Proudly introducing PDA’s new Director for Victoria – Tim Harte

It is with great pleasure that we announce Tim Harte as PDA’s new VIC Director.

Tim’s lived experience as an NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) participant, disability pensioner and rural young person drives his commitment to empowering the voice and agency of people with disabilities.

Tim has tertiary qualifications in performing arts and science and has a background in disability, social & environmental justice activism and currently holds roles in Landcare, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, and the Deakin University Environmental Justice Club.

Tim is a Board Member of the Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic), the peak body representing young people and the youth sector in Victoria, and is a member of the YACVic Youth Mental Health working group and the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network.

Tim strongly supports the human rights-based model of disability and advocates for equitable access to services and meaningful participation and inclusion of people with disabilities in society.

Please join us in welcoming Tim to the PDA Board.

We look forward to working with Tim and capitalising on his experiences, energy and commitment to driving positive change in Australia’s disability landscape.

PDA announces the first webinar in its 2021 Membership Series and you’re invited.

In supporting the disability community, PDA recognises and celebrates the potential value that self-employment offers in helping people with disability overcome barriers to work.

Research has revealed that “*people with disability are 40 per cent more likely to be self-employed than their able-bodied counterparts”.

If you’re a PDA Member and you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, have a business idea, want help in making your entrepreneurial move or simply want to learn about setting up a business, PDA’s first Webinar for 2021 may inspire you to take the first step towards financial independence.

Elle Steele is a successful entrepreneur, business owner, former Paralympian, Model, Optimist, Mentor and Motivation Queen.

As Presenter, she will provide the framework to setting up your own business and taking control of your employment options and your financial future.

This EXCITING FREE WEBINAR will be run on Thursday 25th March at 6pm AEST and you can register by clicking on the button below:

We look forward to seeing you there.


PDA Youth Alliance is now PDA Youth Network

PDA’s membership initiative for 18-30 year olds has rebranded and will now be known as PDA Youth Network. 

In line with this our online socials have also been renamed and will now be called “Hangouts” and will run monthly on the third Thursday of each month.

This decision was made following feedback and discussion from members and the Committee.

We believe that these new names positively reflect the importance and need for us to have our own community that understands our needs and wants.

With your help, we want to build up PDA Youth Network and make it truly representative of you, our fellow members.

Don’t forget to register for this Thursday’s PDA Youth Network’s first Hangout for 2021.

It’s sure to be a lot of fun and a great chance to catch up with friends, make new friends, get social and have fun.

You can register at:

7pm Sydney/Canberra/Melbourne/Hobart
6:30pm Adelaide
6pm Brisbane
5:30pm Darwin
4pm Perth

Hope you can join us.

We also encourage you all to get involved with the running of our Youth Network and helping us to make it as big, relevant and successful as possible.

If you would like to play a role (big or small) or have a suggestion or idea, please get in touch with us either via our socials or by emailing

We look forward to working with you to make PDA Youth Network a community that gets and supports young Australian adults living with physical disability.

💕 Kathryn, Jonathan and Nick

PDA Youth Network

From Youth Network Committee Members – Kathryn, Jonathan and Nick

PDA’s 18-30 year old initiative has rebranded and will now be known as PDA Youth Network.

This decision was made following feedback and discussion from members and the Committee.

We believe that this new name positively reflects the importance and need for PDA’s younger members having their own community that understands the needs and wants of young Australian adults living with physical disability.

With your help, we want to build up PDA Youth Network and make it truly representative of you, our fellow members.

So we ask our 18-30 year old members to get on board and help. Whether this means joining one of our regular Zoom sessions (now every third Thursday of the month – see below*), getting involved on our committee, sharing your ideas, posting on our Facebook group page or inviting your friends to join our Youth Network.

Our *Zoom sessions will now be known as “Hangouts” and will run every third Thursday of the month at 7pm AEDT. Our next Hangout will be on Thursday 18th February and you can register at:

Catch up with friends. Make new friends. Get social. Have fun.

7pm Sydney/Canberra/Melbourne/Hobart
6:30pm Adelaide
6pm Brisbane
5:30pm Darwin
4pm Perth

Wherever you want to be involved, we welcome you to play a part in making the Youth Network as strong, relevant, fun and worthwhile as possible.

Send us an email at or a DM.

We look forward to working with you.

