What We Do

Disability Voices Tasmania runs projects by people with disability for people with disability to build skills and capacity and confidence to increase participation in our community.

  • What we do
  • What we do

As we work with people with disability to strengthen and promote their voice, and support participation and contribution, our goals are to:

  • Identify and challenge attitudes Identify and challenge attitudes, actions and systems that prevent people with disability from being heard on issues that affect our lives and communities
  • Identify and challenge attitudes Provide opportunities for training and mentoring so we can influence decisions that affect us and our communities
  • Identify and challenge attitudes Encourage all Tasmanians with disability to get involved in our projects
  • Identify and challenge attitudes Give voice to our experiences to create change
  • Identify and challenge attitudes Complement and collaborate with other organisations
  • Identify and challenge attitudes Demonstrate that by excluding people with disability others are excluded.

DVT Projects

There are many ways to have a voice and five contributors were involved in this podcasting project, which was facilitated by Clint Bertenshaw, a skilled podcaster and radio producer. Supported by DVT team members at regular workshops, five contributors learned and experimented on aspects of podcasting – planning, recording, interviewing, editing and promoting. It was an excellent group of people, all with different skills and lots of ideas and enthusiasm.

  • December 2021 to July 2022

  • Online and Moonah Arts Centre

On Saturdays in March and April 2022, two online 2.5 hour sessions were held two weeks apart, to build connections within the group and to learn about technical issues. Each collaborator was provided with their own high-quality microphone which could be used on a mobile phone, iPad, or laptop. Two face-to-face sessions were also held at the Moonah Arts Centre from 10—3pm.

Intended Outcomes

We wanted this to be a fun learning experience where skills and experiences were shared and where we could all support each other’s podcast projects.
Collaborators were supported to have the confidence to contribute to and/or make a podcast while working together to create a unique and high-quality product.

The Collaborators

One collaborator was a proficient audio-visual artist who turned up to the first face-to-face workshop with a electric guitar and a mandolin and ended up providing most of the music for the other podcasts!

Two other people came together and nicknamed themselves ‘The aPaulings.’ They Paul Pritchard and Paul Allen. Both these people are part of a group of people with disability who in late June will be meeting in Alice Springs and hiking 237km across the spine of Tjoritja/MacDonnell Ranges on the challenging Larapinta trail.
And they are thinking of making a podcast as they go with Disability Voices Tasmania’s enthusiastic and technical support.

Another collaborator is a super Dudgeons and Dragons expert and artist. They are making a podcast of a game being played where they add a twist or two. And they are creating artwork for at least one of the other collaborators podcasts.

Another collaborator has already been making music podcasts, and they wanted to make a podcast on Tasmanian music. They mentioned that they would love to interview the Wolfe Brothers, a Tasmanian born and bred country rock music band.
There was lots of excitement, preparation of questions and role plays and then the interview with Nic took place in the Garden Studio at Kickstart Arts in Moonah.
Watch this space for the resulting podcast from this event accessible from this website soon.


The collaborators now have confidence and skills to make or contribute to making a professional podcast. Working together created an energy, respect, and capacity to be highly creative and to problem solve. The sharing of skills was a bonus with music, art and design being an asset.

Several of the collaborators have expressed an interest in assisting the production of a DVT podcast.

Any other musicians with disability out there?


People with disability often find barriers to getting around and communicating because of society’s systems. This is even more important when we have an emergency situation, and we need to enable all people to have a clear and easy path to stay safe. Emergency planning protocols need to be designed with all people in mind and so the team at Disability Voices Tasmania alongside Clarence City Council and consultant Rachel Flitman (consultant) (https://nousgroup.com/people/rachel-flitman/) surveyed people with disability and workshopped the 5 main themes for whole community emergency planning. The 5 themes are:

  • get-involved-tick-green-icon Access (physical and IT)
  • get-involved-tick-green-icon Connections (networks)
  • get-involved-tick-green-icon Mental Health
  • get-involved-tick-green-icon Security (food, financial and medical)
  • get-involved-tick-green-icon Technological connectedness

  • October 2021 to May 2022

Where and when: The survey was circulated in November 2021 and a Workshop was held online on 26 February 2022 and contributors were provided feedback on the current research and survey results.

