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Young disability activists call for meaningful change in school and employment pathways

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

We are a group of students and young adults in our early careers with cerebral palsy who have come together this year to advocate on issues that matter to us. You can call us: CPActive Next Gen.

Using the CPActive platform, we have been working tirelessly to develop an actionable policy that creates accessible pathways from school to work, especially for those living with cerebral palsy and similar disabilities.

Come along and join us to hear about our campaign and what change we want to see in NSW to make school and work more inclusive.

Join us on Wednesday November 23 at 12pm to 2pm

Level 26 Tower 3/300 Barangaroo Ave, Sydney

Register on this page to come and join us as we launch our campaign, in our voices.

What: CPActive NextGen Champions Campaign Launch

When: Wednesday, November 23 from 12pm – 2pm

Where: KPMG Offices, Level 26, Tower 3/300 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney

Who: Hear about our campaign, in our voices: CPActive NextGen champions

A light catered lunch will be provided for guests. Please email dietary requirements to

How to get there:

  • By train: Wynyard Station – Follow the signs for Exit 4 where you will find a lift that takes you up to the main Barangaroo concourse

  • By ferry: Barangaroo Ferry Wharf where there are accessible opal gates and a flat journey from the wharf to the Tower

  • By car: The nearest car park is King Street Wharf Secure Parking, 1 Shelley Street, Sydney. Entry via Shelley street. The car park has disability access with a restricted lift and a ramp. The journey from this car park to Barangaroo Tower 3 is approximately 5 minutes via a pathway with accessible pedestrian crossings.

Who is invited?

You are! Whether you are someone with a disability who is a student, a young person or an adult, or a friend, family member or carer of someone with disability, a corporate partner or simply someone who wants to hear more and support our campaign. We encourage you to join us.

Can’t make it? Make sure you join our campaign, and we’ll keep you up to date with our next virtual event, coming soon!

Auslan and captioning will be provided. A special thank you to KPMG for supporting CPActive by giving us special access to their offices in the heart of Sydney to launch this campaign.


Wednesday, 23 November - 12pm - 2pm


KPMG Offices - Level 26, Tower 3/300 Barangaroo Avenue, Sydney 2000

The campaign:

Our school and employment systems aren’t designed to give young people with disabilities the same opportunities as everyone else. Ahead of the NSW election, a group of young disability activists are calling for more action from our political leaders across all major parties to change this.

Join us over lunch at KPMG's Barangaroo HQ for a compelling presentation from CPActive, a group of brilliant young people with cerebral palsy who are calling for action and blazing a trail for greater inclusion and diversity in society.

A group of young activists can speak about the campaign, including:

  • Tahlia Blanshard: Australian national footballer with the ParaMatildas

  • Meret Hassanen: filmmaker and ABC producer

  • Declan Lee: Juris Doctor candidate and disability advocate

NSW Labor’s spokesperson for disability inclusion, Kate Washington MP, will also be in attendance. NSW Minister for Disability Services, Natasha Maclaren-Jones MP, has also been invited

About us:

Cerebral Palsy Alliance is a ground-breaking, global centre of expertise for cerebral palsy research, advocacy, intervention and assistive technology innovation.

As the world’s largest private funder of cerebral palsy research, we bring together a powerful alliance of great minds.  Our research-informed interventions are world-class, our unique accelerator program is unlocking the potential of technology to drive greater inclusion for people with disability, and our voice is a powerhouse for bringing together communities and countries in effecting change.

For over 75 years, we have been driven by our founders’ vision of a future where nothing is impossible for people with cerebral palsy and similar conditions. Today, the 17million+ global cerebral palsy community, together with our 2500+ employees and 150,000+ donors, fundraisers and entrepreneurs, are contributing to solving the next set of impossibilities.

