The Voice of Boyce – “Exploring Art” with Dr Sharon Boyce

Sharon Boyce is PDA’s Vice President and QLD Director.

Accomplished in many areas (including but not limited to advocacy work, academia, journalism, community education and public speaking), Sharon’s creative side is another important part of who she is.

A passion for art and looking outside the norms, she loves to create beautiful art and bring her imagination to life.

In her new PDA vlog, she talks about her art and the way in which it has evolved more as her disability has created more limits on her life.

Well worth checking out on PDA’s YouTube channel:

Whilst you’re there why not check out our other videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

How I found success.

Written by Sarah Styles – PDA’s QLD Associate Director

This year I was fortunate to win the Sector Innovation Award at the Developing Australian Communities awards gala. My business has just celebrated its second birthday and I am pleased with what we have accomplished in this short time given an overnight success is ten years. While we have much to do in becoming set up then established, we are currently writing a short film, 2 musicals and a series of picture books which will also be toured on stage in Auslan. All this while my body is a full time job. This required the right team of people which I didn’t get until age 43.

Over the years people have been amazed when I share my dreams and aspirations. They assumed i had already achieved a successful music career despite my struggles, which couldn’t be further from the truth. While being seen as enjoying the lifestyle I desired yet did not have is no compensation, it did present me with something I had not considered. How others saw me. Their assumed success was a win and that helped fuel me to do what I could in preparation for the day it was possible. No matter how much my disability affected my body and therefore mental health tempting me to give up, I had to hope for a future opportunity. I was not picky. I would accept what came my way. From age 16 I volunteered in the community to learn whatever I could. I said “yes” to any opportunity. Due to this, I had experiences that I had never dreamed of. They were one off so did not affect my health adversely and they were exciting. 

My disability had not been diagnosed during that time.  Neither had my medical condition, ASD, hearing loss or PTSD. This would not happen until I was 38. This lack of information Hindered any success attempted. It takes years after diagnosis to work out the best management regime for each condition. This then becomes the principal focus. The lack of support also was a hindrance meaning extra years were required to get on my feet.  

Fast forward to 2020 when the world was united by lockdown and the online access the disabled community asked for prior, yet deemed too hard and expensive was now suddenly available to all. The world opened for the first time in my life. It was thrilling to enter the arena as a participant. Often I wasn’t able to be a spectator! Would life begin at 41? This was the time where support started to become available. It was 2 years before the right team came togther. During the 25 years it took to arrive at my future, I had been taking advantage of all free webinars or local workshops run by my council in preparation. I knew with my necessary lifestyle only a small portion of that information was appropriate to me, but I trusted it would be enough and it was.  I leapt into action sure of myself and grateful for the required support. I had sought support my whole life of course and when it didn’t come year after year, I focussed on my wellbeing. It got to the point I didn’t believe it would come. The only option left was to find peace in my reality and make a new life. One possible with little to no help. 

The saying “If you work hard enough you will succeed” is shared a lot yet how much merit does it hold? Yes this character trait is desirable and necessary, yet no one can achieve  goals on their own. Regardless of whether we are poor, disabled,  part of any marginalised group, or well off with health, we all need the correct support to succeed alongside grit. That support tends to be sporadic for those in marginalised groups if available it at all. Once I was at peace with this, my mentality began to improve. I felt at peace. 

So what did it take to be successful? 

1 seeking opportunities and saying yes to whatever is available. 

2 accepting my reality to receive internal peace and happiness even if nothing changed. 

3 finding grit as nothing is achieved without it.

4 trusting the right support would come at the right time and trusting the process to get there. 

PDA’s Vice President/QLD Director, Sharon Boyce, was interviewed by the ABC around the need for greater public awareness of COVID-19 antiviral medications and their accessibility and eligibility.

“When academic, author and disability advocate Sharon Boyce contracted COVID-19 in April, she and her doctor were scared about what might happen.

“I do have lots of issues with breathing, lots of issues with my health and [an] auto immune [condition], and I’m on high level cortisone and have diabetes,” she said.

The Toowoomba resident was being monitored in a virtual hospital ward and had antiviral medication delivered to her door by paramedics.

“It was very scary about the what if [of having COVID-19], but once I got the antivirals and started them, I didn’t have major problems,” she said.

“I did have issues with breathing and coughing, especially, which was very difficult for me with my neck, but the antivirals seemed to stop and calm that down and maybe not get as bad as what it may have done.”

Dr Boyce said more awareness was needed about the potential benefits of the medications.

“I think there really needs to be a lot more information out there about what antivirals are, what they do, how good they can be and what they can do for people to break down those barriers of fear.” “

To read the full article go to:

The wonderful Fran Vicary (Director Engagement at the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and PDA Member), recently spoke at the National Press Club of Australia’s Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand’s ACT Public Sector Forum.

It’s a great watch.

Enjoy hearing from Fran and her fellow panelists (Angie Ballard and Cain Beckett) by going to:

Go in the draw for a trip to the cinema, learn and help PDA at the same time.

PDA can earn $2,500 per webinar for 20 or more survey responses from each webinar. If all 5 webinars get 20+ survey responses that equates to $12,500 which will go a long way to help PDA continue its work standing up for all Australian living with physical disability.

You can help PDA and go in our Hoyts’ draw by simply watching a recording of one (or more) of our informative and though-provoking webinars and then completing a survey.

Simply head across to the Physical Disability Australia YouTube channel ( and click on one of the webinars we have posted there:

When you have watched one, complete the short survey linked in the description notes under each webinar’s description.

Feel free to complete a survey for each webinar that you watch.