Who: Julie Anderson (Clarence City Council), Richard Witbreuk of Disability Voices Tasmania, Rachel Flitman, and collaborators with disability.

How: The project has two stages. The first stage was to enable people with disability to gain interviewing skills to be able to facilitate conversation. The second stage was a combination of online surveys and a workshop. The survey was distributed via emails and shared on social media pages. This was followed up with a workshop conducted via zoom. This is where the major themes from the research and survey were discussed and developed. Contributors were able to discuss the themes and provide recommendations.


Collaborators (people with disability) have built knowledge and awareness about emergency response planning and contributed to the end products of a disaster lifecycle journey map that identifies gaps in current Council emergency management plans.

DVT’s aim is for councils to offer co-designed solutions to emergency planning, using lived experience perspectives that promote inclusivity. This is achieved by enabling people with disability to start a conversation with local councils, which we support.

An Inclusive Emergency Plan checklist has been developed and shared with Clarence City Council and it is intended to be used by all Councils across Tasmania.

Get Involved (or want to find out more (projects@))

This project explores what is disability pride? What does it look, and feel like? How can we engage, celebrate it, and use it?

What is disability pride? We think most people with disability have different ideas, some may not have heard this term and conversations about disability pride will open up discussions and develop people’s understanding.

One definition of disability pride is ‘the coming together of people with disability to celebrate our survival and contribution to society. To explore our differences and commonalities. To be powerfully visible.’

In this project we will discover and explore what it might mean to you as an individual and what we might find as a group.

We have been having lots of conversations about a Disability Pride Flag, and last year we discovered this design of a Disability Pride Flag, free to use without copyright.

The Disability Pride FlagThe Disability Pride Flag was created by Ann Magill, a disabled woman. The shape is of a lightning bolt with green, red, white, yellow, and blue zig zags with a thin line of black between each colour on a black background.

Ann Magill put meaning to the pattern:

The Black Field: A colour of mourning; for those who have suffered from Ableist violence, and rebellion and protest.

The Five Colours: The variety of needs and experiences (Mental Illness, Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Invisible and Undiagnosed Disabilities, Physical Disability, and Sensory Disabilities)

The Parallel Stripes: Solidarity within the Disability Community and all its differences.

We will be collaborating with Outsider Art to explore how our conversations can be transformed creatively.

  • June to December 2022

Where We will be collaborating with people with disability across south, north and northwest of Tasmania. Initially using Zoom, and hopefully in spring this year some face-to-face sessions.

How We will begin with conversations online – sharing our stories, listening to ideas and exploring how these ideas can be expressed in different forms – written, painted, drawn, filmed, photographed, or even sung. We will start to build a collection of work that reflects you as an individual and our connections, solidarity, and our communities.


This project will be fun, creative, artistic, noisy and quiet, and visible.

We aim to support people with disability to hold their own Disability Pride event on International Day of People with Disability which is December 3rd.

Get Involved

This project is being conducted to enable people with disability to tell their story and influence others to make a difference. The project builds on the pilot Pitch Perfect project to provide knowledge and techniques on how to be an effective self-advocate, and better understand campaigning and leadership.

  • June 2022 to December 2022

Where : We will be collaborating with people with disability across the state via Zoom.

How : Online facilitated workshops will be run to build knowledge and understanding about using your story to influence decision makers and developing your pitch. We will look at campaign strategies and let you present your pitch to politicians and journalists.


The aim is to build capacity and enable people to tell their story. By the end of the project people will become an effective self-advocate, able to build campaigns in a collaborative and supportive environment, building their confidence and networks along the way.

Look out for other exciting projects coming up Get Involved

In 2020 Disability Voices Tasmania worked with Inglis Clarke Centre for Democracy and Human Rights to design and run the Pitch Perfect Project. It wasn’t about singing; it was about fine-tuning your story and about how to use your story to make change for yourself or others.