Unknown Speaker 0:07

So as mentioned, my name is Talia and I am a youth and disability advocate. I've had the privilege to work with many organizations over the past few years. And I am passionate about amplifying youth voices to Parliament, especially within the areas of the NDIS sports and the reasons that we are all here today, education and employment. Also earlier this year, I had the honor of making my international debut as a member of the Australian CommBank parameters at the 2022 cerebral palsy Football World Cup where we qualified for the grand final and brought home the silver medal.

Unknown Speaker 0:54

Being a part of the CP active has been such a fantastic experience. And I cannot wait to introduce you all to some of my fantastic friends and the plans that we have worked so hard to develop. The CP active is a campaign community that brings together individuals with cerebral palsy, their families and allies who are passionate about creating a more inclusive and accessible future for Australians. In many ways, the CP active has been a world first providing opportunities for people to come together in community like never before across state, national and international levels. The work we're presenting to you today has been the effort of a group of young people with CP who form part of the CP active community. We've been meeting virtually and face to face to talk about issues that matter to us, and how we can create systems that are more inclusive for young people with cerebral palsy. And it is incredible that we finally have the opportunity to share our stories and ideas with the wider community. We're making our voices loud and clear this election telling all major parties and independents that it's time to improve our schooling and employment systems in New South Wales to make the system more inclusive for young people with cerebral palsy, and all other people with disabilities. Today, you will have the opportunity to hear from a number of young people but at this point in the event I would like to acknowledge the work of all of our members who we like to call CPE active champions and take this time to introduce the room to them now so today with us if you'd like to give away for a smile we have Sophie jeans I'm Nicole kazoo Aaron would

Unknown Speaker 3:10

merit Hussmann Jack culturally Nicholas Lapsley Jacumba touching Ireland Shaw nourish a pride Sasha dancer and Joseph visa Here is a short video we have recently put together to showcase some of the work that we've been up to

Unknown Speaker 4:04

any young person with a disability you are high risk clearly not afraid that there are people who are walking alongside you there are people who have walked behind here and are people who are gonna walk behind you as well but that was ahead of us as well what will enrich our hands because we're all proud of this for the community over

Unknown Speaker 4:31

time take charge of my own life. They won't say necessarily fires but might help other people along the way and it definitely led nakijin company was in the same

Unknown Speaker 4:57


Unknown Speaker 5:00

Question I'm doing

Unknown Speaker 5:06

in my high school setting I've never heard that story or I've never gotten one I can move that thing out more

Unknown Speaker 5:19

i to what

Unknown Speaker 5:30

I want to look like Oh what's up know I couldn't do that for myself like

Unknown Speaker 5:43

a 20 point now we know it's doing that no no

Unknown Speaker 6:09

that really started oh my god complex

Unknown Speaker 6:14

three of the conversations we've had today with the provisions and also in the attitudes about just listening to us and there's so much that could be done on those little changes and one of the smallest changes just listening

Unknown Speaker 6:33

we made that we know our birthday that was that was the

Unknown Speaker 6:47

treaty itself I'm going to show you you really are gonna be honest with your brain would like to see this program go international in our web geography in other countries and also Australia and other states. So everyone was willing to share our work in it to get more people in and more stories all that way original water that you didn't get

Unknown Speaker 7:42

wet hole on the same path together in some way or another. So if we can all band together get to some of these events that sang alongside we can we can really shake the ground.

Unknown Speaker 8:08

Too many of you hear the issues facing the issues faced by people with a disability when it comes to having access to equitable employment pathways are well understood. However, it is my guess to some of you, much like the wider members of our community, these issues can become quite invisible. It's roughly understood by most people that employment rates of disability are significantly lower. But we've studied showing that only 48% of Australians with a disability are being employed in comparison to 80% of Australians without a disability. It's quite significant. Research also tells us that students with disability do not receive adequate support to prepare, think about and plan for parkways after school, and they report that when support is received, it is often limited and poor. It is time to improve the school to work pathways for students with disabilities. Missing the active blaze the trail campaign is calling for all candidates and representatives at the next election to commit to inclusive school to work pathway strategy for New South Wales. We want this strategy to be designed by students with disability in partnership with educators, employers and the community be consistent with human rights obligations under the UN CRPD and include measurable targets that will be reported on annually. Our proposed strategy will make the pathways from school to work better for young people with cerebral palsy, three days three chaos, one, clear, consistent, and enforceable guidelines for support around assessments at school and university for students with disabilities, to pathways for people living with disabilities to enter, and the teaching workforce and three, a statewide initiative supporting the development of pathways for students living with disability into large businesses, government departments and community organizations.

