Inclusion is everybody’s business, and it’s through collaborations that we can support communities to develop their social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities.

Regional Inclusion Ready Officers Colleen Lowe in Mount Isa, Peta O’Neill in Atherton and Melissa Lay and Cathy Bohanna-Martin in the Fraser Coast region have been appointed to help create interactions and connections between local communities and people with disabilities.

The Regional Inclusion Ready Officers will identify key stakeholders and organisations that have an interest in engaging in Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC).

They will play a significant role in supporting ILC activities by working closely with people with disability and their families as well as seeking other opportunities.

Colleen Lowe is the Regional Inclusion Ready Officer for Mount Isa, based at partnering organisation Young People Ahead. Colleen has worked in the Community Services Industry in child protection and early intervention for 13 years in Mount Isa and Cairns. Born and raised in Mount Isa, she has strong connections to community and country.

As part of the Inclusion Ready project, Colleen is working with youth peer mentor Danielle Pittis on the H.Y.P.E.2 (History, Youth, Place, Economic Development and Environment) project.

This project will upskill young people with disability in media, marketing and communications; project management; innovation; and community engagement. We will bring you exciting updates on the project as it rolls out in the coming months.

CSIA has partnered with Tablelands Regional Council to appoint Peta O’Neill as the Regional Inclusion Ready Officer in Atherton. Peta has worked in the Community Services Industry in the Tablelands and Cape York regions for almost two decades.

Peta will engage local business, government and community leaders through a series of networking events and information evenings. A data gathering process will be used during the project to identify and evaluate challenges to access and participation in the region.

Melissa Lay is one of two Regional Inclusion Ready Officers on the Fraser Coast. Melissa has worked in the Community Services Industry for a number of years in employment services. She is experienced in grant writing and encouraging businesses to be more inclusive.

Cathy Bohanna-Martin is also a Regional Inclusion Ready Officer on the Fraser Coast. Cathy has worked in Home and Community Care programs and The Fraser Coast Multicultural Respite Service, a social, respite and group support program for the aged and people with disability.

Melissa and Cathy are based at partnering organisation Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre.

The three regional communities are unique in what they bring to the project.

We look forward to bringing you updates as the Regional Inclusion Ready projects roll out across the regions.