Deaf Australia Chief Executive Kyle Miers Moves On
Kyle Miers, Chief Executive of Deaf Australia, has submitted his resignation to the Board of Deaf Australia. Kyle is leaving Deaf Australia to lead a new service. His last day at Deaf Australia is Friday 9 April 2021.
Kyle was appointed as Chief Executive of Deaf Australia in 2014. He previously served on Deaf Australia’s Board between 2002 and 2011, including as President between 2005 and 2010.
“The opportunity to serve and lead Deaf Australia during a dynamic time at the organisation has been a highlight of my career,’ said Mr Miers. “Because Deaf Australia is a true consumer organisation where deaf people represent deaf people, we have been able to effectively gain prominence and recognition of deaf people’s issues and our organisation to Australian governments, members of the deaf community and service providers.”
During his tenure with Deaf Australia, Kyle has advocated for and achieved the following:
- Inclusion of ‘Auslan’ as a language prompt in the Census 2021. This prompt will encourage Auslan users to write Auslan as a language used at home and will provide us and the Australian government with accurate information on the population of Auslan users in Australia.
- Communicated with Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments on the importance of accessible television announcements for emergency and disaster broadcasts, which resulted in ongoing provision of interpreters on television during these announcements.
- Provided advice to Department of Social Services to effectively communicate with deaf people in the transitioning of the National Auslan Booking and Payment Services (NABS) into the NDIS.
- Worked with Western Australian and Victorian Governments to amend their Jury Acts to allow deaf people to serve as jurors, as a result of a successful campaign in the Australian Capital Territory.
- Worked with South Australian and New South Wales Governments in their reviews of education for deaf and hard of hearing children with a view to improved quality in education.
- Successfully lodged a proposal that the World Federation of the Deaf adopt our Sign Symbol as the International Symbol for Sign Language.
- Prepared an extensive ‘Community of Practice’ Report for the NDIS that covers all areas of supports and needs for deaf and hard of hearing people.
- Worked to ensure federal and state/territory elections would be accessible with the provision of interpreters at pre-polling booths.
Kyle has provided strong leadership for the organisation and created common ground for collaboration between government agencies and the community, particularly during the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the COVID -19 pandemic.
“We have taken our responsibility for deaf people’s rights to have to access to information and accessible communication seriously, and much of our time has been focussed on how we can address and improve services to meet these needs,” Mr Miers said.
At the beginning of his tenure, Kyle was faced with a significant financial challenge when the Australian Government slashed recurrent funding for national information and advocacy services. This saw a reduction in staff and a threat to Deaf Australia’s sustainability.
With the support of the Board, Kyle has been able to diversify sources of funding and has implemented new organisational strategies. This saw Deaf Australia’s funding grow from a bare $27,500 per annum to $900,000 per annum for the next couple years.
“On behalf of the Deaf Australia Board, I have had the pleasure of working with Kyle during his tenure with Deaf Australia. He has been a champion advocate and an effective leader for the deaf community,” said Ms Debra Swann, Chairperson of Deaf Australia. “Kyle will leave a big hole in Deaf Australia; however, I believe that his legacy will carry on for years.”
Kyle migrated from the United States in 1995, having grown up in residential schools for the deaf where he was educated by teachers who all used American Sign Language (ASL). He brought his experience and passion for deaf rights to the Australian Deaf Community.
He was a founding member of Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO), Australian Communication Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) and the World Federation of the Deaf – Oceania.
He also served on a number of national disability advisory groups: Australian Electoral Commission, Early Intervention and Childhood Development, Disability Employment, NDIS’s CEO Forum, Department of Social Services’ Disability Gateway, Australian Communication Consumers Action Network and others. On all of these, his purpose was to improve quality, support and services for deaf and hard of hearing people.
On behalf of Deaf Australia Board, we wish Kyle all the best in his future endeavours and we thank him for all his hard work for the Australian Deaf Community.
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