Steering committee and working groups

The development of the Northern Territory Disability Strategy will involve a steering committee and working groups.

Steering committee

A steering committee will guide the consultation approach and development of the strategy.

It will include representation from people with disability, carers, advocacy organisations and peak bodies, Aboriginal community controlled organisations, the disability sector, local government and the Northern Territory (NT) Government.

TFHC is committed to partnering closely with people with lived experience of disability and the sector to ensure the strategy is a practical ‘live document’ that mobilises collective ownership and commitment across multiple stakeholder groups.

The steering committee, which will be co-chaired by the General Manager, Community Participation and Inclusion; a person with lived experience, Ms Liz Reid and a sector representative Ms Annie Rily.

The steering committee will meet very six weeks and a communique from the meeting including key outcomes and discussion at meetings will be provided below.

You can contact members to talk about the strategy, those things that are important to you and your input to the consultation.

Members and contacts

Member Job titleRepresenting
Helena Wright (Co-Chair) General Manager Community Participation and Inclusion Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities
Annie Riley (Co-Chair) CEO – Carpentaria Disability Services Chair – National Disability Services - NT National Disability Services - NT
Liz Reid AM (Co Chair) Executive Officer, Youth Worx; Member, National Disability Strategy Reform Steering Group; Member, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations Board; President, Physical Disability Australia Member, National Disability Insurance Agency Independent Advisory Council  
Chris Blackham-Davison Northern Territory Disability Advisory Committee - Chair Northern Territory Disability Advisory Committee
Sean Holden Chief Executive Local Government Association NT Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT)
Deborah Di Natale Chief Executive Officer Northern Territory Council of Social Services
David Woodroffe Principal Legal Officer at North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA)/ Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory (APO NT)
Gemina Corpus TBC Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT)
Nadia Lindop Deputy Chair NDS –NT CEO Machado-Joseph Disease Foundation National Disability Services Northern Territory
Lawson Broad Deputy Chair NDS –NT CEO Somerville Community services National Disability Services – Northern Territory
Alison O’Connor General Manager Integrated Disability Action
Steve Vitone Chief Executive Officer Carers NT
Mr Geoff Radford Executive Officer Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition
Ms Kellie Streeter Team Leader Seniors and Disability Rights Services, Darwin Community Legal Service Northern Territory Disability Advocacy Collective
Cindy Jarvis Director Social Policy Northern Territory Government, Department of the Chief Minister and Cabinet
TBC TBC Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Direct any queries to the steering committee secretariat at the Office of Disability by email or phone 08 8999 2445.


The NT Disability Strategy Steering Committee held its second meeting on 10 November 2021.

The committee noted the progress on the NT Disability Strategy public consultation and key themes which had been reported from the consultation to date. A summary of the progress and key themes is provided below.

Progress update

Following the Minister for Disabilities launching the public consultation on the 4 October 2021, Darwin Community Legal Service and Disability Advocacy Service commenced face-to-face consultation sessions on the strategy. These sessions were available in Darwin, Katherine, Tiwi Islands, Nhulunbuy, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Amoonguna, up to 22 November 2021.

Darwin Community Legal Service and Disability Advocacy Service are also providing support to individuals and groups to complete the online submission process; or to provide a submission in an alternative format.

The committee agreed to extend the consultation period until 31 December 2021 and Darwin Community Legal Service agreed to continue to provide support to individuals and groups via phone to complete their online submission until 24 December 2021.

Four working groups have been established to support consultation and seek the input of stakeholders, including people with lived experience and advocates, NT Government agencies and statutory offices, main-stream service providers, and the National Disability Insurance Agency and specialist disability services providers.

The Office of Disability received seven submissions coordinated by Victoria Daly Regional Council. The Have Your Say website had received 521 visits and 18 submissions as at 4 November 2021.

Key themes

An overarching theme of the feedback received to date is people need to have their immediate and basic needs met such as housing, food, employment and education, before they can consider other priorities. Other key themes from consultation to date focus on what is good, what needs changing and how to make life better.

Feedback on what is good for people living with disability includes:

  • family and friends
  • living in their own community and on country
  • being close to services and amenities
  • availability of teleservices
  • employment of Aboriginal people from their community to support them
  • access to respite, and
  • therapy services (when available).

