The Count Me In Ambassador program was developed as a major strategy to disseminate key messages of Count Me In across Western Australia. The program was launched in December 2010 by the Disability Services Minister.
Spreading Count Me In messages across Western Australia is crucial to foster better inclusion and access for people with disability across all aspects of community life. Western Australia's first Count Me In Ambassadors were inducted in February 2011. The Disability Services Commission Chairperson, Bruce Langoulant is patron of the Ambassador program.
Role of Ambassadors
Our Count Me In Ambassadors represent a broad range of experience, networks and community profiles. They have the ability to influence many areas of Western Australia's private and public sectors.
Ambassadors integrate messages of inclusion and access for people with disability into key areas of their work or leisure, such as conference papers, formal presentations, committee meetings or casual conversations.
They seek opportunities to spread Count Me In messages and report back to the Commission every few months about their activities.
Select from the links in the list below to view a specific Ambassador profile, or see the full collection of profiles provided below this list.
Mr Imran Ariff is a young man with a steely determination who has overcome many physical barriers to live an independent life. Imran strives for and achieves many things that others take for granted. For example, Imran teamed up with Dreamfit to design and develop the ‘Gymran’ – a gym station that allows Imran to work out independently. Imran was a member of the former Count Me In Advisory Group which provided advice on the implementation of the Count Me In strategy for disability in Western Australia. He is a strong advocate for people with disability from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds and appeared in the DVD ‘Our Voices, Our Journeys’. (Top of page)
Jim Cairns has continually focused on raising awareness about what it is like to have a disability and continue to lead a good life. Mr Cairns works closely with relevant community groups and government bodies to improve access and inclusion rights.
Mr Cairns is highly involved in community events. He is both the executive producer of a film called 'The Ride' and one of the featured characters. This film shows important messages about road safety and how to come to terms with your life when you have a disability. (Top of page)
Mr Jesse Derne is a young man with cerebral palsy living in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. Jesse has a background in media studies and enjoys doing web designing. Jesse is a keen advocate and a motivational speaker. Jesse recounts stories about his life experiences and speaks out about different issues affecting people with disability day to day. Jesse is also a DJ with the local Aboriginal radio station and uses the medium to broadcast important community messages. (Top of page)
Mr Justin Eveson is a former Paralympian and has strong involvement in Wheelchair Sports WA (WSWA). He is a Membership and Participation Officer and captain of Wheel Cats. He is also involved in the Royal Perth Hospital Rehabilitation Hospital’s Shenton Park Campus recreation committee, as a senior event committee member and Disability Awareness Program coordinator. Justin believes there should be opportunities for everyone to gain the benefits of sports and recreation. (Top of page)
Mr David Giles is an award-winning artist, curator, art teacher and mentor. He has studios in Fremantle, Victoria Park, Bayswater and at Heathcote, Applecross. David is completing a PhD on multiculturalism and teaches politics, philosophy and creative arts at Murdoch University. David promotes an inclusive approach to the arts and has worked for Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts WA (DADAA) mental health programs. He was involved in the Three Daves art project, with David Guhl and Dave Mitchell, which helped to raise the profile of artists with disability. (Top of page)
Mr David Guhl is an award-winning artist with Down syndrome. Through art, he is providing leadership and creating pathways for others to follow. Since first exhibiting in 2001, David has won six art awards and his work has been included in many significant collections. David was involved in the Three Daves art project with Dave Mitchell and David Giles. He is involved in Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts WA (DADAA), is a member of Artsource and Strut Dance, and was an Artist of Excellence at the Here and Now 13 art Exhibition at the UWA Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery in 2013. (Top of page)
Mr Peter Hall is a young man who is passionate about youth development and health access issues. He has taken up a range of civic duties and positions to promote the rights of young people with disability, including being in the New Children’s Hospital Project Youth Advisory Committee, the Community Advisory Council for Child and Adolescent Health Board, the Disability Access and Inclusion Committee for Princess Margaret Hospital and the Recreation Committee at the Centre for Cerebral Palsy. Peter won the 2011 WA Young Person of the Year Motivate Award and the Joseph Mitchell Scholarship Award, and was a finalist in the 2011 International Day of People with Disability – Young Disability Challenge Award. He is a member of the Western Australian Youth Parliament and graduated from the Leaders of Tomorrow program which he hopes will help him enhance his skills as a civic leader and become a leading advocate for people with disability. (Top of page)
