SCIA in the Media

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SMH editorial - Don't play politics with the NDIS

3 May 2017

The Productivity Commission is currently conducting an inquiry into the NDIS and the SMH editorial has commented on some of the submissions that the inquiry has received so far including one from SCIA. Read the editorial here



Tony Jones - SCIA's Policy & Advocacy Officer writes in Pro Bono Australia News about transport issues with the NDIS

2 May 2017

NDIS Transport Funding is an unfortunate lottery with the lack of consistency in how participants are treated around the country in their use of taxi subsidy schemes making a mockery of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a universal program...... Read the article here



SCIA's NeuroMoves a hit at the Penrith YMCA

April 2017

Our NeuroMoves program has featured in the Penrith Press news. You can read the article here.



Stories from the smallest room

On the 30th of November 2016 experts from Coloplast and SCIA staff will be presenting an interactive webinar talking about the latest products and methods available to suit individual needs and what the National Disability Insurance Scheme means for more continence care choice. Read about it on Leep CommunityNet and register for the event here.



Loreign Randall

Loreign was paralysed from the waist down after a freak bicycle accident leaving her unable to walk and credits NeuroMoves in Sydney for her gaining her strength back and eventually her mobility. Read Loreign's story here.



Will Murray back at Brighton Grammar

Brighton Grammar schoolboy, Will Murray, became a quadriplegic after an accident diving off a pier. Since his rehabilitation at the hospital and extensive work at NeuroMoves, Whitten Oval, he has seen some milestone improvements. Read about Will here.



UTS to establish Centre for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine

A potentially life changing project for all Australians with spinal cord injury has been launched in Sydney by SpinalCure Australia, the University of Technology, Sydney, Professor V. Reggie Edgerton of the University of California, LA and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. Project Edge will see a cutting edge neurostimulation research program established here in Australia to build on the successes of Prof Edgerton and his team at UCLA to achieve the best possible outcomes for people with SCI. The Centre of Neuroscience & Regenerative Medicine at UTS will be headed by UTS Professor of Neuroscience, Bryce Vissel. This collaboration with Professor Reggie Edgerton, who has spent 40 years into research on fixing spinal cord injuries, will establish the first team outside the US to undertake clinical trials. Read about the program and project in the SMH, the UTS Newsroom and Freedom2Live.



Fun Zone a boon for all kids

A new, inclusive playground for children is opening at Chifley Sports Reserve in Sydney on Saturday 17 September. With input from various professionals including Chris Nicholls from Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, the playground has been designed to meet a range of physical, emotional and intellectual abilities. Read about the playground here.



Driverless cars

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia’s Greg Killeen appeared on the ABC program Australia Wide talking about how driverless cars could lead to a transport revolution and new approach to urban planning. Read the story here.



Valuing the lives of people with disability

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia President, Joan Hume, writes an opinion piece about current day disability rights for Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week. Read the article here.



Forum to discuss participation of people with disabilities into sporting and other clubs

A forum was held in Ewingsdale near Byron Bay, to discuss how sporting groups, studios and communities can welcome all people, including those people with disability, to join in. The Team Effort project is a partnership of Byron Shire Council, Far North Coast Ability Links, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and Autism Spectrum Australia and is funded by the NSW Government. Read about the forum and what they hope to achieve here.



Neurostimulation Project

A ground-breaking initiative for people with spinal cord injury is being set up in Australia. The Neurostimulation Project, a collaborative effort between the University of Technology Sydney, SpinalCure Australia and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, headed by UTS Professor of Neuroscience, Bryce Vissel, will establish the first clinical trial for neurostimulation research outside the US. Read more about the project here.



Access denied on bus for Illawarra woman with MS

On Saturday morning Nina said she was refused access to a bus as she attempted to get into the Wollongong CBD.

A regular user of public transport, she'd made sure her scooter fit within strict guidelines when she bought it 12 months ago, and has been using it on buses and trains ever since.

Well done to Nina for advocating for herself and others with disabilities by drawing public attention to this access issue.

Read more about this disability access issue in the Illawarra Mercury. 



Dan Holt on The Project

Dan Holt, one of our Peer Support Education Officers, appeared on The Project recently with his assistance dog Charlie. Charlie works alongside Dan all day, helping if he drops anything and opens cupboards.

