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National Disability Summit

29-30 October 2020 | Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne

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Early bird rate expires 14 August 2020


Due to the escalation and ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19 we have taken the decision to re-schedule the National Disability Summit to 29-30 October 2020 at the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne.

All registrations will be transferred to the new date. If you have any queries, please contact our Customer Service team on 02 9080 4307 or email:

The 11th Annual National Disability Summit will return this year on the 29-30 October 2020 in the Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne. We will continue the discussion and review the progress and initiatives in supporting people with disability and their families to maximise independence and participation by creating greater choice.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • The Royal Commission
  • What is Reasonable and Necessary
  • Support for people with disability in the wake of COVID-19
  • Support for the carers of people with disability in the wake of COVID-19
  • Mental Health
  • Building belonging in the community
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Groups
  • Best Practice Framework
  • NDIS self-management
  • Children with disability in the schooling system
  • NDIS appeals process
  • Decision making, personal safety and preventing harm
  • Risk, quality and compliance
  • Specialist disability accommodation and technology




8:50 am

OPENING | Remarks from the Chair

Nick Mann, Founder and Principal, Polaris Lawyers

9:00 am

KEYNOTE ADDRESS | Addressing the Life Expectancy Gap for People with Disability in Australia

9:40 am

  • Examining appeal decision within the AAT
  • Looking beyond the law and ensuring that clients are provided with the best plan possible
  • How advocacy plays a big part in this process
  • Challenging current plans
  • Proposing a time limit on a response from the NDIA and the internal review process

10:15 am

KEYNOTE ADDRESS | The Support for People with Disability and their Carers in the Wake of COVID-19

10:50 am

Networking Break

11:20 am

The Royal Commission, What Does this Mean for Service Providers?

Tom Ballantyne, Principal Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

11:45 am

The application process for the NDIS is often an incredibly drawn out process that often is a lot of back and forward with the agency due to non-conformity.  During my process, my mental health suffered immensely and even when I thought I would get a new plan, the NDI  A threw in another hurdle.  This session will bring together a multidisciplinary speaker faculty and will advise, recommend and suggest on how to prevent this happening again.

12:40 pm

  • Does ethical governance mean its ethical? How we can ensure it is ethical
  • Redefining parts of the NDIS to ensure belonging, recommendations, suggestions and advice
  • Ensuring innovative ways to make the most of the NDIS are at the forefront of the community to build belonging
  • Suggestions, advice and recommendations

1:15 pm

Lunch and Networking Break

2:15 pm

  • The Interim Report and what this will mean for providers and recommended framework
  • Working alongside the Commonwealth to provide a solution-focused approach

2:45 pm

  • Achieving and understanding the limits of ‘cultural competence’
  • How different cultures understand disability and embrace the NDIS and understanding the barriers that may be involved
  • Integrating cultural humility with a ‘nothing about us without us’ approach within the scope of disability work in CALD communities
  • Respecting dignity of risk, autonomy, and individuality within CALD groups
  • Suggestions, advice and recommendations for improving the access to care in CALD communities from a service provider perspective
  • The importance of involving the family unit in care planning to increase participation rates
  • The importance of culturally informed methods of determining who counts as ‘family’ and integrating cultural kinship ties into care planning

3:20 pm

  • Addressing the problem – people with disability often do not have the correct mix of carers, so when a carer does move on, this can be very difficult to the participants / clients in both understanding and their mental health
  • Both Kate and Pauline will draw upon success stories which provide the participant / client with the flexibility and support of a continuity of services
  • Digitalising support groups in a COVID-19 society

3:50 pm

Networking Break

4:20 pm

  • Presenting the evidence-based training materials for supporters of people with cognitive disabilities
  • Aiming to increase capacity to provide rights-based support by understanding the practice before the legislation
  • Furthering the rights of people with disability to make their own decisions through a free and online materials

4:50 pm

This address will draw on the lived experience of Pauline Luchetta, advocate and mother to Cassidy. In understanding her story, attendees will have the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of NDIS self-management, how this is intertwined with partial plan management and when successful the achievements it can bring.  Pauline will also acknowledge the challenges faced and how these can be avoided through practical tips and advice for participants self-managing.

5:20 pm

CLOSING | Closing Remarks from the Chair

5:25 pm

Networking Drinks

8:50 am

OPENING | Remarks from the Chairs

Joel Townsend, Programme Manager NDIS, Victoria Legal Aid

Olympia Sarrinikolaou, Lawyer, Economic and Social Rights, Victoria Legal Aid

9:00 am

  • Vulnerable members of the community and who is protecting them
  • Moving away from a state and territory space into a national scheme
  • Assisting others to ensure and informed and impartial decision
  • Looking beyond the past 5 years and what’s next?

9:40 am

Professor David Gilchrist will provide insights take from his recently published whitepaper into ensuring the sustainability of the NDIS, which will explore:

  • Looking beyond the NDIS and at the scope of disability as a whole system
  • How not-for-profits and charitable providers can assist within their capacity alongside consumer and advocacy
  • Advise, suggestions and recommendation on the way forward for the NDIS

10:15 am

Leonie, parent, carer and advocate will draw on the lived experiences of caring and self-managing her son. Leonie will share her knowledge on what it is like to live with disability and will provide practical tips on how she self manages the plans, adapting to COVID-19 as well as ensuring inclusivity and how to battle stigmas.

10:45 am

Networking Break

11:15 am

  • How are children with permanent disabilities covered by legislation?
  • The difference between a chronic illness and permanent disability for children and how this affects the their NDIS support and their school time
  • What if the disability isn’t permanent? How are the children covered then?
  • How we ensure that all children with non/permanent disabilities are supported to get the best education and if time is missed, this is given back

12:00 pm

Ensuring that people with disability have a seat at the table in planning for the natural disasters and pandemics that Australia faces. Australia and internationally, how people with disability are working to ensure that we are prepared for any sort of interruption to our day to day lives.

