Category: Updates

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.

Announcement CEO Jen Blyth on Leave


Hello, I'm Jen Blyth. I wanted to inform you that I'll be on leave from Deaf Australia for a while until approx mid-June. 

Shirley Liu will be the acting CEO during my absence. If you have any concerns, please feel free to reach out to Shirley and the rest of the Deaf Australia team using our usual email address. Shirley can be contacted at [email protected]. Also you can reach out to the Board members. 

I look forward to returning and seeing you all again in June. Bye.

Visual description

Jen Blyth has curly red hair and is wearing glasses and a black t-shirt with an Aboriginal pattern / design on it. She is signing in a friendly and concise manner towards the camera.

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”

Announcement Regarding Deaf Australia Membership Structure Changes


Hi My name is Debra Swann - Chair of Deaf Australia. This message is about the new membership structure following from the new constitution which was approved at our AGM last 18 November 2023.

The Board of Deaf Australia now have a new membership structure as following:

 1.⁠ ⁠General membership - $50 per year

 2.⁠ ⁠Low incomes and students - $25.00 per year

 3.⁠ ⁠Under 18. - $5.00 per year

From 18 November onwards - any new members who join will now follow this structure.

However for our current members - the new structure will start on 1st July 2025. Deaf Australia will email you before July 1, 2025, to inform you of the annual membership fee change. That applies to our existing members on the old membership structure, while new members will follow the new one.

In a few days, it will be Christmas. The board of Deaf Australia wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please stay safe and enjoy the holiday festival. We look forward to business with you in 2024 and beyond.

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a purple and blue gradient background. Below this is a circle shape with a screenshot of Debra Swann from the video. Title reads "Announcement Regarding Deaf Australia Membership Structure Changes.  Published: 20th December 2023."

Video: Debra Swann is signing in front of a festive Christmas tree background. She is wearing a black shirt, a red cardigan, and clear-frame glasses. She is signing in a friendly and professional manner.

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”

Deaf Australia and affiliated organisations express profound disappointment in Disability Royal Commission recommendations


The final reports of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disabilities, handed down on September 29 2023, have left the Deaf community disappointed. Despite extensive submissions by Deaf Australia and numerous other deaf organisations and individuals detailing the lived experiences of the Deaf community, not one of the 222 recommendations explicitly addresses the unique challenges faced by Deaf, Deafblind, hard of hearing and Deaf+Disabled people.

While recognising our identity as a disability group, we primarily identify as a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community, embracing the proud language of Auslan, culture, values, arts, and shared heritage. The barriers we encounter in every aspect of our lives do not stem from our deafness but are imposed by societal expectations, even from within other disability cohorts, dictating how we should be, communicate, act, and live.

Our disappointment in the recommendations of the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) is an understatement; we are profoundly disillusioned with the disparity between the promised potential of the DRC and its actual delivery. The broad and sweeping recommendations run counter to our advocacy, particularly during public hearings including Public Hearing 29, where the experiences of violence against Deaf and Deafblind people were discussed. We question the absence of focus on critical issues such as early intervention, language deprivation, Auslan as a human right, and the utmost necessity of a bilingual and bicultural model for deaf babies and children.

Of particular concern is the recommendation for the closure of special schools, a direct contradiction to the Deaf community's consistent call for more bilingual and bicultural schools. Institutions like Toowong State School in Queensland, where both deaf and hearing children learn in two languages—Auslan and English—are emblematic of the inclusive educational environments we champion. The closure of Deaf schools across Australia, despite our community’s pleas, has resulted in deaf children struggling in mainstream settings without adequate support and the presence of other deaf peers. What hearing people see as inclusion of deaf children is integration: a physical placement with an Auslan interpreter IF they are lucky with no other deaf peers, deaf mentors and deaf teachers of the deaf fluent in Auslan. This has failed spectacularly for deaf children. The International Disability Alliance’s Inclusive Education Report (2020) has explicitly stated: -

“...sign language access for learners who are deaf... [is] essential for meeting the right to education; this access cannot always be provided in local settings...”

While acknowledging the DRC's recommendation on Auslan interpreting, it is crucial to recognise that it only addresses service provision and fails to dismantle social barriers hindering our community's full engagement with society. Utilising Auslan interpreters does not mean that there is a true and inclusive society at play where any Deaf person can interact with any person they meet, but instead asks that the Deaf person waits until a qualified non-Deaf person is available to act as an intermediary. This recommendation is more about providing jobs to hearing people than about empowering our community members to become full citizens in their own communities.