All workshop sessions were online building knowledge and understanding about using your story to influence decision makers and Developing your pitch. The final event was held at the Wool Store in Hobart where people with a disability each presented their pitch to a politician and a journalist.

At this event we had the Deputy Premier now Premier Jeremy Rockliff, Ella Haddad Labor member for Clarke, Cassy O’Connor Leader of the Tasmanian Greens, and Rob Valentine Independent in the Tasmanian Legislative Council. We had media representatives from SBS and The Advocate and the Mercury and the ABC.


The capacity building was evident of the people with disability who learned through this Pitch Perfect project to focus on their story and share it with influencers. Constructive feedback from each politician and journalist gave the person with disability valuable confidence and in some cases actually created change as a person was re-housed as a result of their self-advocacy and another collaborator achieved some workplace accommodations where before they had ignored their issues and needs.

What We Do

Accessible Tourism Project 2021

A group of people with disability from across the state came together to look at how can we assist the Tourism Industry in Tasmania be more consistently accessible and inclusive. The group met on a regular basis and decided that one of the best ways would be to make a short film.

  • Identify and challenge attitudes
    Identify and challenge attitudes, actions and systems that prevent people with disability from being heard on issues that affect our lives and communities.
  • Encourage all Tasmanians
    Encourage all Tasmanians with disability to get involved in our projects.
  • Provide opportunities
    Provide opportunities for training and mentoring so we can influence decisions that affect us and our communities.
  • Give voice
    Give voice to our experiences to create change.

The group developed a funding brief for the development of a film. A film maker was selected but due to circumstances beyond our control this project was postponed.

We hope that a film will be made when further funding is sourced to reach wider audiences about accessible tourism.

Radio broadcast development

In 2020 Clarence City Council invited Disability Voices Tasmania to join their ICan! Radio Project which ran over October November and December. We got to design, develop, and record our program. Hobart FM did the editing. Our program was played live at the Clarence City Councils International Day event.

Link to the DVT Project where Fiona Strahan interviews four people with a disability


The link to all programs.. I Can! Radio Podcast – City of Clarence : City of Clarence (ccc.tas.gov.au)

It was being involved in this event which sowed the seed for the Disability Voices Tasmania Broadcasting Your Voice Project (What We Do).

Meet the staff

  • Vaughn Bennison

    Vaughn comes from a management and broadcasting background, but has experience in policy development and advocacy. He served for eight years as Manager of Print Radio Tasmania, a state-wide broadcast service specialising in information provision for people with disability. He was also Program Manager with visibility Tasmania, providing services to Tasmanians who are Blind or Vision Impaired. He is a staunch advocate for disability rights and in particular, the need for all organisations to employ people with disability at all levels. Vaughn was inaugural chair of the Tasmanian Branch of Blind Citizens Australia, was Chair of RPH Australia for four years and has held several other committee roles within Tasmania and interstate.

  • Richard Witbreuk

    Richard has been a disability advocate for over five years, advocating for equal access to services including public transport, tourism and emergency management and planning. Richard has had varied occupations across state and local government, as well as community organisations.

  • Holly Lewis


Disability Voices
Work for Systemic

Alongside funded projects, Disability Voices Tasmania’s Board members continue to invest in systemic change. They may lobby government on issues such as the Religious Discrimination Bill or hate crimes. They work with a coalition of organisations on issues such as the e-scooter trials on public footpaths in Hobart and Launceston. They make submissions on issues such as the review of the Disability Services Act, the importance of accessible websites or Accessible Public Transport Standards.

Meet the Board

  • Michael Small

    Michael has been involved in disability rights advocacy for over 40 years including nearly 20 years with the Australian Human Rights Commission. He has been closely involved in the development of technical standards aimed at ensuring accessible buildings, transport and public services and is a Director of a consultancy business working in those areas. Michael identifies as a person with a psychosocial disability and has been closely involved in establishing Disability Voices Tasmania since 2018. He has always seen the value of working across disabilities to develop a united voice and through Disability Voices Tasmania has helped develop strong alliances within the community of people with disability.

