What to do if you test positive for COVID.

So you’ve managed to get hold of rapid antigen test and you’ve tested positive for COVID.

So what do you do now?

  • Call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for information about how to look after yourself when you are sick with COVID-19.
  • DO NOT CALL 000 for an ambulance UNLESS YOU NEED EMERGENCY SERVICES. Resources are being unnecessarily stretched with a reported half of ambulance call-outs being made by COVID-19 patients not requiring emergency services.

Most people with COVID experience no symptoms (asymptomatic) or mild symptoms which can be managed with over-the-counter medication. Rest, drink lots of water and eat well.

However, please call 000 immediately if you develop severe symptoms such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • oxygen levels less than 92% (when tested with a pulse oximeter)
  • blue lips or face
  • pain or pressure in the chest
  • cold and clammy, or pale and mottled, skin
  • fainting or collapsing
  • being confused
  • becoming difficult to wake up
  • little or no urine output
  • coughing up blood.

For help on a State/territory basis (including information, resources and links for more support for people with COVID-19, including when you can leave isolation), go to:

Information in Auslan around COVID-19 plans, managing symptoms, and getting medical help can be accessed at:


You can also find translated information about testing positive for COVID-19 in over 60 languages by going to https://www.health.gov.au/resources/translated/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-people-who-test-positive-for-covid-19-or-are-close-contacts-other-languages

If you think that you may have COVID symptoms or suspect that you may have been exposed to COVID, please do not enter pharmacies, supermarkets or other retail outlets.

Instead please go to a testing clinic or have a family member/friend get you a test and deliver it safely to you.

With rapid antigen tests stocks becoming more readily available at supermarkets and pharmacies in the coming days and weeks, access to home testing will improve.

In the meantime, take care and stay safe.

PDA TAS Associate Director Tammy Milne’s recently published newspaper article.

Tammy had one of her articles published in the “Tasmanian Times” on International Day of People With Disability.

It’s an interesting read:

“I am disabled. I am on a fixed income. I am privileged and have a good and full life.

So when I wanted to attend a disability award dinner to support a friend who was nominated for an award I thought I would ask for support from the plethora of sponsors of the event as the tickets cost $140 each. I mean who is the dinner for?

And wouldn’t it look quite odd if people with disabilities couldn’t actually attend the dinner because of the cost? Or is this dinner like a lot of industry led initiatives where business pats it self on the back for providing paid services to people with disabilities and we paid for them and feel grateful they are having a dinner to celebrate but we aren’t included.

They actually make their money off the backs of the most vulnerable people in our community and yet set a new standard of Ableism when it comes to access for people with disabilities. We are simply shut out because of cost.

Now I’m not advocating for a ‘cancel culture’ mentality around this because it so cringe-worthy in its over thought and exclusion of people with disabilities but I am advocating for some provision to be made so that it is more accessible for people with disabilities to attend. I rang two of the sponsors and asked as I have been told there were some tickets available from sponsors, on both accounts I was fobbed off basically with, ‘no nothing for  you dear!’

My friend had her ticket paid for by her boss but her mother also paid for her own. So ticket pricing didn’t even take into consideration the cost to people who were nominated and the hardship this might thrust upon them and angst at having to weigh up attending and wearing the financial burden or not attending and thus making the whole event look like a farce.

Now lets get to the judging of the awards. It wasn’t until quite late into the organisation that a savvy person with disability asked the question, who is judging?

And yes they actually didn’t have anyone with a disability on the panel. In instances like this it is usual for the panel to be made up of a significant number of people with disability.

I mean you do want the awards to have credibility? Right?

My thinking around this is that those who organised the event have little understanding of inclusion or disability culture. In this case I am strongly advocating organisations to reach out to leaders in the disability community, ask questions, have us involved, become informed and educated.

We are very willing to contribute to anything that involves us to make it more inclusive  and accessible. The disability community embrace, the ethos of Nothing About Us Without Us as used in the seminal work of disability rights advocate James Charlton in the year 2000, about disability oppression and empowerment.

