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FPDN News March 2023

By March 17, 2023May 16th, 2023No Comments

There is so much happening at FPDN right now as we work towards that goal that we wanted to update you on some of it.


First Nations Advisory Council to the NDIA formed

FPDN has entered into a partnership with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to co-design a new NDIS First Nations Strategy and action plan.

FPDN CEO Damian Griffis said this partnership will integrate our long-standing grassroots knowledge and advocacy into improving the NDIS.

“We spend a lot of time in the community and we hear firsthand some of the big issues in terms of getting the NDIS working properly for Mob,” Damian said.

“With this partnership, we’ll establish a First Nations Advisory Council (FNAC) to provide advice to the NDIA to get the NDIS working better for Mob with disability.

“Our expectations are high because we know the stakes are high and we need to make sure that our people with disability get fair access to the NDIS.”

The membership of the FNAC will comprise First Nations people with disability, including First Nations NDIS participants, peak bodies, organisations, and sector and community representatives, with the composition of the Council prioritising the knowledge those with lived experience hold.

The FNAC will help make sure NDIA programs and initiatives are informed by First Nations voices and experiences, reflect the goals and hopes of First Nations communities, embed principles of self-determination, and are culturally safe.

You can read more about the FNAC and watch a video of Damian discussing the partnership agreement here


Yarning Disability Podcast launched

FPDN is marking Closing the Gap Day by launching Australia’s, and possibly the world’s, first podcast for First Peoples living with disability, created and hosted by First Nations people with lived experience of disability.

Yarning Disability is hosted by FPDN Advocate and experienced radio host, Bernard Namok Jnr, a proud St Paul, Badu, and Erub Torres Strait Islander man.

Each episode of Yarning Disability will feature the story and experiences of an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person living with a disability or caring for someone with a disability, as well as disability industry professionals.

This creation of Yarning Disability is part of an array of resources our National Footprint and Engagement Team have developed to support and inform the community sector about First Nations disability business.

The first episode of Yarning Disability is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Audacity, and other podcast streaming services from today. The second episode will be available on Monday 27 March and the show will be available every second Monday from then on.

You can read more about Yarning Disability and how it came together here


FPDN CEO gives evidence at the Yoorrook Justice Commission

You can read more about Damian’s appearance and evidence to Yoorrook here 


FPDN’s CEO, Damian Griffis, appeared before the Yoorrook Justice Commission in Melbourne on Thursday 9 March on behalf of First Peoples living with disability.

Damian told the the truth-telling inquiry that the NDIS needs to be overhauled because it has failed First Peoples with disabilities and that the NDIS excludes many because the application process is expensive and the assessments are not culturally safe or appropriate.

Damian also advocated for self-determination within NDIS assessments.

“We need to run the systems that get our mob into the NDIS. We need to develop our own assessment tools because we do need to get access to the NDIS, no question,’ Damian said. “There are some families that have gotten results out of (the NDIS) but that’s the exception.”

FPDN at Mardi Gras

For the first time ever, FPDN was proud to increase visibility for and celebrate LGBTQIA+ Mob living with disability in the Sydney Mardi Gras parade.

FPDN staff and supporters walked and danced their way along the parade route along with Deaf Aboriginal Services. FPDN Board member Aunty Maureen Logan rode up front in the FPDN van and was showered with love from the crowd, along with Uncle Victor Patrick over from Derby in WA and dressed as a nun!

We also had the inaugural meeting of FPDN’s LGBTQIA+ Advisory Group the Friday before Mardi Gras. We’re looking forward to the contributions the members of this important group will make in the years to come.


You can watch a highlights video here

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