Plus Charlie brightens the day of any patients Dan visits in the spinal wards, showing people that after a spinal cord injury you can find new ways to do things, sometimes with a little help from a friend.  Read More »



Dan Holt and his assistance dog Charlie

Dan Holt is a Peer Support Officer for SCIA and owns an assistance dog called Charlie (or as Dan likes to call him "Chucky". Charlie (Chucky) has written a story about his life with Dan - you can read it here.



Push for more research into spinal cord injury

The Big Day Off is a campaign to raise money to support research into spinal cord injuries. Rachel Presdee, an employee of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is an enthusiastic supporter of the Big Day Off and tells her story in this article from the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader



James McQuillan talks about his life two years after football injury

Great article from The Border Mail profiling James McQuillan, his life after spinal cord injury, and how the Big Day Off came to be. The Big Day Off is a fundraising initiative raising money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and SpinalCure. Read the article here.

James Mcquillan



News from the SCIA Independence Expo 2016

SCIA's Independence Expo 2016 was held recently and by all accounts it was a great success. Read a review by Have Wheelchair will Travel and Freedom2Live of some of the products that were exhibited at the Expo. 



Talking about SCI on the Triple J Hack program

Listen to Education Officer Heidz and one of our fundraisers Harley talking all things spinal cord injury, statistics and prevention on Triple J Hack. Skip to 16.10 for the start of the SCI segment or to 22.30 for Heidz and Harley specifically. 



GoGet launches carshare vehicle for people with disability in world first

GoGet carshare is planning to revolutionise transport for people with a disability with the launch of the world’s first fully accessible carsharing vehicle and SCIA are in full support. Read More »



NSW Accessible Toilets project and the National Public Toilet Map

Article in the Hornsby Advocate about the National Public Toilet Map and the project SCIA is currently undertaking to improve the quantity and quality of information about accessible toilets in NSW into the map.



Lego releases toy figurine in a wheelchair - SCIA's Chris Nicholls comments

1 February 2016

Lego is going to release a mini figure in 2016 that is a character in a wheelchair with an assistance dog. Rebecca Atkinson started a "Toy Like Me" petition to Lego, which asked the manufacturer to "positively represent disability". The petition garnered just over 20,000 signatures—and its language seems to have influenced the toy maker. "Please, Lego, put some wheelchair vroom vroom into the toy box and help generations of kids, (both with and without disabilities), grow up with a more positive attitude to human difference!" Atkinson wrote last summer on the petition.

The move by Lego has generated discussion with the ABC covering the story on PM last Friday. Chris Nicholls from Spinal Cord Injuries Australia welcomed the move and agreed with other panelists that it will help to normalise disability. Chris commented that "[Children will] get used to seeing them as part of the rest of the Lego population and subsequently the population in general".

Read the full PM transcript here and read more about the move by Lego here on AOL.



Heidi Haydon features in the newsletter of Lifetime Care

Heidi (Heidz) Haydon has featured in the latest Lifetime Care & Support Scheme newsletter - Shine. Heidz works for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia as an Education Officer and SARGOOD as the social media content manager and in her free time! she participates in educational programs for Road Safety Education (RYDA) talking to high school students about road safety, draws, designs tattoos, is a keen photographer and enjoys riding her motorbike. Read about Heidi's busy life here in the newsletter.  



Close call with spinal cord injury inspires fundraiser

Do something amazing this year and join Team SCIA! Run, swim or cycle your way towards helping us overcome barriers to independence for people with spinal cord injuries. Join people such as Harley Lewis, who was only 1mm away from potentially never walking again after a serious neck injury on the footy field in August 2015. Now he is preparing to complete his first ever triathlon and fundraise for SCIA. Read More »



Joan Hume - disability work honoured

SCIA's President Joan Hume was recently honoured to receive a University of Sydney Alumni Award for Community Achievement for her advocacy work for people with disabilities and her tireless efforts to improve disability services across the country and internationally. Read about Joan in the Wentworth Courier here and on the University of Sydney website.



Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week News

The NRL is proud to be supporting Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's activities for this year's Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week 2015. The week will focus on what people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) can achieve and how the community at large can ensure society is inclusive and accessible for everyone, with a campaign titled Think I can't … Think again! Read the article here.

Heidi Haydon is an Education Officer for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and she hopes sharing her story during Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week will encourage people to get out and be involved in making the community they live in as inclusive and accessible as possible. Read about it here




Sing for SCI in the Illawarra Mercury

The fundraising event organised by Jae Haydon which raised over $10,000 for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia - Sing for spinal cord injury - has featured in the Illawarra Mercury.  Read the story here.