Unknown Speaker 10:45

Part of my story, which, at 22 is not yet very long, but I feel like I couldn't stand and talk for hours about includes when I was at school, I didn't have access to provisions for my exams and assessments until I was in Year 11. And the when I first had access to my provisions, that was actually the first time I ever completed an exam, my entire time I was at school. And that then caused a bit of controversy as I went from being in the middle of the class to being at the top, where I always thought that I belonged. But my marks didn't reflect. Going on to university, I was preparing for the same hard battle for provisions. But I was really excited when my university said that they would automatically allocate me all provisions that I had access to at school. And I was really excited. But very quickly, my university realized that the provisions that I had access to at school was still not adequate, adequate for my needs. And we spent the next couple of years modifying everything to make the university as accessible as possible. Although this is still not being a perfect journey, as I experienced Arlene last year with an assessment where I had worked very hard and actually taught my anatomy mid semester. After that, I had my teacher come to me and say the next assessment I will be required to do without any provisions to prove that that was truly due to me studying not just my provisions. That was really hard. And I'm so grateful for the Diversity Equity Team who helped me be able to keep majority of my provisions for that assessment. But all my experiences through school rule, so not bad. Something that was so important to me was one teacher in particular, who was educated in disability and understood cerebral palsy, more than I even did at the time, as I was misdiagnosed, and was going through a process of diagnosis. But without actually telling me what she was doing. She had made so many changes in that classroom to make it more accessible to me. And I had no idea why not suddenly became my favorite subject after not being for a long time. And it was because it was the one class that I could go into, and I had access to all the notes, I had access to every bit of support that I could possibly need. And I was accepted for who I was even without the official piece of paper yet. I am really lucky that through my roles in sport and advocacy, I have the opportunity to connect with many young people who are disabled. And it is truly heartbreaking to me when I hear them telling me the same stories of what I experienced when I was their age. I think as a kid, I truly believed that things would be better for the next group. And it didn't really matter that much. But we're still here and that's why we're all here today. So to speak in more detail about these assets. I would like to introduce some of my colleagues and really good friends to share with you their unique experiences and perspectives. First up to talk to you about kiosk one, we have CPGs and the coal because Oh, Sophie has recently completed a Bachelor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies and is a disability advocate working in the sector for the last five years, she is about to commence a new role as the policy officer of first people's Disability Network. Congratulations on that Sophie and Nicole is a is also a disability advocate and is currently a member of a young adult Advisory Committee for the National Health and Medical Research Council, as well as as well as that she is part of the participation theme team CP achieve and Center of Research Excellence. As part of this team. Nicole provides lived experience input to health professionals and researchers on several issues for young adults with cerebral palsy. Nicole is also studying inclusive education at university welcome both Sophie and Nicole.

Unknown Speaker 16:25

Hi everyone. So today we answer all candidates and represent you up to date save a lot.

Unknown Speaker 16:48

Of the lip save election to create clear, consistent and portable guidelines for more support more support around campuses and university. Let us take you through two different scenarios with two different educational settings. Where Where, where there has been inclusive legislation, but as we often say, with with inclusive policies, this is not this is not put into put into action. And the delivery of these policies are often very different.