Further, this recommendation holds little meaning without the right and ability to use Auslan. Ignoring crucial statistics, such as the high percentage of deaf babies born into non-signing families (97%) and the resulting language deprivation (50-70%), demonstrates a careless disregard for the unique challenges faced by the Deaf community.

The stories that emerged from the DRC are not new to us, as the national peak advocacy body for all Deaf, Deafblind, hard of hearing, and Deaf+Disabled people who use Auslan, and as Deaf individuals ourselves. We acknowledge the bravery of those who shared their traumatic experiences during the proceedings. However, it is disappointing that none of the recommendations recognise these stories, from language deprivation and educational inadequacies to systemic denial of access and shocking experiences across all stages of life and did not translate these into genuine recommendations that would lead to real change.

We urgently call upon the Australian Government and state and territory governments to rethink a one-size-fits-all approach to disability, and to consider the vital need for bilingual and bicultural approaches in early intervention and educational settings for all children born or becoming deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, and deaf+disabled. We expect their responses to reflect this consideration by March 31.

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and brown gradient background. Below this is a circle shape with Royal Commission logo on purple background. Title reads "Deaf Australia and affiliated organisations express profound disappointment in Disability Royal Commission recommendations. Published: 18th December 2023."

Video: Shirley is sitting in a black desk chair against a white wall. She is wearing a black t-shirt and signing in a professional and plain 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”

Download the Media Release

To download the Media Release in Word document and PDF formats, please fill out the form below:

Seeking deaf community input about Justice System


We are currently seeking to learn from the deaf community their various experiences with the justice system, including police, court and jail. We are gathering evidence to support deaf specific advocacy for people facing these scenarios. All of your information will be kept strictly confidential. If you are willing, please get in touch with us at [email protected] with the subject line "Justice System Experiences" and we will set up a time to discuss further. Thank you.


Hello, I’m Catherine and I work at Deaf Australia as a policy writer. We know from the community’s feedback and the DRC reports that deaf people have experiences with the police, courts and jail. We know that deaf people have different and varying experiences with all three; we want to ask the deaf community YOUR experiences with any and all three. Were they good or bad? Did you have interpreters alongside with you? How did you communicate with them? What was positive and what was negative about your experiences with any or all three? We don’t want to know the whys of your experiences with them as it’s none of our business. And of course, whatever you say to us will be kept strictly private. We want you to please contact us and let us know your experiences because we want to focus on how to improve how to have better experiences with all three (police, courts and jail). Hope you can get in touch with us. Bye.

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Title reads "Seeking Deaf community input: Your experiences with the Justice System. Published: 8th December 2023." Bottom has photographs of a gavel, prison cells, and Australian police force in circle shapes.

Video: White woman with shoulder length dark hair wearing a blue jumper sitting with a creamy background, signing in Auslan about a request to get in touch with Deaf Australia relating to experiences with the police, courts and jail.

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] https://buff.ly/40UXM8b, [Instagram and X icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

2023 AGM Recap


D: Hi Julie, how are you?

J: Hi Debra, how are you? Tell me what happened at the AGM yesterday? I heard about some changes.

D: Yes, our 37th AGM for Deaf Australia was really successful. A big thank you to all our members who voted for the passing of the motion for two major changes: 1. Change from INC to Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) and 2. A new constitution with amendments added.

J: Can you tell me more about the change from INC to CLG?

D: Sure, the reason for the change to a company is to make advocacy smoother for Deaf Australia and to make it easier to work with for all of Australia as a CLG.

J: Great! It's a really exciting time for the changes for Deaf Australia and our future.

D: Definitely. I also want to let the community members know that we will update them as we progress with the changes over time from INC to CLG, and with the constitution. We will share the amendments with everyone.

J: It's exciting to see new things happening for the entire Deaf community in Australia.

D: True, it's very exciting for the future of Deaf Australia – really exciting times.

J: Thank you for telling me the updates. See you later. Bye.

Visual description

Debra Swann and Julie Lyons are outside chatting about the events at the recent DA 2023 AGM. Debra is wearing a black shirt and brown jacket. Julie is wearing a red shirt and black cardigan. They both have glasses. They are signing in an animated fashion towards each other. The background is full of Australian native plants in a range of silvery-greens.

