Canberra’s December Roundtable Roundup

Fri 15 December 2017

Our final Roundtable of the year in Canberra was held on Friday 8 December, kindly hosted by The Department of Defence, at their Russell Offices. The Roundtable ran consecutively with a Canberra Champions meeting and was followed by a networking lunch.

Catherine Winter from the Australian Network on Disability (AND) welcomed guests and advised of a photographic exhibition ‘Our stories, Our People’ on display in the foyer of Building 1, to celebrate International Day of People with Disability.

three people view photos and captions displayed on black presentation boards

Photo: AND’s Suzanne Colbert AM, Catherine Winter and Emily Sparling visit the Our Stories, Our People photographic exhibition.


Michael Howell, Department of Defence provided the official welcome to the Roundtable and talked about their multiple programs to help support people with disability in the workplace. Among notable achievements was Defence recently winning the Australian Human Resource Institute Graeme Innes AM Disability Employment Award. Michael said that he is very proud of his diversity team and that Defence is a leading employer for people with disability.

Defence also presented a keynote presentation in the form of a panel discussion. Deb Braddock from the Culture and People Development Branch opened by sharing her personal story about her career in Defence. She talked about how simple workplace adjustments in the form of a sit stand desk, regular breaks and flexible work practices to enable her to access appointments, has supported her to continue to contribute to the best of her ability.

“We need to work together to reduce the stigma of disability – it’s more about ability than disability,” said Deb.

profile photo of Deb Braddock with service dog Oscar

Photo: Deb Braddock with service Dog Oscar


Deb was joined by Barb Phelan, Director of Diversity, Defence. Barb talked about ensuring the right processes are in place to recognise people for the contributions they can make. “We employ people with disability because we want their contributions,” she said.

The last panel member, Justin Le Couteur, part of the Culture and Diversity team shared his personal story and talked about workplace adjustments being an ongoing process. He said its important for people to be able to do what they need to do to be able to work on an equal basis. Justin’s presentation was followed by questions from the floor.

After a short break, the Roundtable group came back together for an Open Forum on Innovative job design – what it means for people with disability, and what does it look like in your organisation?

If you missed the December Roundtable, you can access the slides on the member section of our website.

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