thank Deaf Connect for their commitment to the project. We would also like to thank the Deaf community members and various organisations that have contributed to the collection so far.

Lastly, Deaf Australia will soon be posting another video about collecting your feedback about the National Relay Service (NRS) to inform our advocacy work.

Thank you for watching this update.

(Filmed 16 Feb 2024)

Visual description

Shirley is wearing a navy t-shirt standing in front of an old building and green bushes signing. Next to her is a light green flag that says “Deaf History Collections” in white text.

She is signing in a friendly and concise manner towards the camera.

NDIS Roundtable for Remote, Rural and Regional

Reminder, published on 9th February 2024


Hello! I want to remind you about next Thursday night from 6.00pm to 7.30pm. We will have a roundtable about the NDIS, to talk about your experiences involved in the NDIS from people who live in remote, rural and regional areas. Don’t forget; next week on Tuesday night RSVPs will close. We will provide interpreters and captioning for those who’ve requested them. Thank you to those who’ve finished register for next week on Thursday night; we are looking forward to it. Bye!

Visual description

White woman with shoulder length hair wearing a black long sleeved t-shirt sitting against a creamy background. She is signing in Auslan about the NDIS roundtable event happening next Thursday night from 6pm to 7.30pm.


Hello! I’m Catherine, and I work at Deaf Australia as a policy officer. I want to let you know that Deaf Australia will have a roundtable to focus on NDIS experiences from people who live in remote, rural or regional areas. We want to know about your experiences with NDIS both good and bad, including access to services, things like that. We will have a series of questions to ask, to encourage discussion. We will have the roundtable on zoom, on Thursday 15th February from 6pm to 7.30pm. We’re really keen to see your experiences so please RSVP by 13th February (that’s on a Tuesday) in two weeks. If you have any accessibility requirements please let us know. If you’re keen to be involved please RSVP to [email protected]. Hope to see you there! Bye!

Visual description

White woman with brown shoulder length hair and a black jumper sitting against a creamy background signing about an opportunity to participate in a roundtable about experiences with the NDIS from a remote, rural and regional perspective.

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