Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference 2016
Putting rights centre stage

Friday 2 September @ NAB, The Hall, 700 Bourke Street, Docklands


Session summaries now available

Summaries from the conference sessions are now available on this site through the program page and include all the multi-media presentations and links to resources relating to the panel discussions. Click the relevant session title for full summary.


It’s a wrap

As expected, disability advocates were interested in hearing from a range of perspectives and not backwards in confronting the issues that bring to light the glaring inequality that people with disability face on a daily basis.

The Rights Retrospective set the stage by giving homage to those advocates and campaigns that make governments, employers, educators and service providers realise that people with disability are human beings who have the same rights as everyone else. This theme was further under pinned by many of the esteemed speakers on day 2.  We really did put rights on centre stage!

DARU new video ‘Rights Under The UN Convention’ was launched to great acclaim from conference participants.  It really is beautiful so enjoy….


This video was produced by Sarah Barton’s production company, fertile Films.



Setting the scene

image of conference flyer
Click flyer image to download PDF

It’s a huge year for people with disability coming to terms with the impact of the NDIS roll out across Australia. This conference is uniquely positioned to consider the crucial role of disability advocacy in safeguarding the rights of people with disability through this biggest reform since Medicare.

We’re Putting rights centre stage with sessions on promoting rights into the future, the role of advocacy in safeguarding against abuse and neglect, and applying a human rights-based approach to consumer-directed service delivery. Speakers and panelists will provide a range of perspectives gained from lived experience, evidence based research and applied practice in disability advocacy.

Rights Retrospective is the pre-conference event that celebrates the 30-year anniversary of funded disability advocacy in Australia. This multimedia session will take us through the history of the disability rights movement globally,  and remind us of the local campaigns and personalities that laid the foundation for a future where rights are respected for all.

This conference is for anyone who is interested in strengthening and upholding the rights of people with disability. This includes disability advocates, self advocates, people with disability, legal workers, government and non government officers, community workers and allied health professionals.
collage inside NAB 700

This conference is hosted by Disability Advocacy Resource Unit (DARU) with the support of a conference planning committee:

  • Melissa Coe, DARU
  • Natasha Brake, DARU
  • Melanie Muir, Disability Advocacy Victoria
  • Sue Smith, Self Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU)
  • Mary Sayers, Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS)
  • Nick Lawler, representing the Victorian Regional Advocacy Network (VicRAN)
  • Maureen D’Arcy, representing the Local Government Disability Planners Network
  • Peta Ferguson, Brain Injury Matters (representing the consumer voice)

Keep up to date with all the latest conference news on Twitter:




Latest news

Evaluation and outcomes

Thanks to everyone who completed the evaluation survey.  Your feedback has been compiled into the SDAC Evaluation Report which is available for download from the DARU website. As is often the case with evaluation forms, your comments were the most informative and  echoed those on the day.  Here’s a range of comments collected during the conference that are … Continued

Looking for assistance at the conference?

  If you need assistance to get into the building, or information on where to go, keep your eyes out for our amazing team of volunteers wearing these red vests. They will assist you on the day getting from your taxi or the entrance of the NAB building to the conference rooms and registration desk.

Advocacy beyond 2016

Find out what the future of disability advocacy promotion might llook like in the future at the Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference on 2 September. How do advocates bring issues to the notice of the general public and decision makers now that the punk and union movements are less likely  to get behind causes and organising … Continued

Enter Stage Rights – panellists confirmed

This session at the Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference will look at applying human rights in person centered service delivery- What role can or should disability advocacy play in the future landscape of consumer directed service delivery? How do we make sure  that mainstream services are made accessible to  people with disability and what does best practice look … Continued

Speakers announced for Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference 2016

We will certainly be “Putting Rights Centre Stage” at this year’s Strengthening Disability Advocacy conference with a heap of speakers who know a thing or two about rights! The conference planning committee is very pleased to confirm the following speakers with more to come: Minister Martin Foley MP Mary Mallett, Disability Advocacy Network Australia Jax (Jacki) Brown, Advocate and … Continued
More conference news >