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Deaf Australia Activities for November and December 2013

Deaf Australia Activities for November and December 2013

Christmas is almost upon us. It has been an amazing year and next year will bring many changes.

Thank you very much to all our members, supporters and friends for their support throughout 2013, it’s been great to work with you. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and we look forward to working with you again in 2014.

Office Closure

The office, including The Auslan Shop, will be closed from 4pm on Friday 20 December. It will reopen on Monday 6 January 2014.
[accordion_set] [accordion title=”Key Priority 1: Early intervention and education” active=”yes”] Early Intervention Working Group (Qld)
I attended a meeting of the working group on 3 December. The group discussed a draft early intervention protocols document, i.e. what elements must a good early intervention program have.
As part of the DES Consumer Engagement Project, Rachel Byrnes attended a meeting in Canberra on 14 November. The meeting was with government and attended by representatives of organisations which are funded to do a DES Consumer Engagement Project.
Rachel is continuing to organise workshops for Deaf people around the country up to the end of June 2014. She held a workshop for the community in Canberra in November and several workshops in Tasmania in December.
These workshops provide some information about DES but are mainly to gather information from deaf people about their experiences of DES and what works and doesn’t work for them. This information will be sent to the government to help them improve the DES. Please keep an eye out for flyers and announcements on our Blog and Facebook page for workshops in your area. [/accordion] [accordion title=”Key Priority 2: Access to communications” active=”no”] Kyle Miers represented Deaf Australia at the launch of the Telstra Disability Action Plan on 3 December.
We received a letter from Optus advising they are closing their Consumer Liaison Forum but will continue to work with us in other ways. [/accordion] [accordion title=”Key Priority 3: Access to information and media” active=”no”] Access to public information and events
Early in December there was extensive media attention on a ‘fake’ sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, which was televised worldwide. While it was unfortunate that this interpreting debacle happened, it did give us an unprecedented opportunity to raise awareness of the need for Auslan interpreting of public information and events by qualified interpreters. We released a media statement, our President Todd Wright was interviewed on SBS radio, and I wrote a commentary for SBS World News Online.
Read the article here [/accordion] [accordion title=”Key Priority 4: Organisational stability and growth” active=”no”] Partnerships
State Branches:
The annual meeting of Deaf Australia board members and representatives of the state branches was held in Brisbane on Saturday 16 November. At this meeting, WFD President Colin Allen conducted a workshop about using the UNCRPD to advocate for our human rights and Todd Wright conducted a workshop on strategic planning.
ACCAN – EAGER Research project on developing standards for Auslan translations
The project committee continued to meet monthly on Skype. I attended meetings on 20 November and 17 December.
AFDO recommended model for ‘Future Relationships’
Kyle Miers continued to represent Deaf Australia at regular fortnightly meetings of the working group developing a preferred relationships model for the disability representation sector. Kyle continued to liaise closely with me in preparation for each working group meeting. A document setting out the suggested model was sent to the board and state branches in November, asking for feedback. The response time was unfortunately very short because of the time line being imposed on us by government, and the document was very complex so it was difficult for everyone to respond. The working group is now working on the final document setting out the preferred model, which they are required to send to the Department of Social Services (previously FaHCSIA) by Christmas.
AFDO (Australian Federation of Disability Organisations)
Ann Darwin and I attended two days of AFDO members meetings on 25 and 26 November in Canberra. The meetings discussed the proposed model for the disability representation sector and the strategic priorities for the sector over the coming year. Ann Darwin was Deaf Australia’s voting representative at AFDO’s Annual General Meeting on 25 November.
Ann Darwin and I attended the National Disability Awards dinner at Parliament House on 26 November. We were thrilled to see Drisana Levitzke-Gray as one of the finalists for the Emerging Leaders Award, and we were also thrilled to congratulate Hear for You on their Award in the Excellence in Improving Personal and Community Support category.
Capacity building
New Website
Work is continuing on developing a new website. We expect it to go live early in 2014.
A fabulous 4Senses event was held on Friday night 15 November at the State Library of Queensland. This was the third 4Senses event. We were very pleased that many young Deaf people attended this time. Our thanks to the bands, VJs, and other volunteers, the interpreters, and everyone who worked so hard to organise this event and make sure it was such a fantastic event. Special thanks to Tony Browne and Tina Walsh of the 4Senses team and Annie Te Whiu from the State Library of Queensland.
Annual General Meeting
Deaf Australia’s 27th Annual General Meeting was held on 16 November at the Deaf Community Centre in Moorooka, Brisbane. At this meeting it was announced that we have a new President, Todd Wright (NSW). Our previous President, Ann Darwin, did not seek re-election to the position; instead she was elected to a position as Board Director. John Wade was re-elected Treasurer and Ida Rogers was re-elected as a Board Director. We said farewell to Daniel Shanahan, who did not seek re-election as a Board Director. Members of the board now are:
President: Todd Wright (NSW)
Secretary: Danni Wright (NSW)
Treasurer: John Wade (NSW)
Board Directors: Ann Darwin (VIC), Ida Rogers (NSW), Rachel Miers (VIC).
With Todd Wright’s election to President, his previous position on the board has become vacant for one year and the board is seeking expressions of interest from ordinary (Deaf) members – Deaf Australia is a DPO (Disabled Person’s Organisation); only Deaf people who use Auslan can vote and be elected to the board. Our Constitution states that apart from the Executive (President, Secretary and Treasurer), no more than two board members can be elected from any one state, so we cannot accept expressions of interest from Victorian members.
Staff changes
At the AGM on 16 November it was announced that I have decided to retire at the end of February 2014 after 13 years as Executive Officer, and before that about 10 years as a volunteer in various roles. I was very honoured to then be awarded with Life Membership of Deaf Australia. In accepting my award, I advised that Gaye Lyons, our Office Administrator of seven years, has also decided to retire at the end of February 2014. It is expected that the Executive Officer position will be advertised shortly. The Office Administrator position will be advertised later, after the EO position is filled.
Late in November, Rebecca Driscoll, our Education Programs Administrator tendered her resignation. Bec has been working in two part time jobs for some time now, and her other job, as Co-ordinator of the Queensland Hear for You program has been expanded, so after five years at Deaf Australia, she is leaving us to work four days per week at Hear for You. We thank her for all her contributions to the smooth operation of our education programs over the years and wish her all the very best at Hear for You. Bec’s last day with us will be on 19 December 2013. From January 2014, Rachel Byrnes’ hours will be increased to full time and Bec Payne will be working two days per week on education programs administration. [/accordion] [/accordion_set] [content_box style=”green-2″ title=”Summary of board and staff changes”] New Board members as of AGM 16 November 2013
President: Todd Wright (NSW)
Secretary: Danni Wright (NSW)
Treasurer: John Wade (NSW)
Board Directors: Ann Darwin (VIC), Ida Rogers (NSW), Rachel Miers (VIC).
Karen Lloyd and Gaye Lyons will be retiring at the end of February 2014. Karen’s position will be advertised soon and Gaye’s will be advertised once Karen’s position is filled. We’ll miss you Karen and Gaye – hope retirement is happy and restful for you both!
Bec Driscoll finished at Deaf Australia on 19 December 2013 for a full time job at Hear for You. All the best Bec! From January 2014, Rachel Byrnes will be full time and Bec Payne will be working two days per week on education programs administration. [/content_box]

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