12:40 pm

Navigating the NDIS Appeals Process

Joel Townsend, Programme Manager NDIS, Victoria Legal Aid

1:10 pm

Lunch and Networking Break

2:10 pm

What to do when a provider takes on a new client and subsequently identifies that the person needs a higher level of support (i.e. 2-1) than there is funding for in the plan; what happens when the parent/family is not willing/able to obtain funding for higher level of support that is necessary to deliver services safely – what are a provider’s options? What are provider’s obliged to do?

2:40 pm

  • Resuming driving has been associated with positive social, economic and health outcomes
  • SROI analysis places values on outcomes that are not typically values in traditional economic evaluation (Return on investment ROI analysis is different from social return on investment analysis SROI)
  • Identify how many dollars of social value are created for every $1 invested
  • A co-investment model is adopted to account for people with disabilities’ investment in their own return to driving

3:10 pm

Join Civic as they facilitate a client led conversation about the journey (and challenges) faced when finding the right home

  • Specialist Concierge Service
  • Partner and working alongside existing frameworks
  • Pushing the boundaries and what other options that they can offer

3:40 pm

Networking Break

4:10 pm

  • Choice and control can’t exist unless it’s controlled choice and moving away from binary options
  • Support LACS to ensure they are involved in the work that they are originally set out to do with Community Centres rather than plans
  • Suggestions on how NDIS could improve their funding in this scope and safeguarding from preventing harm

4:40 pm

In the uncertain climate of COVID-19, policies and support systems have been put in place to support people with disability but how will this impact the future of the interface of the NDIS with health systems? Steven will provide an insight into how the NSW Ministry of Health are working alongside the NDIA to improve on the interface, strategies and initiatives in a physically distancing world, including the increased use of technology to improve access by PWD to services including health services.

5:10 pm

CLOSING | Closing Remarks from the Chairs


Packages Price
Package(Two Days)$1795$1495+GST Early Bird Rate Early Bird Rate

Early bird rate expires 14 August 2020

Concession rate available for people with disability, their family and carers. Please email for eligibility for discount rate.


Book 3 delegates and receive the 4th delegate pass at no cost. To take advantage of this offer, call us today on 02 9080 4307 or
email – Note: All delegates must be from the same company and register at the same time to qualify.


Nick Mann

Founder and Principal, Polaris Lawyers

Joshua Dale

Senior Associate, Carroll & O'Dea

Tom Ballantyne

Principal Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers

Thomas Banks

Managing Director, Centre for Access

Joel Townsend

Programme Manager NDIS, Victoria Legal Aid

Olympia Sarrinikolaou

Lawyer, Economic and Social Rights, Victoria Legal Aid

Rachael Thompson

Team Leader – Advocacy & NDIS Appeals, Rights Information & Advocacy Centre Inc.

Adrian Munro

CEO, Richmond Wellbeing

Kai Sinor

Senior Lawyer, Former Assistant Director for NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission, MPS Law

Jim Simpson

Senior Advocate, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability

Professor David Gilchrist

Research Fellow, UWA Business School

Professor Christine Bigby

Director, Living with Disability Research Centre, Chair, Academic Board, School of Allied Health, Human Services & Sport, La Trobe University

Pauline Luchetta

Carer and Parent, Managing Director, The Cassidy Crew

Leonie Lee

Participant and Carer for her son

Megan Gilmour

Cofounder & CEO, Missing School Incorporated

Roxanne Higgins

Director of Services, Noah's Ark

Avalon Nixon

Director & Occupational Therapist, Qualia Occupational Therapy for Children

Dr Claire Hutchinson

Research Fellow, Health and Social Care Economics Group, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Flinders University

Dr Angela Berndt

Programme Director: Occupational Therapy, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia

Kate Smith

Chief Operating Officer, CIVIC Disability Services

Sophie Dutertre

Senior Project Officer, Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health

Melissa Elston

Executive Director, ADEC

Steven Davison

Director, Social Policy Implementation, Government Relations Branch, NSW Ministry of Health

Jeff Smith

CEO, People with Disability Australia

Dr Gávi Ansara

Psychotherapist, Clinical Educator, & Clinical Director, Ansara Psychotherapy Clinic & Imanadari Counselling Melbourne

Kate Higgins

Regional Manager for the Barwon Region, Wellways Australia

Christian Astourian

DnD Program Manager, Diversity and Disability, Migrant Resource Centre North-West

Diana Palmer


Dr Ben Gauntlett

Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Dr. Dinesh Palipana OAM

LLB, MD, Lecturer, School of Medicine, Griffith University


“Attending the National Disability Summit was a great experience. There was a wide variety of speakers and the Informa staff were amazing and accommodating to meeting everybody’s needs.”
Louise Bugeja, Internode

“You need to be there, to learn more.”
Stephen Odusa, CatholiccareNT

“Always a great event for networking with decision makers and key people from disability organisations that are working on innovative projects.”
Danny Hui, Sameview

“Such an interesting 2 days with a great quality and range of speakers. Well organised and great flow of themes.”

when & where

29 - 30 Oct 2020

Crown Conference Centre
Crown Promenade, Crown Melbourne
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank VIC 3006
+61 (03) 9292 6222

Book accommodation with HotelMaps
To access the best available rate, book here.


Still have a question?

Kate Twentyman
Conference Producer

Danielle Newman
Senior Business Development Manager
+61 2 9080 4432

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