2019 National Disability Sports Conference Schedule

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Following on from the National Diversity and Inclusion Conference (Wednesday), Disability Sport and Recreation will host this one day conference focused on key opportunities in the sector, including:

  • Mental health and the importance of social connectedness
  • Embracing people with disability is good for business
  • Where to next? What the disability sport landscape will look like in 2030

Hosted by:

Thursday 25 July 2019

8:45AM - 10:15AM

Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre

Global Thought Leaders Sessions  

Each conference will join together in the morning to enjoy the inspirational speakers from around the globe that have been brought together to explore the conversations we need to have today, to be ready for tomorrow. They will then be joined by a panel of Australian and New Zealand leaders and specialists to explore the implications nationally, state and territory wide, and locally.

View Global Thought Leader Sessions here 

11:15AM - 12:30PM

Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre

Plenary Theme 5: Reimagining Disability and Sport 

Mental health, the importance of social connectedness in sport for disability from grassroots to elite level

The importance that positive mental health can have for people with disability and the impact that sport has on living a fulfilling life, exploring different perspectives to ensure a holistic approach is understood.

  • Impact that sport and recreation has on individual’s lives with regards to overall wellbeing, social connection and cultural and community participationShari Cohen, All Abilities Inclusion Coordinator – Maccabi Victoria.
  • Elite perspective: Athletes of all levels can struggle, however once you are participating at an elite level as an athlete with disability what are the real barriers to good performance Jason Lees, Australian Player, Steelers Wheelchair Rugby
  • What are some strategies that sports can implement into their programs to educate on mental health and embed awareness into existing programs being delivered for people with a disability?Mick Garnett, Chief Executive Officer, Wheelchair Sports NSW
  • The importance of inclusion and access to sport for people with a disability, why it is important to have a strength based approach when working with people with a disabilityElise Muller, Personal Trainer, Public Speaker, Mentor/ Essendon VFLW Player – Active Support

Panel to Explore: Questions as asked by the audience.


12:30PM - 1:30PM

Sport and Recreation Expo


1:30PM - 3:00PM

Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre

Embracing people with disability is good for business – the importance of economic participation to the individual, the business and society.  

In this session participants will be educated and get an understanding on just how much impact people with disability have on the economy. Participants will also hear about the importance of true universal design when developing programs and how best to put people with disability in the box seat of this. The panel will also touch on the importance of employment and what supports are in place to support this.

  • Supporting people with a disability to have meaningful employment opportunities is good for workplace culture, which is good for business! – April Wilson, Inclusion & Programs Manager – Gymnastics Victoria

  • Programming for inclusion Vicky Lee, Founder and Director – Slamin Tennis and Fitness

  • What is required to develop a sustainable and scalable Disability Sport Hub model that will retain regular participation in sport programs amongst all people with a disability? – Leanne Cacoyiannis, Leisure Programs Coordinator – Hume City Council
  • What are the needs of women with a disability who want to work in the sport and recreation sector? Professor Clare Hanlon, Susan Alberti Women in Sport Chair – Victoria University

3:00PM - 4:00PM

Expo Area


4:00PM - 5:00PM

Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre

Where to next? What does the disability sport landscape look like in 2030 and what are the biggest challenges in our way?  

Some great strides have been made over the past 10 years, but looking ahead to the future what are the major challenges posed to the sector? Embracing key learnings and teachings from panel members and delegates to develop a roadmap for the sector to use over the next few years. Mass participation events and partnerships are only part of a bigger engagement strategy for people with disability.

  • Sport 2030 a disability sport lense what do we need to know in our space, what are the new opportunities that are available? – Adrian Tobin, Founder – Kinlab 
  • How can we break down the barriers of the ‘protecting our turf mentality’ how can we stop duplication of programs and create a collective voice? – Richard Amon, Chief Executive Officer – Disability Sport & Recreation
  • Change makers, how can sports embed disability sport at the top level all the way down to a grassroots community level – Aaron Dragwidge, Diversity & Inclusion Specialist – Cricket Australia
  • An international perspective: Project Ability- How to drive disability sport, integrated competitive sport events and inclusive competition through effective partnerships with national sporting bodies and government? Alison Oliver, Chief Executive Officer – Youth Sport Trust (UK)?


National Sports Convention 2019 Closes