Kathryn, Jonathan and Nick

Reflect, Respect, Celebrate

Written by Liz Reid AM

Happy 2021! It has certainly started with a bang. I would say many are more than happy to say goodbye to 2020. 

Some great things did however come out of 2020 for PDA with:

  • * the establishment of the Youth Alliance for young people with a physical disability aged 18-30 years to be the voice of young people
    our membership increasing significantly
  • * our social media presence growing to exceed our expectations
  • * the appointment of PDA’s Inaugural Ambassador, Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM
  • * establishing regular online social hours for members to connect during COVID-19
  • * and the PDA Self-Management project’s how-to website – to be launched soon. 
  • * PDA making submissions to many government consultations
  • * our reaching out to members to identify gaps, facilitate solutions and provided advocacy for members individually and systemically to ensure their human rights were being supported and protected. 

I would especially like to acknowledge the skills and talents of outgoing Director for Victoria, Elle Steele, and Associate Director for Western Australia, Matthew Lee, for their fabulous contributions and commitment to afford the rights and freedoms of people with a physical disability. Thank you both for all you have done! 

A big welcome to Tammy Milne, Associate Director for Tasmania, and Melanie Hawkes, Associate Director for Western Australia. We are thrilled that you have joined the PDA Board and look forward to a productive year ahead!
Thank you to also to our members who attended our AGM at the end of 2020. It meant and means a great deal.

As we start to think about PDA’s work plan for our members, valued partners/stakeholders and what is important to you in 2021, we need to hear your thoughts, issues, and priorities. I encourage you to email Simon, PDA Manager @ or Natasha, Promotions @ . If you know of people with physical disabilities and their supporters who would find value in being a member of PDA, please share the link to our website for free membership .

In 2021 we will continue to advocate for the many Australians with disability who are ineligible for the NDIS and the supports it provides. Therefore, it is extremely important to advocate for the new incarnation of the National Disability Strategy post-2020 that is robust, responsive, and effective as the Federal Government’s disability policy centrepiece – so that all Australians with disability can have their needs met.

Social Hour via Zoom will be returning with a new flavour on the first Monday of the Month and the Youth Alliance Social Hour will also continue to be run, but will be moved to a monthly slot on the third Thursday of every month. Stay tuned to our Facebook pages for more information.

Elle Steele in coming weeks will be hosting a webinar for our members about setting up and running a business. Please check our PDA socials for more information.

Reflect, Respect, Celebrate… these words have different meanings for so many people! As we approach Australia Day, we can reflect on our nation’s story knowing that it began more than 65,000 years ago. First Nations Australians are the foundation of our nation’s story and an important and empowering part of our shared history for the entire nation. It is important that we acknowledge our complete history, its impact on our first peoples and that we pay our respect to all those who sacrificed and paved the road to where we are today.

Australia Day is when we can all come together, acknowledging everyone’s personal journey, paying tribute to our diversity and celebrating us and the great country that we live in. It is important that in doing so we also continue to promote reconciliation and multiculturalism. Together celebrating our progress as a vibrant, united and progressive society – not just this day but every day.

The countdown is on for the Australian of the Year Awards. Congratulations to all the worthy 2021 nominees from all States and Territories. The Awards will be broadcast live on January 25 7:30pm (AEDT), 6:00pm (ACST); 7:00pm (ACDT) & 4:30pm (AWST) on ABC TV and iView. 

Starting in 1960, the Australian of the Year Awards has four categories; Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero – each recognising outstanding achievements and contributions to our nation. 

A big shout out for PDA’s Ambassador, Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM, Advocate for Doctors with Disabilities and QLD Australian of the Year 2021. Our thoughts and well wishes are with you and your family at the awards. PDA is incredibly honoured and privileged that you are our Ambassador amongst your incredible support to many causes. To be a nominee and finalist is a huge accolade!

I would like to finally add a thanks to our part-time team made up of Simon, Trish and Natasha who are continually coming up with creative ways to support PDA and our members, putting in more hours than we are funded for in many instances!! Thanks also to all the Directors and Associate Directors who volunteer their time and passion for an equitable Australia!!

As always take care & keep safe.


Welcome to PDA’s new TAS Associate Director – Tammy Milne

Tammy Milne is another recent and valuable addition to the PDA Board.

She lives on the North West Coast of Tasmania.

Living with Arthrogrophosis Multiplex Congenita, she brings lived experience of disability and a strong passion for disability and human rights to the PDA Team.

