The Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee to the City of Greater Geelong plays a key role providing advice on universal access and inclusion for all.
The Advisory Committee meets every two months to advise on and support the Access and Inclusion Action Plan 2018-2022, a plan for equitable access to goods, services and facilities across the municipality.
The Advisory Committee members represent the interests of all people in the municipality who have a lived experience of disability and all who will benefit from universal design.
Committee members promote integration of disability access and inclusion as part of core business for the City, which includes addressing barriers to the accessibility of goods services and facilities, and commenting on policy and plans that impact on universal access.
The committee is guided by a Terms of Reference, with meetings chaired by a Councillor and run to a structured format.
The expertise and feedback provided to the City is a valuable resource in planning and improving the City's services and infrastructure.
Profiles for our current committee members are listed below.
Kayla is 23
years old and lives on the Bellarine Peninsula. When she was 3 years old she
suffered meningitis and facial cellulitis which caused fluid to the left side
of her brain. Kayla now has memory loss
and delayed learning and understanding.
completed her schooling at Bellarine Secondary School. She then started as a
team member in the Deli at Woolworths Curlewis and has climbed her way up to
be second in charge manager. Kayla has been with Woolworths for just over 3 years.
Kayla is a
part of the Bellarine Youth Action Crew (BYAC) which are a group of 12-25year
olds that organise events and activities for young people and the community. They
also attempt to decrease the social stigma of young people and encourage social
connections between adults.
helping people and in her spare time loves participating in Zumba each week.
Kayla is looking forward to being a part of this
advisory committee, being in a comfortable space where people will listen and
She loves learning how other people get through their lives and
looks forward to having a say and making a difference in our community.
Alex works as a corporate lawyer at the National
Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Growing up in regional Victoria, Alex found
it difficult to find opportunities to become involved in the disability
community. Instead, she focused on trying to fit into the mainstream world she
found herself in. Encountering numerous challenges and barriers, that accompany
the life of a wheelchair user, Alex quickly learned that communities were not
always set up for people with her needs. Alex is intent on changing this for
future children with disability.
Alex moved out of home at 18 years old to begin her
next chapter at the University of Melbourne. Living on campus at a residential
college, Alex befriended an exchange student who would change her life forever.
Emily had bright pink hair, tattoos and an attitude to match and, like Alex,
she navigated life on wheels. Emily and Alex formed a strong friendship and
Alex was taught how to own her disability and celebrate how it made her unique.
the completion of her arts degree, Alex challenged herself with a two-month
solo trip to Europe. Alex visited friends and family as she embarked on a bus
tour of 10 European countries. Alex now has a strong passion for travel and
loves watching the looks on the faces of airport staff as she wheels away from
them after landing with a giant ‘lap-pack’ and no one waiting to pick her up. The experience gave
Alex a new sense of independence and purpose. On the night of her return, up
late with jet lag, Alex checked her university e-mail account that had her next
adventure waiting – an offer to study law at the University of Melbourne,
beginning in two weeks.
Alex discovered her interest for human rights law
and disability studies while undertaking her law degree and this led her to
pursue a career at the NDIA. As a recent local to the Geelong community, Alex
hopes her involvement in the Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee will
improve the accessibility and inclusivity of the city and that her lived
experience will provide invaluable insight for future planning.
Ainslee was born in Geelong in
1977 with a disability and is a wheelchair user. During her 20 years in the
Australian Public Service delivering services to the community, Ainslee
undertook a Bachelor of Arts and went on to do her Honours in Anthropology. She
now has her own consulting business focused around holistic accessibility,
ensuring people with disabilities have the same opportunities and experiences as
any other consumer. When Ainslee isn't working she enjoys competing in
Ainslee has also been involved
with the Committee for Geelong as one of the members of LEAD Barwon – an
initiative that sought to raise awareness around leadership,
education and advocating for people with disabilities so people could see
how the NDIS is an important part of the lives of people with disability.
Ainslee brings with her a passion to ensure that every
person with a disability is able to enjoy and participate in their community
and is looking forward to working with the Access and Inclusion Advisory
Committee and City of Greater Geelong to address issues that impact the lives
of people with a disability.
Robert is an architect, he ran his design/construction management practice for many years. About 20 years ago he sustained an acquired brain injury from a motor car accident.
Since then he has been a lecturer in architecture & construction management at Deakin University.
Robert has been a director or advisory board member of a not for profit company as well as working with various local and state government bodies.
Currently Robert is a member of the V/Line Accessibility Advisory Committee and also advocates for the rights and needs of disabled people through a range of community involvements.
