Inclusion Awards 2017 @ National Museum of Australia

14 December 2017

The one event that brings a fantastic year ending night of nights for me is the ACT Chief Minster’s Inclusion Awards. That I’ve made it to the end of the year still vertical, mobile and hoisting the camera along for the ride is one part, but the sheer pleasure, exuberance and excitement of those for whom this event is their magic night of the year brings all that emotion charged joy of being a part of it to the surface. I get emotional, with always a few tears, but also there's lots of fun and frivolity being among those who contribute so much to make our city such an inclusive community. The recipients are inspiring, the families, carers and businesses which are honoured at this glam event deserve all the accolades it brings and the continuing efforts by all involved can only make us strive for the best outcomes for an inclusive society.

There was a new face was at the helm of this year’s event at the National Museum of Australia with Laura Campbell exuding panache and personality with style to delight us all. Her background in disability advocacy led to her finding a niche in stand up comedy that augured well for this gig and we loved her fresh and funny perspective.

Guest artist Andy Dexterity, is a man of many talents. Not the least of which was his magnificent moustache but his combination of dance, sign language and theatre to the music of Queen had this audience in his hands. Those hands teach Auslan(Australian Sign Language) at two universities. He teaches dance, movement, yoga and meditation and taught us all how ‘signdancing’ can be fun and a whole new world of communicating.

But this night was about the awards; recognising inclusion in employment, education and training,  young leaders, innovation, sport, support work, design areas and in specialist disability services.  

The winner of the 2017 ACT Chief Minister’s Award for Excellence is The Dandelion Program/ DXC Technology. It is an employment program that is focussing on assisting people with autism to obtain IT careers. The program has hired 38 people and launched a work experience program with ANU, UC and the CIT. The focus is on career skills, support for long term success and value adding other life skills. Seeking out their special abilities. And that epitomises what the Inclusion Awards is doing. Encouraging innovation, supporting excellence and rewarding achievements.