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International Day of People with Disability at the Australia Council with Tim Ferguson

Join the Australia Council via livestream for the International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), where their new Disability Action Plan 2017–2019 will be launched. 

The evaluation of the Australia Council's current Disability Action Plan 2014–2016 will also be released.

Tim Ferguson, one of Australia's most accomplished comedians will be joining them. Aside from writing for TV, film, live comedy and performing to sellout crowds worldwide, Tim works with various professional and government organisations to generate employment for people with disabilities. Tim has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for 30 years.

The Australia Council are thrilled to have him join them for their IDPwD event, where he will talk about "Overcoming Obstacles and Adapting to Change".

Date: Wednesday 7  December
Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
To view the live event go to:

The event will be Auslan interpreted and live captioned. 

About IDPwD
IDPwD has been celebrated internationally since it was established by the United Nations in 1992. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability, as well as celebrating the achievements and contributions of people with disability.



Perth will host a major national forum on arts and disability thanks to a partnership between Arts Access Australia and the Perth International Arts Festival.

Meeting Place will be co-hosted by PIAF and AAA, the peak national body for arts and disability, on March 1 and 2 during the 2017 festival.

AAA and PIAF are dedicated to smashing barriers, broadening understanding and improving skills and access in the field of disability and the arts.

This initiative builds on PIAF’s ongoing partnership with AAA Original Member in WA, arts and disability organisation DADAA, to support cultural exchange between outstanding national and international artists with disability and the WA arts and disability community.

Meeting Place provides a platform for learning, discussion and debate on issues impacting artists, arts workers and arts leaders with disability and those with an interest in the arts and disability sector.

AAA chief executive Emma Bennison says that having PIAF as a co-host will take Meeting Place to the next level.

Award-winning Artistic Director of leading UK disability theatre company Graeae, Jenny Sealey MBE, who co-directed the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, will be among the Meeting Place delegates coming to Perth.

 “Meeting Place already has a strong national reputation for delivering innovative and thought-provoking conversations which go beyond what a traditional conference can offer,” Ms Bennison says.

“Our relationship with PIAF will enable us to bring Meeting Place to Perth. We will also benefit from the insights of internationally acclaimed artists and leaders presented in PIAF 2017.

“We are thrilled to announce award-winning Artistic Director of the UK’s leading disability theatre company, Jenny Sealey MBE.  In addition, we will showcase top Australian artists with disability as part of the event and we look forward to releasing a full program in December.”

PIAF Artistic Director Wendy Martin says the opportunity to co-host Meeting Place with AAA will further the Festival’s commitment to access and programming high-quality work by artists with disability.

 “We are delighted to be collaborating with AAA to bring this unique national conversation and showcase to Perth,” Ms Martin says.

“We see it as an important step in cementing our vision of an accessible festival, bringing quality work by artists with disability to a mainstream festival context, this builds on the important PIAF / DADAA partnership, established in the 2016  festival.

“Here it can be enjoyed by audiences who might not otherwise be exposed to such works. We look forward to this significant event being part of our Festival in 2017.”

PIAF runs from 10 February to March 5.


For further information please contact:

PIAF Communications Manager                               Arts Access Australia CEO

Stephen Bevis                                                           Emma Bennison

+61 8 6488 8618 / 0448 927 281                        0419 201 338                           


Perth International Arts Festival

Founded in 1953 by The University of Western Australia, the Perth International Arts Festival is the longest running international arts festival in Australia and Western Australia’s premier cultural event. The Festival has developed a worldwide reputation for excellence in its international program, the presentation of new works and the highest quality artistic experiences for its audience. For 64 years the Festival has welcomed to Perth some of the world’s greatest living artists and now connects with over 700,000 people each year.


Wendy Martin is the Artistic Director 2016–19.


MEDIA RELEASE - PIAF_17_Meeting_Place_MR_NOV_2016.docx1.69 MB

                           PIAF_17_Meeting_Place_MR_NOV_2016.pdf233.03 KB


Media Release - Equity or at least Equality for Artists with Disability

10 May 2016


For Immediate Release    


Equity or at least Equality for Artists with Disability


Arts Access Australia, the national body for arts and disability, is calling for certainty and equality for artists with disability as the election campaign kicks off. Following recent funding announcements and the release of the Federal budget last week, Arts Access Australia is calling for policies which support the equity, development and employment of artists with disability.