Having been with the Department of Education Tasmania for 32 years she has many strings to her bow – working as teacher aide, educational interpreter for the Deaf,  Intern Teacher and Librarian. 

Recently resigned, she looks forward to her work with PDA and continuing to be a “fierce warrior” in standing up for and supporting the disabled community.

Welcome to the PDA Team Tammy!

Introducing PDA’s new WA Associate Director – Melanie Hawkes

PDA is proud to welcome Melanie Hawkes to the role of Associate Director for Western Australia.

Melanie is a wonderful addition to the PDA Team, with extensive experience in the disability sector and with a professional background working in media and corporate communications.

She is also fluent in Japanese, enjoys socialising with friends and family, attending concerts and events and spending time with her much-loved, retired assistance dog.

It’s a pleasure and honour to have you involved on the PDA Board Melanie. Welcome!

Setting boundaries for the holiday season.

Written by Elle Steele – PDA VIC Director


It’s a bit of a buzzword isn’t it? 

I remember hearing it from my psych. She said to me “Elle, you have no boundaries. This is why you feel the way you do. Let’s fix that.”

Even though I’d been an athlete for so long, boundaries had never really played a huge part in the lead-up and recovery from training or any major event, or so I thought. If I think back now, I probably was doing my fair share of it, but it all related back to swimming so it was never a holistic approach.

During the 13 years I was on the Australian team, I had colds, my nose was always running, I had dry skin and aches all over from pushing my body to the limit. But now, I’ve learnt to be a LOT more balanced in my ‘pushing’ with daily self-care practices in place so that I can at the very least get up the next day. For me, self-care and boundaries go hand in hand. I want to share some self-care tips with you for the end of year holidays. 

  1. Learn to say ‘no’. 
    Yep, I’m starting off with a big NO. You know why? You are worth more than doing the things you hate. You are worth more than hanging out with people who are toxic. And you are worth more than watching negative shows or anything that makes you feel anxious. The same goes for seeing people over the holiday period that you don’t feel so great around or doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. Just because you’ve always done something, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. 

  2. Don’t count your calories.
    Yep, I said it. Our bodies change all the time. Don’t hold yourself to something that was yesterday or could be in your future. Enjoy you now. Stop trying to be something else or have a different number on the scales. You’re doing amazing. I used to be 53kgs and I was never happy, I was sick all the time and my mindset was terrible. Now, I know I’m carrying some weight, but my insides, mind, and body are getting healthier every day and the most important thing is I love who I am, in the now, all of it. No amount of food weighing will make up for any lack of self-acceptance. Enjoy the food over the holidays and love yourself enough to eat what makes you feel good

  3. How you finish you year of work isn’t how it’s always going to be. Well, 2020 was fun wasn’t it? Remember, if you finished the year slightly ‘less than’ you’d hoped doesn’t mean squat. You’re on an adventure. You haven’t reached your final destination yet. Think 2021 is for creating connections. Creating content. Creating a life that you don’t need a holiday from. This includes having really strong boundaries for yourself in your life all year round. My advice to you is “always follow joy, in all that you do.”

  4. Self-care looks different to everyone.
    There is no right or wrong way to self-care or set boundaries. I was once told that resting my body and watching a movie wasn’t the ‘right’ way to do self-care. I’m sorry, who said it wasn’t? The self-care police? P.S If you’re still hanging with the self-care police, please refer to point 1).

  5. Take time out from all the noise at least once a day.
    Meditation comes in different forms, so you do “you”. Whatever feels best for you and allows you to switch off and breathe, this is the best way for you to meditate. This may evolve over time, but if it doesn’t then that’s also ok. Some days I meditate to silence. Some days I draw. Some nights I light candles, pump ancient drumming music and dance. Some days I swim. Some days I chant. Whatever makes you feel good is what’s best.

Now, go and do what makes you feel good over the holidays.  

Announcing PDA’s newly elected Executive Board

Following PDA’s successful and well attended AGM, elections were held for the Executive Board that saw the existing team returned to continue their great work.

Liz Reid * President
Talia Spooner-Stewart * Vice-President
Andrew Fairbairn * Vice-President
Jonathan Shar * Treasurer


We would also like to thank all of our Members who joined us at last Saturday’s AGM. It was wonderful to see so many of you attend and we look forward to your involvement in the next 12 months and beyond.