We want to be involved, we want to be invited to the table for discussion and listened too. I understand there is a great deal of learning around disability by the wider community and in the disability industry so just let us have a clear and free flowing dialogue about how we move forward from here.

3 December is the International Day of People with Disability.

PDA’s new Executive Team elected

PDA recently held its AGM, with elections held for the Executive Board positions.

It is with great excitement that we introduce the new PDA Executive Team:

Andrew Fairbairn – President
Talia Spooner-Stewart – Vice President
Sharon Boyce – Vice President
Tim Harte – Treasurer

With such a strong leadership team at its helm, PDA’s future continues to shine bright as it continues to represent and support Australia’s physical disability community.

PDA would also like to thank, recognise and celebrate three incredible outgoing Board Members who have been instrumental in growing and moving forward our organisation:

Liz Reid has completed three successful terms as PDA President and now sits as NT Associate Director. She has played an outstanding role in growing PDA’s presence, recognition and reputation as an important, necessary and valued representative disability organisation on the Australian disability landscape.

Jonathan Shar who did an outstanding job as PDA Treasurer and NSW PDA Director.

Kathryn Lyons who has stepped down from her role as QLD Associate Director.

Both Kathryn and Jonathan have been instrumental as both founding and committee members in the establishment of PDA’s Youth Network and we are grateful that they will continue to be driving forces in its growth.

PDA has big plans moving forwards and looks forward to having its Board and Members play a role in its mission to enable every Australian living with a physical disability to realise their full potential.

Proudly introducing our NSW Director, Mark Pietsch.

Following elections at our recent AGM, we are proud to introduce PDA’s NSW Director Mark Pietsch.

Mark has a a long history of advocacy and lobbying, assisting and leading projects at a grass roots level through to intergovernmental relations.

As a person with a movement disorder, steps are not his friend. As a person who relies on a mix of assistive technology, he strongly pushes for greater consultation with people with physical disabilities in regards to the design of home and living supports funded through the NDIS.

He prides himself on listening, although he is not afraid to speak up for those who struggle to do so themselves.

Mark personally describes himself as “an absolute nerd when it comes to legislation and policy”. With experience in lobbying for change at a ministerial level, his success has been notable in relation to employment supports in the NDIS to assist participants in self-employment and the open market.

He also enjoys collaborating and sharing resources to address equity issues in society.

His personal and business mission is to highlight the abilities of all people and to actively work to reduce barriers faced by the disability community through education, support and connection to resources to assist bridging the equity gap faced by our community.

His values are reflected in the small organisation that he leads, which stands by the mantra and primary values of “integrity, creativity, diversity, community and commitment”.

We are excited to have Mark join the PDA Team and look forward to working with him to make a positive contribution to the Australian physical disability community.

Please join us in welcoming Mark.

Have you registered for our AGM?

Have you registered to join PDA’s AGM this Saturday via Zoom?

We’d love you to join us to hear what we’ve been up to, what our plans are moving forwards and just to be part of the conversation.

PDA Members are invited and encouraged to attend.

It’ll be held via Zoom so, no matter where you are, all you need is a phone or an internet connection and a mobile, laptop, tablet or computer.

3:00pm Sydney/Melbourne/Hobart/Canberra
2:30pm Adelaide
2:00pm Brisbane
1:30pm Darwin
12:00pm Perth

To register, please visit:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Meeting documents will be circulated ahead of the AGM.

We really look forward to you joining us and saying “hi”.

Talia’s Bravery Trek helps Aussie Veterans.

PDA’s Vice President, Talia Spooner-Stewart, is currently involved in Bravery Trust’s 100km challenge to raise funds and awareness for Australia’s veterans undergoing financial hardship.

To promote the event, Bravery Trust’s Media and Corporate Affairs Manager Jo Crawford-Wynd has written an article around Talia’s efforts and the story behind her decision to take part in this incredibly worthwhile challenge.

“Wheeling to inspirational half way milestone”

“Don’t judge me by my disability but give me an opportunity to show my ability. I hope I can communicate to people that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and are given an opportunity.”

That’s the message shared by Bravery Trek participant Talia Spooner-Stewart as she passes the halfway milestone of this year’s Bravery Trek.