2023 Awards Winners Announced!


[JULIE LYONS] Hello hello! How are you?
[KARTHIK VIJAYANANDAM] Hello, I’m good! Yourself?
[JL] Good, thank you. Hey, have you heard about the AGM?
[KV] Yup, I did.
[JL] Can you tell me more about the awards that were announced?
[KV] Yeah, no problem! There were 3 awards presented, I will explain the first 2. The first one is the Deaf Australian of the Year award. The second one is the Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year award.
[JL] Well who are they?
[KV] I will explain now. The Deaf Australian of the Year award goes to Jas Shirrefs (they/them)!
[JL] Can you tell me more about what they are involved in?
[KV] Jas is an impressive advocate for Deaf people. And not only for Deaf people! Also for the Deaf blind community, LGBTQ+ community, and the list goes on.
[JL] Wow all three!
[KV] And not only in Victoria, Australia-wide also. Through their social media they spread information and awareness about a variety of topics. They focus on intersectionality, the Deaf community, and awareness of global news using Auslan. Wow!
[JL] I have heard they are very inclusive, they want to involve everyone including Deaf blind people. Often Deaf blind people are forgotten about and we have to make sure they are included. It’s fantastic.
[KV] Yeah, that’s right. A perfect example, recently they were a part of deaf arts residency (DARE) in July. Jas was a part of that. They made sure the group thought of how to be inclusive of Deaf blind people. They made sure we organised a communication guide tour. It meant that Deaf blind people were able to access the event. A few other people were like “Ah, I’ve never thought of that!” So that is how Jas was a strong advocate for Deaf blind people. That’s really fantastic.
[JL] Incredible!
[Both] Congratulations Jas!
[JL] How about the other prize, Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year?
[KV] The winner of the Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year award goes to William Maggs (he/they)!
[JL] Fantastic. They’re a brilliant young man.
[KV] So how do we decide who wins this award? Actually, this decision comes from the Darwin family. Do you know Ann Darwin?
[JL] Yes that’s right, I know the Darwin family. I have seen her work, it’s really special.
[KV] Right! So Ann has been involved in Deaf Australia for 20 years. So, DA and Darwin family have agreed that William Maggs shall be the winner this year.
[JL] Will, well done! I think it’s fantastic to see more Deaf people getting involved in volunteer work and being a role model. Finally getting recognition for their work.
[KV] And on top that, he’s really young! Only 21 years old. They’ve made time to volunteer in numerous projects while still studying at university.
[JL] I’ve seen their art work. But they always explain about other peoples’ work, too. If it was me, I wouldn‘t think to share everyone’s work. I think it’s fantastic to see young people like this.
[KV] I agree, absolutely.
[JL] Wow, congratulations again Will! Now, I am interested to know the process for how Deaf people in the community can nominate someone for next year. Can you explain the nomination process to me?
[KV] Of course! Thank you, that’s a great question. This year we received a lot of nominations. So the board split up to tackle the work for both of the awards categories. We decide based on the information we receive. Some people who were nominated, we receive a few paragraphs about them. If they have examples of their impact on a local level, a national level and possibly even international level of impact. This means that the board takes into consideration how widespread their work impacts around Australia. Our recommendation is if you have a nominee you want to submit, try to explain to us in detail about them as much as possible. This way we, the board, can recognise if their influence is on a local, national or international level. And then we’ll pick the right person!
[JL] One more question, can the community submit their nominees information in Auslan or written English?
[KV] We accept both, you can do both.
[JL] Great! Well, I think we’ve used up all our time! We’ll leave the community to think about their nominees for next year 2024. They can brainstorm their picks and prepare their submissions to send to us. We will do more promoting and announce a bit more when we are ready to receive your nominations next year. Thanks for explaining it all to me, and I’ll see you later!
[KV] You’re welcome.
[Both] Bye!

Visual description

Opening slide: Graphic image features white text on a blue and green gradient background. At the top there is a white Deaf Australia logo. In the middle there is a winner award icon with "Awards 2023" written in it. Text reads "Winners Announced! Deaf Australian & Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year. Message from Deaf Australia Board."

