Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability - Independent adviser to the WA Minister for Disability Services - Keeping government informed

Joan Foley

Ms Joan Foley

1st Term: 01/01/2018 – 31/12/2019

As a nurse, a daughter of a nurse, the niece of an Uncle with a disability and mother of two children with different disabilities, my knowledge of the needs of people with disabilities has always been by the side of those on this journey. The labelling required by the systems of supports in place, as a nurse I challenge. The labels given to my kids were removed by them at every junction.

The formation of Hedland Community Living Assn (for families with disabled family members) in 1996 became a tool for uniting and giving strength and power to those in our community faced with the challenges of having a life with a disability, away from family and extra support. That disabilities do not discriminate gives a great representation of society with us all becoming our “Hedland family” as we push for change, inclusion and joy together.

The activities and changes for which I have been an advocate, have been at a grass-roots level and mostly in an area that is quite isolated and poorly serviced. Lobbying saw the achievement of a wheelchair taxi service, a team of wheelchair young athletes enter the Black Rock Stakes, wider pathways, accessible toilets for local events, $1.6M for wheelchair access to the high school, $2.6M for a respite building for families with disabled family members, education assistants being given ongoing position status and the introduction of accessible “TransHedland Buses”.

I consider myself truly blessed to count as my friends, the amazing families that have been a part of our organisation over the last 20 years together and their power in making these changes.