Bravery Trek is a virtual challenge of 100km in 50 days. Talia is halfway to her goal having clocked up 55km as she enters the home stretch.

“I’ve been fortunate to have so much support from family, friends, my work colleagues, and my physio team along the way. Everyone has been incredibly generous and it’s given me extra motivation to be consistent– I’m just so grateful for everyone’s support. The support pushes me to keep going,” she said.

Talia was diagnosed with MS in 1998 and became wheelchair reliant five years ago. She says it was the opportunity to attend the Invictus Games in 2018 as a volunteer that inspired her to aim high and finds ways to continue sports and stay active.

“The Invictus Games changed everything. It was an eye-opener to what could be done. I had always thought “No, I can’t do that because I am in a wheelchair”– but the Invictus Games changed that, it changed my mindset to focus on what I can do instead,” she said.

Talia has been cycling and wheeling her way to 100km and she’s been able to add weekly swimming sessions to her tally. Although not a veteran herself, Talia works at Leidos Australia with veterans as colleagues and customers. Leidos is a Foundation Partner of Bravery Trek and values a culture to support those who have served our country.

“Leidos’ commitment to the veteran community, and a key value of inclusion, is why I went to the Invictus Games in the first place – they were able to offer me that opportunity. Leidos is why I’m participating in Bravery Trek … I’ve had a few really big donations and it has surprised me. I really do appreciate everyone’s support,” Talia said.

“I don’t ask others for help very often but this event is so important and the messaging to support veterans is so important.

“As a community we are generous, and people support lots of charities, but the messaging about veterans can get lost in that. They have made the bravest sacrifice to support our freedom and we can all do more to support veterans when they need some assistance.”

A quick check of Talia’s socials shows that she’s been bombarded with messages of support, and there’s repeated use of the word “inspirational” by her supporters – it’s something she accepts with humility.

“If my actions can inspire others I’ll embrace it – and knowing the impact that the Invictus Games had on me, if my efforts can help change people’s mindsets and empower them to live a better life – I’m fine with whatever words they call me – as long as it helps others!”

To donate or send a message of support to Talia please visit: www.braverytrek.com.au/talia-spooner-stewart.

Funds raised support the work of national military charity Bravery Trust to provide financial aid and financial counselling to veterans who been injured during service and face hardship. Learn more at www.braverytrust.org.au.

Elle Steele shares her story around her disability and some great life tips.

Elle Steele is a PDA Member and former PDA Board Member.

She is also an incredible woman with many more strings to her bow. As a Paralympian, successful businesswoman, motivational speaker, disability advocate and a supportive, beautiful soul, she has much knowledge, insight and advice to share. Well worth a listen.

She has very kindly allowed us to share a video that she was involved with on the PDA YouTube channel.

Check it out by clicking below or by going to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8H5uwzUY4k

Don’t forget to subscribe to the PDA YouTube channel whilst you’re there.

Adapt – Reflect – Thrive

Earlier this week, PDA TAS Associate Director Tammy Milne, spoke at the TasCOSS (Tasmanian Council of Social Services) Conference. Her talk was around the theme “Adapt – Refect – Thrive”, where she shared her own experiences in accessing the COVID-19 vaccination as a person with disability and just where the system fell flat.


Covid 19 has absolutely shattered our world reality. None of us were prepared for the virus that not only took lives, (currently around 4 and a half million worldwide) but stole our lifestyles and forced us to lockdown, to vaccinate and to learn new skills like social distancing, hand sanitising and checking in to just about everywhere we go to protect the ones we love.

Australia thus far has done exceptionally in adapting to this new lifestyle and containing this virus. Very few of us in Tasmania have been personally effected by death from this insidious disease but we have been affected by systems and procedures that lack access to a cohort of our society.

That cohort is People with Disabilities.

Most of us here today know the marginalisation of people with disabilities in our society. Most of us here deal on a day to day basis in our organisations with people with disabilities. Yet, when COVID hit us in March 2020, No one in government was prepared with real understanding of the intricacies of the life of PWD and how covid would impact our lives and how we could be left behind, with no real planning for us leaving us precariously vulnerable.