We also encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube channel whilst you’re there.

Entries for our Hoyt’s gift cards close at 5pm on Friday 5th August 2022, with winners chosen by random generator and announced and notified on Monday 8th August.

This competition is only open to Australian residents.

PDA, in response to the search for a new NDIA CEO, calls for this appointment to be filled by a person with actual lived experience of disability and practical understanding of the NDIS National Disability Insurance Scheme. 

You can read PDA’s Position Statement below:

“The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) is the legislation which establishes the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

It also sets out, amongst other things, the objectives, and principles as to how the NDIS will operate, how an individual can access the NDIS and become a participant, how the participants plan will be developed and processes for internal and external review.

The NDIS Act also sets out the governance arrangements for the NDIA including its CEO, Board, Independent Advisory Council (IAC) and Actuaries.

The NDIS has been operating Australia wide for the past 9 years supporting people with disabilities to live ordinary lives, supporting people to access services and supports, supporting people to gain meaningful employment and generally increasing quality of life.

The NDIS is, essentially, a scheme for people with disabilities, but we have yet to see people with disabilities gain Senior Management positions within the NDIA. We have seen people with disabilities positioned on the NDIS Board and the IAC, but not into those senior roles.

PDA believes that the NDIS should have people with disabilities in those roles, to not only increase the representation, but to bring real life experience and understanding of being a person with a disability into the Agency that is supporting us.

We encourage the Government to do their due diligence in recruiting a new CEO for the Agency and make a positive step to rebuilding the trust of people with disabilities by actively seeking out a person with a disability for the role of CEO.

PDA invites other Australian disability organisations, NDIS participants, disability supporters and providers to join in this call for improved NDIA CEO and Board representation, participation, inclusion and input from people with disability.

For more information or to show your organisation’s support in this campaign, please contact Simon Burchill (PDA’s General Manager) via”

Join us for our next Webinar “Acquiring Disability Later In Life”.

Tuesday 9th August at 6:30pm AEST

There are an estimated 4.4 million Australians living with disability, and approximately 93.1% (or 4.1 million) of these were acquired sometime after birth.

Whether acquiring lifelong disability as the result of an injury, developing health or genetic condition, due to illness or medical complication, this move to a new way of life can be challenging and uncertain.

Finding information, support and ways to best live a new way of life can seem overwhelming.

From understanding your rights and entitlements, accessing resources and tools, and self acceptance, this webinar will  give you an insight into the disability journey of three people who acquired disability later in life and continue to ensure that they live their best lives.

On Tuesday 9th August at 6:30pm AEST, PDA will be running a webinar to provide you with information, advice and personal stories around successfully transitioning to this new chapter of life.

To register for this FREE Webinar, go to:

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

We look forward to you joining this important and informative event.

As COVID-19 restrictions and public emergency declarations ease, life doesn’t go back to normal for everyone.

Written by Tammy Milne (PDA TAS Associate Director) and published by ABC News.

When Tammy Milne contracted COVID-19, she said she was “shaken to the core”.

Ms Milne has arthrogrophosis multiplex congenita, which affects her legs. She also has issues with breathing and swallowing.

She uses a wheelchair and has a support worker for several hours a day and overnight.

She is one of many Tasmanians for whom life will not return to “normal” when the state’s public health emergency declaration ends on Thursday night.

Three months ago, Ms Milne was in Hobart visiting her daughter when she contracted COVID-19.

She was staying in a hotel, and, once she tested positive, was unable to receive room service.

Her support worker was unable to help her, and with her daughter also COVID positive, Ms Milne said she was “trapped in a room by myself without any support”.

“It was very traumatic … I was isolated and pretty much in despair,” she said.

Ms Milne organised through the disability COVID hotline to be transported back home to Devonport in the state’s north-west where a support worker stayed with her through her seven days of isolation.

Three months on, Ms Milne said she has also contracted two other viruses, one of which required hospital treatment.

“I think if I got COVID again, I’d be really lucky to survive, and it’s a reality that it will come back again,” she said.

To read the complete article, go to:

Lived Disability Experience vs Disability Sector Experience

Following its election win, the Australian Labor Party has reiterated its commitment “to ensuring that no Australian with a disability is left behind”.

The Hon. Bill Shorten MP’s assigned portfolio as Minister for the NDIS National Disability Insurance Scheme has been widely applauded and appears to be a significant move in the right direction for an Australia working to look after its disabled population.

This overhaul includes review of the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency), steps being taken to get the NDIS working properly and ensuring that disability is “no longer an afterthought”. Reassuringly too, steps are seemingly being put in place for policy to be evidence based and those actually reliant on the NDIS being given a place at the co-design table.

However, whilst the NDIA has certainly been a hive of promising activity since our new government took office, there is still a glaringly incongruous demographic in the way that the scheme is being run and managed.

With 1 in 6 Australians living with disability and with rates of disability being shown to be on a rising trajectory, it is crucial that the NDIS addresses the need for representation and inclusion of scheme participants and those with lived disability experience on its Board, Executive and in the role of NDIA CEO.

In the same way that senior roles within indigenous organisations are reserved for applicants of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent, policy must be put in place to ensure that “the NDIS puts people with disability at the centre of the Scheme and includes families, carers, service providers and workers” (wording taken from the ALP’s own website).

But this should just be the beginning of necessary reform in our country.

In an SBS News article, it was highlighted that, of the total 227 parliamentarians today, only one person (or less than half a percent) presents a visible disability – in the form of WA Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John.

Whilst our new parliament embraces the diversity and beauty of our country, this representation of disability is certainly not something to be celebrated.