Mr Keith Hayes has been a Town of Victoria Park Councillor since 2001 and has personal experience of vision impairment. He was a TAFE lecturer in economics, business studies and community services for 25 years. He has been Chairperson of Victoria Park’s Disability Advisory Committee since 1997. Keith has also been a member of the WA Disabled Sports Association Management Committee, Blind Citizens Australia Transport and Access Committee and Main Roads Vulnerable Road Users Taskforce. (Top of page)
Ms Narelda Jacobs is a journalist and newsreader with Perth’s Ten News. She began her media career as a reporter for GWN in Bunbury. Narelda is passionate about human rights issues and is involved in a range of not-for-profit and non-government organisations including the Motor Neurone Disease Association of WA, David Wirrpanda Foundation, Breast Cancer Foundation of WA, the Centre for Cerebral Palsy, Anglicare, AIDS Council and the Gay and Lesbian Freedom Centre. (Top of page)
Mr Brendan Kelly is a City of Bunbury Councillor and Chair of the City’s Community Access Committee. Brendan is keen to improve access in the local community and works closely with the City’s parks and garden managers, engineers and planners to achieve this. Brendan is a board member of ACCORDWEST which is a non-government organisation providing a range of diverse services. (Top of page)
Ms Chris Kerr was the inaugural Manager of Geraldton Personnel Inc. Currently, she is Operations Manager at ATLAS Access to Leisure and Sport, a recreation inclusion program. Chris is a former Disability Services Commission Board member and former member of the National Disability Council. Chris is a strong advocate within her community and challenges people to improve opportunities for people with disability. Chris is currently on the Midwest Development Commission Board and she is keen for people to be ‘present’, ‘seen’ and ‘connected’ to their community. She has been recognised for her work through awards such as the Centenary Medal for ’service to the community, particularly the disabled community’. (Top of page)
Mr John Langoulant AO has more than 35 years’ experience in the government and private sector. He is Chief Executive of the Oakajee Port and Rail project and in the past was Chief Executive of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA and the State’s Under Treasurer (1995–2004). John is also a University of WA Senate member, Chairperson for the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research Board, Deputy Chair of the West Australian Ballet Board, Council of Australian Governments’ Reform Council member and Leadership WA Board member. (Top of page)
Mr Darren Lomman is the founder and chief executive of Dreamfit Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to design ‘dreams’ for people with disability through innovative engineering solutions. Darren is currently on the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability and is a Churchill Fellow. He has been recognised for his work through awards such as the 2008 Engineers Australia Young Mechanical Engineer Award and WA Young Australian of the Year and a National Disability Award in 2007. (Top of page)
Mr Justin Lunn was the financial administrator for Boom Logistics in Port Hedland and is a member of the Hedland Community Living Association. Justin uses a wheelchair and advocates for better access for people with disability in public and private spaces. He works closely with local government to raise awareness of access issues. (Top of page)
Mrs Jane Manning is a strong advocate for people’s rights, with a passion for building inclusive communities. Jane worked for South West Development Commission for more than twenty years and was highly involved in mediation and consultancy work. Jane is the Regional Coordinator for the town of Vasse and works closely with local and state government agencies, the Chamber of Commerce, small business centres and local community groups to drive strategies for social, economic and environmental development. (Top of page)
Mr David Marshall is the Manager of the Harvey Recreation Centre and sits on a number of different sports and recreation committees across the South West. David is actively involved with Harvey community radio and, through his radio networks, raises important access and inclusion issues and getting others in the community involved with the local radio station. David also sits on the Harvey Main street committee. (Top of page)
Mr Dave Mitchell is a support worker for the Autism Association of WA, and multimedia artist and teacher. Dave is a mentor to artists with disability and was involved in the Three Daves art project with Ambassadors Dave Guhl and David Giles. Dave is also a Swan River guardian and likes to create artwork using the Swan emblem as a symbol of inclusion. (Top of page)
Mr Griff Morris is the founder and director of Solar Dwellings WA and principal lecturer for the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) Greensmart course. Griff is also a member of the HIA Environmental Planning committee and an Ayurvedic practitioner. Griff is a leader in the building industry and educates his staff, students and other builders about the importance of universal housing design and making eco-friendly, sustainable and accessible homes. (Top of page)
Mrs Elizabeth Needham is a barrister with Francis Burt Chambers and a member of the WA Bar Association and WA Women in Bar Association. Elizabeth has vision impairment and was past president of Association for the Blind WA. She has also held senior legal positions with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Department of Consumer and Employment Protection. In addition, Elizabeth has lectured in Justice Studies and Legal Studies at Edith Cowan University and been a consultant to Legal Aid WA. (Top of page)
