AND Conference 2014

AND Members Leading the Way in 2014

Leading the Way 2014 was held in Sydney on 21 May at the Aerial UTS Function Centre. We had a full house and a packed program, and not even the students protesting outside the university could put a dampener on the day. Our MC Julie McCrossin kept the day running to schedule with her lively banter and strategic use of lucky door prizes, and we were warmly welcomed by Uncle Allen Madden.

Attendees and members can download the full transcripts of the day along with speakers’ presentations from our website at All attendees have been sent an email with the login details for this page. Members are able to login using their AND Membership login details. If you’re unsure of your login details please contact your Relationship Manager or email

Sincere thanks to all of our sponsors who helped to make the event such a success. Gold sponsors ANZ and WorkFocus (JobAccess and NDRC), captioning sponsors Ai-Media, and exhibition sponsors Hearing Loop Australia, National Relay Service and Connexu Foundation.

Keynote Presentation

Senator Mitch Fifield, AND Chairman John Bennett, AND CEO Suzanne ColbertOur keynote speaker was Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, who, amongst other things, is the person responsible for disability in the Senate. It was Senator Fifield who was the ‘hero’ of the Budget by managing to quarantine the NDIS when most other disability funding was cut or redistributed. Senator Fifield spoke passionately about the importance of employment for all people, including people with disability, and said “jobs are the best ‘poverty busters’ ever”. He pledged to work closely with AND and our members to develop effective strategies to get more people with disability into meaningful and sustainable employment.

Engaging Your Organisation

Next we heard from speakers from ANZ, Australia Post and Coles Online, who are all doing great things in relation to engaging with their customers and employees with disability.

Sue Jeffery spoke about ANZ’s GoMoney App, which was designed with ANZ presentationaccessibility in mind at every step, and has made mobile banking much easier for a great many customers, not only those with disability.

Diane Utatao told the story of how Australia Post partnered with Genevieve Clay-Smith from Bus Stop Films to deliver the ‘Real Stories Project’, designed to raise awareness of the many people with disability employed by Australia Post.

Mark Cripsey spoke about how Coles Online is focusing on ensuring that their website not only meets WCAG 2.0 guidelines but is also useable and intuitive for its customers.

Lawrence Chan, WestpacLawrence Chan from Westpac spoke about building accessibility, and how buildings can be designed to have intuitive access, giving examples from Westpac’s new building design at Barangaroo. 




Grazia Pecoraro and Majella Knobel then shared with us how Westpac is progressively rolling out disability confidence training to their workforce Majella Knobel & Grazia Pecoraro, Westpacacross the country, with the goal of delivering the training package to a minimum of 3% of their workforce by the end of September. A question from the floor was about Westpac’s use of the term ‘Accessibility Action Plan’, rather than ‘Disability Action Plan’ – Majella explained that they prefer to look at the positives, in that they are trying to make the organisation accessible to everyone, and don’t just focus on disability.

Access All Areas

Therese Campbell, Executive Director of The WorkFocus Group, gave us an overview of some of the modifications funded by JobAccess and the Employment Assistance Fund, that open up work opportunities for people with disability. We also got a sneak peak of two new videos featuring people with disability who are now getting the chance to build fulfilling and rewarding careers thanks to modifications funded through JobAccess.

Developing Pipeline Talent

Diane Utatao then returned to the stage to talk about how Australia Post partnered with Lifestyle Solutions, a community service organisation based in Newcastle, to address recruitment issues for Australia Post in Ros Reidy, IBMregional and remote areas, and to implement work placements, work experiences and paid roles for people with disability.

Ros Reidy, Diversity Manager at IBM, spoke about how IBM uses mentoring programs to develop a pipeline of talented people with disability, and how they are about to implement a new internship program for university students with disability based on AND’s successful Stepping into… program.

Employment Initiatives

Three AND members spoke about some of their successful initiatives that are improving employment outcomes for people with disability within their organisations. Fiona Santolin told us how Woolworths’ partnership with the NDRC has seen almost 1000 DES candidates placed since March 2010. Woolworths has also worked to remove barriers in their recruitment processes, and now base all job descriptions around the inherent requirement of each role, and raise awareness of the possibility of flexible working arrangements.

Matt Dowie shared an innovative program being implemented by Suncorp, the Work@Home Hub. Employees who may otherwise be excluded from employment, such as those with disability or carer commitments, are able to work from home, with the option of attending their local ‘hub’ for meetings or to simply connect with colleagues.

Alison Fitzgerald spoke about the Department of Human Services’ commitment to inclusion of people with disability, through initiatives such as having a dedicated Accessibility Support Unit, to help employees with assistive technology, and their National Disability Access Coordinator, who provides advice and support for people with temporary or permanent disability in relation to adjustments, recruitment, career development and retention. DHS has a comparatively high number of employees with disability, at almost 5% of the workforce, compared with the average across the Australian Public Service of 2.9%.

A New Employment Model for Australia

Jessica Zammit from the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations Jessica Zammit, AFDOgave a powerful and moving presentation on the failings of the current employment model, and the impact it can have on people with disability who are shut out from employment and many other aspects of life. Jessica spoke about the importance of placing employers and jobseekers with disability at the heart of a new employment model, and not relying on the NDIS to be a ‘cure all’ for all people with disability. This proposed new model would support and incentivise employers to become ‘proactive employers of people with disability’. It would also empower people with disability to take an active role in their own employability.

What Can We Learn From Others?

Fiona Anderson, Every Australian Counts, and Graeme Cowan, RUOK?Our day ended with a panel discussion with Graeme Cowan, the creator of the enormously successful RUOK? At Work campaign, and Fiona Anderson, the campaign coordinator for the Every Australian Counts campaign behind the NDIS. Both speakers gave us great insight into what it takes to get a successful campaign off the ground – having a good idea with a clear message, and knowing who your audience is. Both Graeme and Fiona were inspiring speakers and rounded off the conference with positivity and a sense of empowerment.

To download full transcripts of the event, along with speakers’ presentations, please visit the Members Area. You will need the login that has been emailed to all conference attendees, or your AND Membership login.

Thanks again to all of our sponsors, presenters, delegates and exhibitors for making the day such a success. If you'd like any more information about any of the speakers' programs and initiatives, or to be put in touch with a presenter, please email