Unknown Speaker 17:39

Imagine getting 330 days of school with the stress of the extra say, already placed on you. So I honestly don't imagine going to school and witness just the agitation of appendage you reflect you reflect on the last six seasons cope with the g7 he had been able to take as much extra time required for written written exams. This is because he and other secondary impairments. This is because the three implement and you're slower personally, not to mention dictating every word or punctuation that needs to go into 1000 word essay

Unknown Speaker 18:34

you get he gets he gets it you get cheap wealth with the shares that the agency already placed upon you. You go through rigorous sound data, which are once again highlighting that you are not physically at the same level as your peers. And these assessments are a wants to get and to prove the end to prove the reason that you require just despite the school, documenting all the extra time required to do seven phases, and there is assessments being submitted to the commission that that gets submitted to the board of standards. You will be worked on that you can only have two minutes extra per half hour. Because this is what are the students with discipline to sell cars they have received previously, in the years before. On another. On another note these permissions were open. We're open saying and on another note these provisions that were approved are often seen as an unfair advantage by your peers creating creating social So to break down for kids and other students

Unknown Speaker 20:16

to do it educating or I think for short is when dated but it will be Discrimination Act 1992 And then due to poor education aims to re adjust schools so that he or she becomes assessable is still with me yeah they're raising boy just with the I have received having started to batch and decrease our PA consistent across the two education institution Let me provide you with this theory the input I work with university I am new to this interest between the two university i i will still be opening our up seemed to all my lectures and Chikara set hours our C's things to teach you worth taking into Russian processing names in university I clearly fly King in addition 30 minutes an hour isn't only 10 Also this versity I stays there no Why did all you need we know when

Unknown Speaker 24:02

we know that Allah if not all students in use in other it your all students with disability hearing is a proud face these concerns throughout their education whether that's in height whether that's in the school system or tertiary education

Unknown Speaker 24:38

this cause for the need for the government agencies mandating a shootings I up so that it can maintain and enforce in over educational institutions. So in Newark, New Jersey know exactly what support they will receive, we can see and enforce support guidelines for support around the test at school in the university

Unknown Speaker 25:24

speaking detail about chaos number two, we would like to welcome our colleagues, Earnshaw and Aaron wood aren't you studying about media and communications and and, and a Bachelor of Psychology at the University and, and is an intern, an Asian international butcher athlete, he his passion, his passion for sport and a media has led has led him to grow as a panelist in a weekly Sports Show. Aaron is currently home is currently completing high school to do through through higher education and it's it's just an East coach. And it is so and he's the coaching assistant and co founder of the argument run AC T winning race winning race fighting phrase to Canberra due to the sale to the term quasi community of Canberra

Unknown Speaker 27:07

Aaron trends of the squat Aaron's range described as far a young athlete as as part of as part of this program and is and is run out of the the Australian Institute of Sport. Aaron is currently part of the of the novel study which is a groundbreaking groundbreaking research project into the physical effects of cerebral palsy of muscles

Unknown Speaker 27:52

Wait a minute, we have handouts. Hey, welcome pretty because we're having a bit of a like problems over here.

Unknown Speaker 28:21

I'm also part of the strangles choir. So it's a very big group. You may know we kind of go everywhere currently preparing for international national tours. I had an impression night on Monday. Unfortunately, they are not going to help me get through to international nationals. So now let me do my thing. Really good. Okay, I'll keep talking about it like always? Yes, probably. Okay. Don't throw him over. But here we go. Hi, my name is Arne. I'm from the AC T. I'm here to tell one of my many life stories. This happened. This story in particular happened in actually happened in earlier this year. So amazing opportunity came through my local CMIT Bocelli learning opportunity. I think I just watched that Monday night. That's a yes vlR it was a systemic risk students, for you 10 And above especially units or programs or public high schools or college. In the ICT, it's fulfilling it film. It also filled through to the home Education Department. A pilot program for 10 for for a 10 week.

Unknown Speaker 29:55

Classified holidays even worse, because I'm one aren't How many of us like getting a

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