In March 2020 I gave evidence at the Royal Commission into abuse and neglect of people with disabilities. My evidence was specific to how, as a person with a disability I was left vulnerable – as were many others who require the assistance of support workers to come into our homes on a daily  basis to care for our basic needs. I gave evidence that I felt like my house was a potential COVID hotspot as my support workers and my husband’s aged care support came in and out of our home daily.  We could only trust that they were doing the right thing to protect their vulnerable clients.

Reflect on how you would feel if this was you?

Fast forward to the vaccine roll out which started in Tasmania in early March. 

The booking system.

How do you think the online booking system has played out for People with disabilities and the wider Tasmanian community with functional literacy rates of 49%? That’s 49% of people who function in the world of reading and writing well enough to navigate our systems. This excludes peoples who are computer literate which is a whole other ball game as we know.

  • People with disabilities cannot access vaccines because they cannot use the booking system.
  • People who cannot read and write cannot access the vaccines because they cannot access the booking system.
  • People without a computer and who are not technologically literate cannot access the booking system.
  • People without a phone cannot access the booking system. 

Go to your GP you say? Well not all towns and rural regional areas had a roll out of GP’s who were willing to vaccinate their patients.

Can you see the gaps here? Can you see a pattern?

Bureaucracy has a real disconnect it seems with the implementation of systems and the people that use them. The most vulnerable don’t seem to be at the forefront of the thought process in this process.

Speaking from personal experience, I rang the booking line and took the next available appointment for a vaccine which was 100km from my home, a trip I took for both jabs. My daughter had to drive from Hobart to Launceston to get her first jab. We have mobility, we have cars, we have cash for petrol and we can navigate the system – but still it was arduous for us.

Reflect on this and how your clients may be impacted with the same story?

Now I’m no wilting flower when it comes to asking questions and finding out information. Back in March I rang the health department to see when PWD were scheduled to get a vaccine. How would ‘they’, those shadowy bureaucrats that are closeted in offices in tall buildings tasked with serving and protecting, how would ‘they’ know that I belonged to 1B? They didn’t know and I was fobbed off by someone who said the NDIS would be letting me know. So I rang the NDIS of course and was told by the NDIS that they had no jurisdiction in this matter and it was up to the state health department to implement procedures and the circle of buck passing went on and on.

It was only in late-June-early-July that dedicated Disability vaccine clinics were opened in Hobart and Launceston – but not in regional or rural Tasmania.

The messaging to the vulnerable, the real people of Tasmania, the elderly, the disabled has been very sparse, in some cases it’s like we have been totally overlooked in planning for the vaccine rollout – just as we were at beginning off the outbreak with support workers, PPE and isolation and protection.


It is said that, people with disabilities are often good problem solvers, thinking outside the box and creating solutions to problems that may not be apparent to others.

We know our own situations, we know our risks, we know our capacities and we are the best experts on our situations. We need to always be at the forefront of managements and bureaucracy when policy and systems are rolled out! 4.4 million people live with disability in Australia today. That’s a huge amount of adaptability. That’s a huge cohort of our Australian population. We need to be having our voices in the places where policy and systems are rolled out. 


PWD are not here to blame and shame government and agencies for things that are not right, we are here to team with and be advisors with government and agencies. We are large stakeholders in our community and our own lives and we need to be listened to and be heard. We are going to have to live with Covid for a long time to come and to thrive we are going to have to work together. So my treaty here is for those at the top, in those shadowy offices, in tall buildings, to talk to, listen and hear PWD.

To adapt and thrive we need to be valued as experts in our own field which is disability and be heard, our lives depend on it!

PDA Members are invited to our AGM

PDA’s Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 27th November 2021 via Zoom Videoconference.

PDA Members are invited and encouraged to attend.

3:00pm Sydney/Melbourne/Hobart/Canberra
2:30pm Adelaide
2:00pm Brisbane
1:30pm Darwin
12:00pm Perth

To register, please visit:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Meeting documents will be circulated ahead of the AGM.

We hope you are able to attend.