He lives on the Bellarine Peninsula.
Oliver is a proud and happily married resident of the Bellarine Peninsula who brings with him many years of involvement with disability support groups.
As someone with a condition of dwarfism, he is especially passionate about the Short Statured People of Australia (SSPA) association in which he has served as President as well as on their National Council Committee since emigrating over from Scotland in 1995.
From the SSPA, Oliver has connected with the Genetics Support Network of Victoria through the Royal Children’s Hospital and Disability Sports Victoria to help raise awareness of the disability.
The latter even helped bring about his proudest moment for SSPA - the fielding of a short-statured basketball team in a regular Saturday competition at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre. This presence received tremendous support from their young opponents, their families as well as the wider basketball community.
Since moving into the Barwon Region in 2013, Oliver has been an enthusiastic member of VALIDs Local Organising Committee for the Having A Say Conference, a Loaned Executive for the Give Where You Live Program as well as a member of COGGs Disability Advisory Group.
He is grateful for and excited about being given the opportunity to be an active contributor to the new Disability Access and Inclusion Reference Group.
Dr Simon Morris
Simon is a clinical psychologist who works with
people experiencing long-term mental and chronic health issues. He was born
with spina bifida which has progressed throughout his lifetime. He has
transitioned to becoming a wheelchair user as an adult in recent years.
Simon has worked in the public and private mental
health sectors in Geelong and now works in a private practice setting. He
consults to St John of God Hospital treating their inpatients experiencing
psychological distress and works as part of a team preparing people for weight loss
He is passionate about the emotional and identity
issues relating to having a disability and the difficulties of living in an
able-centric culture. He is both a NDIS participant and a NDIS provider,
directly experiencing the challenges and benefits of this program.
He lives in Geelong with his husband, and enjoys
photography, travel and life-long learning.
Kirraly is a mother to one daughter, step mother to two sons and grandmother to two wonderful grandsons.
Kirraly worked in the not-for-profit welfare sector for many years, working in the areas of drug and alcohol, at-risk children and mental health. She has also worked in the retail industry and for the Victorian Government.
Approximately 11 years ago Kirraly sustained an injury to her lower back which required surgery. Following her lower back surgery she ended up with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), resulting in paraplegia in her lower left limb.
She has lived in the Greater Geelong area for the past 19 years.
Steph Southby has experienced the challenges of disability throughout her whole life,
after becoming symptomatic with Rheumatoid Arthritis as an infant. This has
affected her mobility to varying degrees over the years at times becoming
reliant on walking aids or a wheelchair. Her symptoms have made aspects of life like
accessing and completing a fair education (including tertiary education) more
as an adult, she has insight into how disability can greatly impact life at all
ages and that despite the good intention of our society, people with disability
often are not granted equal rights, access or a voice within the community. By
bringing this life experience to the Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee
she hopes to help advocate for those that aren't able to do so for themselves,
and contribute to making Greater Geelong more inclusive for all people with
Rachael Thompson is excited to
be part of the Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee and contribute to
shaping a society where all people are accepted for their diverse abilities and
barriers for people with disability are removed.
Rachael is the Team Leader
of Advocacy and NDIS Appeals at the Rights Information and Advocacy Centre – a
not-for-profit organisation in Geelong providing free advocacy support for
people with a disability.
Rachael was inspired to shift her career as a
commercial lawyer through her own lived experience with mental health
conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. She is grateful for these challenges
because it has given her greater insights and drives her passion and commitment
to her work.
Rachael is also studying her Graduate Diploma in
Human Rights Law at the University of Melbourne and enjoys teaching yoga to
youth with diverse abilities.
Professor Richard Tucker
Tucker has published almost 100 outputs on sustainable and universal design,
urban design, and the relationships between health, accessibility and
inclusivity in built environment design.
Richard is a director
of the Deakin HOME Research Hub. HOME is an interdisciplinary group of 30
Deakin researchers which works with local communities to co-design solutions to
complex problems of affordable housing, homelessness and social inclusion.
Richard’s work has
involved substantial competitive grant-funded projects (over a dozen
investigations funded for over $1.6 million) including six as project leader.
Most recently, he was
project leader of the Accessible and Inclusive Geelong Feasibility Study, which
informed a collective plan of action to enable Geelong to be accessed,
understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people. The project used
a systems-thinking approach (STICKE) to consult with a wide range of disability
Richard was only the second
teacher in the discipline of architecture to be awarded the prestigious
Australian Learning and Teaching Council Award for Teaching Excellence.