Feedback on what is working and needs to change for people living with disability includes:

  • reduced wait times for services (allied health services in particular)
  • improved transport to enable access to services (particularly for those living remotely)
  • reduced cost of services
  • a holistic services for school-aged children
  • improved quality of specialist disability services and experienced of staff
  • to be listened to
  • more affordable housing
  • more accessible infrastructure in homes and in the community
  • improved community attitudes to remove low societal expectations, and
  • improved support in the work place, including flexibility.

Feedback on how to make life better for people living with disability includes:

  • supporting and encouraging health services and providers to work and stay in the NT long-term
  • hands on quality assurance and checking of services
  • professional support to help families look after their own, including respite
  • financial support, particularly around the cost of health services
  • independent disability advocacy service for employees in any sector to increase employability of people with disability, and support employers to be disability confident
  • more flexible work arrangements
  • more services in remote that listen and build relationships in a holistic and culturally appropriate way, and
  • early diagnosis, screening testing and affordable diagnostic options.

NT Disability Strategy

The discussion paper and a survey for the consultation are available on the NT Government’s Have Your Say website. The NT Disability Strategy website provides a one-stop-shop of information stakeholders need to know about the development of the strategy.

The next committee meeting will be held late January 2022.

The NT Disability Strategy Steering Committee held its inaugural meeting on 21 September 2021. The role of the steering committee is to oversee the development of the first NT Disability Strategy.

Steering committee membership consists of the following important stakeholders:

  • The Northern Territory Disability Advisory Committee (NT DAC)
  • National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) Independent Advisory Council
  • National Disability Services NT
  • Carpentaria Disability Services
  • Somerville Community Services
  • Machado-Joseph Disease Foundation
  • Carers NT
  • Integrated disAbility Action
  • NT Mental Health Coalition
  • Darwin Community Legal Services (DCLS)
  • Disability Advocacy Services (DAS)
  • Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT)
  • Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT (APONT)
  • Northern Territory Council of Social Services (NTCOSS)
  • Local Government Association of the NT (LGANT)
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • NT Disability Advocacy Collective
  • NT Government agencies.

The committee noted the work done to date on the NT Disability Strategy which will be a 10 year whole-of-community, whole-of-government strategy that will:

  • show principles, a vision, goals, outcomes and priority areas for 2022-32
  • describe what people with disability in the Territory need, to have a good life and to make an accessible and inclusive society where people with disability can reach their full potential
  • tell us where we are now, what we want in the future, how we will achieve it; and how we will know if we have made a difference
  • help government and community work together to make change, and
  • show how the NT is fulfilling its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disability; and the NT commitment to Australia’s Disability Strategy (ADS), which is to be released in late 2021.

Consultation to develop the strategy will be supported through Darwin Community Legal Service and Disability Advocacy Service, to ensure the voices of people with lived experience, their families and carers is reflected throughout the strategy. The consultation will also ensure the voices of regional and remote people with lived experience is captured.

Consultation commenced on 4 October 2021 and further information can be found via Northern Territory Disability Strategy.

A key action for members will be to provide feedback to the committee on how they can contribute to promoting the strategy; consultation; and supporting their networks to provide input to the strategy.

A number of working groups representing National Disability Insurance Scheme, government agencies, specialist disability providers, advocates and mainstream services will develop actions to support the 10 year strategy. The committee will meet six weekly and provide a communique following each meeting.

Working groups

Four working groups will also be established as part of the consultation process.

Working groups will:

  • inform the development for the strategy
  • ensure stakeholder input
  • support a process for co-design.

The four groups provide the following representation:

  • Working group 1 – people with lived experience of disability and advocates
  • Working group 2 – NT Government and statutory offices
  • Working group 3 – mainstream services
  • Working group 4 – National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Membership of the working groups requires:

  • a collaborative approach
  • engagement with the stakeholders that members represent
  • understanding of the issues of importance for people with disability in the NT.

You can contact members of the working groups to talk about the strategy and your input to the consultation.

Members and contact details will be provided following their establishment.

Last updated: 05 January 2022

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