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In his address to the Canberra Business Chamber on the State of the Territory Chief Minister Andrew Barr made it very clear that he will continue to promote and support ‘Inclusion’ across the government and the territory and would be adding Yvette Berry as his ‘sidekick’ to the task of getting involved in all aspects of what is needed in the disability sector. OK sidekick is my word, Yvette’s own title had me in stitches and sorry I can’t repeat it here because it was a bit blushmaking under the circumstances but I’ll file it for the future.
We were gathered in the industrial strength designed space that is Hotel Hotel and Monster Bar of the Nishi Building for a celebratory lunch in the Mosaic Room to acknowledge and present the sponsors of the Inclusion Awards with a framed certificate that is invaluable to the continuation of the awards that have made a significant difference to all aspects of the disability sector.
The 2014 awards were a mix of joy and sadness. Joy for all those awarded and sadness that Stella Young had died a few days prior to what was a favourite gig for this most exceptional advocate and inspiring person with a zingy sense of style and performance. But her absence brought out the best in all of us to make sure that those who most need our support will get it and Paul Donohue’s beautiful tribute to Stella Young on the awards night brought tears and laughter for a woman who epitomised the ability of the disabled.
At this lunch it was David Heckendorf who as a judge of the awards is well able to assess the contenders. He - and his wife – have cerebal palsy. They require carers for many basic tasks and accompanying David at this lunch was Minoli Nugara one of a happy band of carers who admire and respect this couple. David has an online business trading coins, is a director of a company that requires him to travel to Brisbane and Melbourne often and has jut registered for GST which indicates he’s making money. He’s an ANU law graduate and worked for many years as a public servant. And for me an exceptional person with a wonderful personality and incredible tenacity. Oh, and he’s in a wheelchair.
You never know unless you take time to find out. Inclusion means taking time to make the adjustments and changes, to support and acknowledge when that can make a difference in a life that is tough enough already.