Video features Deaf Australia board members Karthik Vijayanandam and Julie Lyons discussing recent winners for the 2023 Deaf Australian of the Year Award and the 2023 Deaf Community Volunteer of the Year Award. They are chatting over Zoom in different environments. Karthik is sitting in an office chair with a white background behind him. Julie sitting outside with a bamboo grass wall behind her. They both looks happy to be discussing this topic.

Closing slide: Graphic features white Deaf Australia logo on a green and blue gradient background. Text reads “Deaf Australia is a Deaf-leg 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] https://buff.ly/40UXM8b, [Instagram and Twitter icons] @deafaustralia, [Facebook icon] DeafAustraliaInc”

Congratulations to all of our 2023 Awards winners!

Deaf Australian
of the Year

Jas Shirrefs

Deaf Youth Australian
of the Year

Shanleigh Meldrum

Deaf Community
Volunteer of the Year

William Maggs

Read more about their achievements below:
Deaf Australian
of the Year

Jas Shirrefs

Jas has been nominated Jas for their efforts in creating a more socially conscientious, empowered and considerate Australian Deaf community. Jas is a dedicated human rights activist with an intersectional lens, with the Deaf community at the heart of their work.

Over the past few years, they have mobilised the use of social media and their art practice to advocate and raise awareness about various social issues with a focus on providing access to information in Auslan as well as empowering the Australian Deaf and hard of hearing community.

They also have a strong passion for calling out biases and negative attitudes towards the deafblind community. Jas always considers the access and experience of deafblind people through the development and exhibition of their artwork, resulting in an art practice that is inherently inclusive with a focus on tactile artwork.

For example, during the decision-making process for the Deaf DARE residency project. Jas played an instrumental role in ensuring that the space was inclusive for Deaf-blind people including being involved in organising tactile tours specifically for Deaf-blind people across Australia.

Deaf Youth Australian
of the Year

Shanleigh Meldrum

Shanleigh’s outstanding contributions are being acknowledged today, as she has been nominated by a community member for her remarkable efforts at Bendigo Deaf Hub and her dedication to volunteering with the State Emergency Service (SES). Notably, she has played a pivotal role in establishing youth spaces across regional Victoria specifically designed for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) youth.

Recognising her commitment, the Victorian Government has honored Shanleigh for her volunteer work, a testament to her impactful contributions. In a noteworthy achievement, she was included in the Victorian Women Honour Roll for the year 2023.

Shanleigh has actively participated in emergency management forums, leveraging her involvement to raise awareness about the critical importance of disability inclusion and accessibility during emergencies. Her advocacy efforts have yielded tangible results, contributing to long-term benefits for Deaf, HoH, and Deafblind youth in regional and rural Victoria. Through her tireless work, she has heightened awareness of their unique needs, both in terms of mental and physical health.

In summary, Shanleigh’s dedication to fostering inclusivity and accessibility, particularly for the Deaf, HoH, and Deafblind youth in regional Victoria, has left an indelible mark. Her passion for emergency management and advocacy has not only garnered recognition from the community but has also translated into meaningful improvements in the lives of those she serves.

Deaf Community
Volunteer of the Year

William Maggs

William is a long-time member, multigenerational from Deaf family and he has volunteer his time not only in the South Australia Deaf Community but also within Australia Community. So as a young achiever, we believe he should recognise for their contribution especially over the last 12 months:

1. He has volunteer and a member of Deaf Rainbow NSW during the World Pride helping to organise events suitable for members of the Deaf Community. This involved organised gathering, set up of float, attending meetings, and designing marketing and logo branding all in his own time and cost.

2. He also Volunteer to be a Camp Presenter/Leader at the Crossing Boarder Camp in Brisbane in 2023. One week of extensive workshops, presenting to young emerging leaders, looking after young people, supervising, and doing photography for the camp.

3. Volunteered as a Youth participate attending Canberra to take part of the National Week of Deaf People at the Youth Parliamentary breakfast.

4. Been involved with the Deaf Gain Project and Panels as basically a volunteer work. This became a passion job for William to organise, set up and volunteer his own time for marketing and everything for this amazing project. This involves working with other members in other states and engaging them in the project.

5. Volunteer for the Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE) Gallery Events as event organiser setting up, bumping in and out to ensure the events run smoothly.

6. Worked with Adelaide TAFE SA for special events stall works. As a young achiever doing so much volunteering work all while he is also study at university, we believe is amazing to see that not only he volunteer at a local level in his community but also in the wider Australia Deaf Community.

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