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West Australians celebrated for excellence in supporting people with disability

A group of award winners standing in front of a blue curtain, some are holding their awards


West Australian frontline workers and leaders from disability support organisations were recognised for the impact they have had on the lives of people with disability at a gala event in the Grand Ballroom at Crown Perth on 24 March. 

Hosted by National Disability Services, in partnership with the WA Department of Communities, the WA Disability Awards 2023 recognised the achievements of people and organisations in seven categories, with awardees and runners-up chosen from nominations from across the state.    

Among more than 600 guests at the dinner were more than 140 people with disability and their companions who received tickets from sponsor Lotterywest. Many got to see the support workers and organisations they know so well being applauded for their great work.   

In his opening address, the Disability Services Minister, the Hon. Don Punch MLA, said, “The McGowan Government is proud to support the WA Disability Support Awards, which recognise the very best of the best and shine a well-deserved light on the commitment to excellence demonstrated by all the nominees across seven award categories.”  

Conceived 14 years ago, the awards recognise achievement across a broad spectrum of support, highlighting not just hard work of service providers and their workers, but also their innovation, dedication to human rights, diversity and inclusion, and their contribution to regional and remote services.     

A highlight of the presentation was the award for Excellence in Supporting Employment Outcomes, which went to Will’s World from Broome. Will is a young man with a disability who started his own lawn care business which, in a very short time, has grown to employ others. His support team were there to celebrate with him. Will (left) of Will's World with the Excellence in Supporting Employment Outcomes Award with Support Team Leader Nathan Allaway. 

Image description (right): Will's World received the award for Excellence in Supporting Employment Outcomes at the 2023 WA Disability Awards

In the Excellence in Home and Family Support category, Cindy Jane from SensesWA was recognised for her patience and care in supporting people with disability to live their fullest lives. Her nominator, Kimberly, a young woman with complex needs, wrote about the great difference Cindy has made to her work, family and social life. 

The Superyou Driving Service team, led by occupational therapists Andrew Browton and Jodie Herberte, won the Excellence in Innovation Award. They work closely with clients to find the best vehicle modification, then tailor a plan for mobility independence. 

The Excellence in Rights Promotion Award went to John Holdcroft, described by his employer Workpower as a “shining star in the disability sector.” He draws on his long recruitment experience, a bit of lateral thinking and loads of enthusiasm to get people with disability to places they hardly dreamt they could go. 

Carmelisa Biddle from Interchange WA in Mandurah received the Excellence in Supporting Inclusion and Citizenship Award for her work with Hayley, a person with disability, who dreamt of starting an inclusive disco in the town and, with Carmelisa’s encouragement and practical support, saw the dream come true.  

Working in the wheatbelt, Deb Cording received the Excellence in Regional Support Award for her support and encouragement of Tom, who, isolated and at rock bottom, re-joined society, took up photography again and has even held his own photographic exhibition. 

In the last category, Excellence in Leadership, the award went to Uvana Sewpersadh, who rapidly built fledgeling service provider LifeLift into a bustling support organisation by showing the sort of day-to-day problem-solving, organisation and care that marks great leadership.  

As well as the chance to celebrate excellence, the guests were treated to performances from Circus WA and DAPAK.  

Circus WA’s support of emerging artists in the circus arts includes their Level Up Circus Academy, which delivers training to youth with disability and aboriginal youth. Young performers Arlo Corfield and Belle Butler were joined in an excerpt from their latest show ‘b’spoke’ by fifteen-year-old Olivia Riley, who has been training for two years in their disabilities program.   

DAPAK, standing for Dance Ability Performing Arts Kelete, is a not-for-profit performing arts company for people with disability, who performed songs from the Greatest Showman. 

As well as the gala entertainment and the social attractions of the gathering, the WA Disability Support Awards has a more practical purpose: highlighting excellence and setting aspirational standards for providers.     

NDS WA State Manager Coralie Flatters said, “The Awards play an important role in building a sustainable, quality disability workforce, showcasing best practice in support work and promoting the sector as a great place for a rewarding career.” 

NDS in WA would like to thank our sponsors for helping us make this a great night for all. Gold sponsors for this event were HESTA and Insurance Commission of WA. Our Silver Sponsor was Arch Recruitment, and our Photo Booth Sponsor was Resolute Insurance Brokers.  

Our congratulations go to this year’s awardees and, indeed, all those nominated. Your work is integral to building an inclusive and equitable society, and you should be immensely proud of your commitment to supporting people with disability to achieve their goals and live their lives on their terms. 

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Coralie Flatters, State Manager WA, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number