  • Deb Hunter

    Deborah (Deb) Hunter identifies as an autistic person with psychosocial and persistent pain disability. She trained in advocacy with Engender Equality and believes that nothing is more important in progressing equality than the voice of disability being heard! Her employment background is in environmental science and conservation, particularly regarding Australia’s caves. She works part-time in her own environmental tourism cave guiding business and regularly enjoys going on caving expeditions. She is a keen gardener and motorcyclist.

  • Paul Pritchard

    Paul is an adventurer who acquired a brain injury in 1998 when a rock fell on his head whilst attempting to climb Tasmania’s Totem Pole. This crisis and reflection led to him writing three award winning books. Ever since that time he has experienced discrimination which led to him becoming an advocate for people with disabilities. An Australian of the year nominee and international speaker he has worked for ProjectAble and is a Human Book with A Fairer World.

  • Alysse Gavlik

    Alysse Gavlik identifies as a female with disability and has been using a wheelchair after experiencing a motor vehicle crash in 1997. Alysse has had over 23 years’ experience in State Government and now leads a small team within the Community Development and Engagement arm of the Road Safety Branch. Alysse has recently concluded an internship with the Board of the Tasmanian Community Fund and is the recipient of a Disability Leadership Program Scholarship for training and membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors to formalise her governance skills. Alysse is a committee member with Anglicare’s Quality and Care Governance Committee, a current member of Women with Disability Australia and People with Disability Australia and serves on the Premiers Disability Advisory Council. She is looking forward to contributing to Tasmanian next disability action plan.

  • Nicole Sommer

    Nicole is an experienced lawyer and not for profit leader, bringing her broad legal, human rights and governance experience to the Board of Disability Voices Tasmania. Nicole is an Executive in a national not for profit and community legal centre, and has long worked in policy and advocacy in human rights and the environment. Nicole is the former Tasmanian co-Convenor for Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, the former CEO of EDO Tasmania, and a current member of the Law Council of Australia’s Environment and Planning Law Group. Nicole is a proudly disabled person, was an inaugural scholar of the AICD/AND Directing Change Scholarship in 2022, and is an active member of the Disability Leadership Institute. Appointed to the Disability Voices Tasmania Board in 2022, Nicole is driven to contribute to DVT to build a strong and effective voice for people with disability in Tasmania.

  • David Cawthorn

    David Cawthorn received a spinal cord injury in 1993 resulting in paraplegia. He has served on various committees supporting people with disabilities. As a person with disability himself, he understands that collaboration with other disabled people to ensure access to appropriate care, education, employment, equipment and housing, enables everyone to live in a fair society with the lifestyle they deserve. He is also an Access Consultant and has worked with both government and private developers on housing projects to ensure access for people with disability; and contributed significantly to the Hospitality and Tourism industry advising on access to property’s, products and services. David provides regular advice on submissions to government putting the rights of people with disability front and centre.

  • Dr Lisa Stafford

    Dr Lisa Stafford is an applied researcher, educator and planner in inclusive communities, cities and transport with 20 years of experience across academia and professional practice (government and non-government). Lisa is currently an ARC DECRA Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences, University of Tasmania. Lisa is a full member of Planning Institute of Australia (MPIA). Lisa is a chronically ill disabled person and wheelchair user♿️ and served on many board and committee in her time. In addition to being a director on DVT, Lisa is also Australian Human Rights Commission Includeability Ambassador https://includeability.gov.au/ ,co-chairs the new UTAS Southern Transformation Disability and Inclusive Campus Reference Group with the chair of the university senate, is a committee member for Transport Australia Tasmania chapter, and is a founding member of Universities Enable https://www.linkedin.com/company/universities-enable/ – A group of disabled leaders in higher education seeking to make an inclusive university sector for all.



    Disability Voices Tasmania is a new community organisation run by people with disability working with people with disability, families and allies to build a collective voice.