Access and Inclusion Advisory Committee

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 Denham

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.

Kayla 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.

Kayla enjoys 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 understand.

She loves learning how other people get through their lives and looks forward to having a say and making a difference in our community.

Kayla Denham

Alex Holland

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.

Following 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.

Alex Holland

Ainslee Hooper

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 powerlifting.

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.

Ainslee Hooper

Robert Kuebler

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.

Robert Kuebler

Oliver Lynch

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.

Oliver Lynch

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 surgery.

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.

Dr Simon Morris

Kirraly Nix

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.

Kirraly Nix

Steph Southby

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 difficult.

Now 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 disabilities.

Stephanie Southby

Rachael Thompson

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.

Rachael Thompson

Professor Richard Tucker

Professor Richard 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 community stakeholders.

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.

Prof Richard Tucker

Page last updated: Friday, 18 September 2020