Arts Access Australia CEO, Emma Bennison, said that whilst the arts emerged from the budget relatively unscathed in comparison to recent years, there are some broader implications for artists with disability which need to be monitored.

“The introduction of a new NDIS Savings Fund is welcomed by Arts Access Australia to provide certainty for the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. However, the intention to review the Disability Support Pension for 90,000 people over three years is concerning to us. In particular, the appearance that those most at risk of becoming ineligible for welfare payments will be the target of this review. We know that artists with disability are vulnerable when it comes to the Disability Support Pension, given the nature of employment in the arts and cultural sector is sporadic and unpredictable. We will monitor the implementation of this policy and advocate for the rights of artists with disability to receive adequate income support whilst maintaining their artistic careers.”

“We also welcome the new $96.1 million program “Try, Test and Learn” announced to support innovative approaches to finding work for young people. Whilst we strongly support any initiative to increase employment opportunities, we are hopeful that the arts and cultural sector will be recognised by the Government as an industry which has plenty to offer to the innovation agenda. We also remain hopeful that this initiative will be accompanied by a jobs plan which supports meaningful employment of people with disability.”

Bennison says the story in relation to Federal funding for arts and disability is mixed this week with funding rounds for the Ministry for the Arts’ Catalyst fund and Australia Council project funding being announced. “Having done everything we can to ensure disability-led projects and those which build the capacity of the arts and disability sector could be competitive for funding, we are disappointed to note that with half of the Catalyst funding allocation having been committed, just over six per cent of Catalyst funded projects are to provide improved participation to artists with disability or access to the arts by people with disability. This figure is disappointing considering that just over 20% of our population are people with disability. Whilst we sincerely congratulate those organisations who have been funded and look forward to working with them in our capacity as the national peak body for arts and disability, it appears that none of the funded programs have an aim to build the national capacity of the arts and disability sector as a whole, something we all know is desperately needed. Finally, we are worried and somewhat confused that over a quarter of this six per cent funding allocation flowed to organisations with little or no history of working in the arts and disability sector. We look forward to seeing these issues addressed in future funding rounds.”

The Australia Council has maintained its commitment to national, dedicated funding for artists with disability this week, announcing the second allocation of $330,000 in funding to 16 projects for individuals and groups. Arts Access Australia congratulates the Australia Council for this ongoing commitment to disability-led projects. We look forward to it continuing, given the quality of outcomes and ongoing need which has been so clearly demonstrated through these funding rounds.


Media Contact: Emma Bennison

Ph: 0419 201 338



To download this media release click here.

AGM Invitation and Call for Nominations

Arts Access Australia will be holding it’s AGM in Adelaide this year on Thursday 26th May. Please find following the links for the notification of the AGM, together with the Board nomination form and also the proxy nomination form.

Meeting Place is also being held in Adelaide on Friday 27th May 2016. There are only few places still available so to reserve your place please email Louise at .

Arts Access Australia team up with Google

Here at Arts Access Australia (AAA), we're excited to announce that we've teamed up with Google Australia’s Creative Lab to create an Artist in Residence pilot project. One artist with disability will spend three months inside Google, exploring the people, the workplace and the technology.

Read more: Arts Access Australia team up with Google

Have Your Say on Changes to Federal Arts Funding

Artists and arts workers with disability and arts and disability organisations are concerned about changes to Federal arts funding announced in the 2015 budget

In May this year, the Federal Government cut $104.8 million from The Australia Council to go towards a new National Programme for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA), to be managed by the staff of the Ministry for the Arts.

The cuts will have significant implications for artists with disability and the organisations which eenable access to the arts across Australia. So the issue has been referred to a Senate Inquiry. across Australia, and the issue has been referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for a Senate inquiry.

To make sure the voices of our sector are heard, we need you to make a submission to the Senate Inquiry by Friday 17 July 2015.

Read more: Have Your Say on Changes to Federal Arts Funding

Reasonable and Necessary - thinking big!

Arts Access Australia (AAA) have partnered with Access2Arts in SA to create 'Reasonable and Necessary', a project aimed at encouraging people to think big about their goals and their futures, and providing a fun and creative way for people to share these goals with planning teams at the NDIS.

Read more: Reasonable and Necessary - thinking big!

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