Ms Melissa Northcott has been a member of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability and a Director on the Centre for Cerebral Palsy Board. She is currently a Councillor at the City of Armadale and a member of their Disability Advisory Team. She is the research development coordinator for the St John Australian Youth Council and a St John Ambulance volunteer, and worked to introduce Radio Lollipop to Armadale Hospital. She fundraises for the Centre for Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis Society of WA and Telethon. Melissa is a strong advocate for creating accessible communities. (Top of page)
Dr John O'Rourke is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Arts secondary program at Edith Cowan University. He lectures in Special and Inclusive Education and is researching the support mechanisms needed for inclusive classrooms. John has also been a secondary schools support coordinator, working with students and families with additional needs. (Top of page)
Ms Katrina Porter is a former Paralympic swimmer and has a Bachelor of Commerce. She has previously been involved in the West Coast Swimming Club’s integrated swimming program at Challenge Stadium in Mount Claremont. In 2010 she was the WA Young Australian of the Year. Katrina is an inspiration for young people and is passionate about inclusion rights in the community, especially in sport and recreation. (Top of page)
Mr Suresh Rajan is the Executive Officer at the Epilepsy Association of WA and a cross-cultural awareness training consultant. Suresh is a commentator on 6EBA ethnic-ability radio, discussing issues impacting migrants with disability, and writes regularly for the human rights section on independent news website The Stringer. Suresh is a board member of the Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre and the Osborne Park Hospital Community Advisory Council. He is also the President of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance. Suresh is a Keep Australia Beautiful litter reporter and a member of several support groups such as Lifeline, Balya Cancer Support and Post-Polio Network boards. In 2012 Suresh won a Pride of Australia award under the ‘Fair go’ category. (Top of page)
Mrs Jo Russell is a strong advocate for carers’ rights and people with disability in rural areas. Jo provides general family and community support in the Goldfields. She is a board member of the Full Circle Therapies early autism intervention centre and a Goldfields Individual Inclusion Group member. Jo is also a Noah's Ark playgroup parent mentor and past member of the Family Support Association Board. (Top of page)
The Right Honourable Lisa Scaffidi has been Lord Mayor of the City of Perth since 2007, and is the first woman to be elected to this position. Previously Executive Director of the WA office of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, she is an ambassador and/or patron to a number of community-based organisations throughout WA. In her role as Lord Mayor she is committed to raising awareness about people with disability and making life in the city as safe and accessible as possible for them. In 2012, she was voted the second-best Mayor in the world for her dedication to building a vibrant and welcoming city for all. (Top of page)
Dr Shayne Silcox is the Chief Executive of the City of Melville. He is also the Chair of the Local Government Management Association (LGMA), volunteering his time and expertise to government and community committees. In recent years, Shayne has served on the Disability Services Commission board as Deputy Chairperson. Shayne is keen to spread the Count Me In message across local government and is working towards improving inclusion and access for people with disability living in the City of Melville. This includes looking at ways to improve access to mainstream employment in local government. (Top of page)
Ms Wendy Sugg has worked in a variety of roles over the years and is drawn to roles that assist people to be an active participant in their community. It is important to Wendy that all people have opportunities to highlight and build on their strengths and talents in creative and fun ways, contributing and belonging to the culture in their local and wider community. Wendy is passionate about supporting youth to be recognised in their role as future leaders, through encouraging them to fully experience the challenges that life presents and not being afraid to stand up for themselves. Wendy is particularly interested in being involved in community projects that encourage partnerships between government, not for profit and community groups. One of her biggest joys was being involved in the Inclusive Music Program recently run in Collie, seeing long-term friendships and relationships formed through a common passion for music. (Top of page)
Miss Sarah Wardle is an Ambassador living in the Canning region. She is employed in a non-clinical role at Fiona Stanley Hospital. Sarah is an inspiring and determined young woman who leads her life by example. Sarah has Down syndrome and is studying at Challenger TAFE. She is a keen fundraiser and is currently volunteering at charity organisation Manna Assist in Victoria Park, helping to deliver meals, finding clothing and providing general support to people living in disadvantaged situations.
Her goal is to improve employment prospects for people with intellectual disability in open employment contexts. To this end she has been actively involved as a speaker at various disability and employer forums. (Top of page)