NSW Rugby League and Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week

The New South Wales Wheelchair Rugby League (NSWWRL) competition starts this weekend - a week ahead of Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week (SCIAW) (8-15 November), a national campaign to create a more inclusive and accessible community for everyone. 

SCIAW is an initiative of the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance, which represents eight of the country’s largest spinal cord injury organisations, and is a national voice for all Australians who have sustained a spinal cord injury.

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, a member of the alliance, is a partner of the NRL Foundation which is providing support for injured rugby league players.

Please read the full article here. For information on Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week go to



SCIA President Joan Hume receives Alumni Award from University of Sydney

Joan HumeSpinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) President, Ms Joan Hume OAM, has received the Alumni Award for Community Achievement from the University of Sydney. Joan receives this award for her advocacy work for people with disabilities and her tireless efforts to improve disability services across the country and internationally. Completing her Diploma of Education and Bachelor of Arts in 1969, Joan became an English and History high school teacher with the NSW Department of Education, before she sustained quadriplegia in a car accident in 1971. After a year of recovery in hospital, Joan attempted to return to teaching, only to be told there was no future for her in the state school system. Fortunately, she was offered a teaching role at another public high school and became the state’s first classroom teacher who used a wheelchair.

“Back in the early ’70s there were no home and personal care services available to younger people with disabilities,” she says. “There were no accessible cinemas or theatres, sporting or recreational venues, public transport, parking and very few employment opportunities. Universities, post-secondary training colleges and other forms of higher education actively discouraged enrolment of students with disabilities.” Recognising the need for change, Joan became the editor of the Australian Quadriplegic Association’s new magazine, the Quad Wrangle (now SCIA’s Accord magazine), in 1977 while continuing with her teaching work. Editing the magazine brought her into contact with other people in similar situations and spurred her to engage more fully with disability issues.

This was just the start of Joan’s long career and achievements in advocating for people with disability, read more here



NSW Accessible Toilet Project in the News

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is currently involved in a project updating the National Public Toilet Map. The map is a tool that can be used by people with disability to find an accessible toilet. The project has been featured in ParaQuad NSW's Magazine recently and the Disability Council NSW December 2015 issue of i-CONTACT, encouraging people to get involved and volunteer for the project. A $100 gift voucher is available to people who help out.



Sing for Spinal Cord Injury on 702 ABC Sydney


SCIA Education Officer, Heidz Haydon, will be on 702 ABC Sydney on Saturday 10th October at 7.35am to chat about Sing For Spinal Cord Injury.

Listen on the radio or online and request a song by donating here.


Sing for spinal cord injury logo




Abbey Van Capelle - exercise physiologist


Abbey Van Capelle is an exercise physiologist with SCIA’s exercise services - NeuroMoves, she spoke to UNSW Medicine about her work providing a range of exercise services for people with spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions.  

"The condition and need of patients can vary quite a bit, including spinal cord injury, stroke, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and many more. The exercise benefits for this population can range from (but are not limited to), gains in strength, coordination, balance and aerobic fitness; improvements in mobility and activities of daily living, improved cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological and metabolic function,” she said. Read more on the UNSW Medicine website.

If you have a spinal cord injury or similar disability, check out the gym and do an initial assessment in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane or Melbourne. Email or phone 1800 819 775.

Discover more about our exercise services.



The SCIA Independence Expo is open for visitor registrations

The SCIA Independence Expo is back on 15 and 16 April 2016 for people with physical disability. Explore amazing products, equipment and technology on display. Be inspired by information packed demonstrations and workshops. Discover services to help you get what you want out of life. There will be travel, sport and art, plus entertainment and fun activities. It's free to attend - register today and you could win a $500 gift card.

Click here to read the article in Just Better Living about the Expo (page 30 - 31) and Link Magazine, December 2015 issue on page 36.



Young Aussie becomes poster boy for spinal therapy

Claire Conroy spoke to the Northern District Times about her son Evander, who has been doing intensive locomotor treadmill training at the Frazier Rehab Institute, in Kentucky USA.

On the locomotor treadmill, people hold Evander's hips and legs, teaching his brain how to make them work.

Evander has also attended the our Walk On program in Sydney, which will be opening an exercise clinic for kids and offering intensive locomotor training soon.   

Click here to read the article



Heidz Haydon on FBI

Heidz Haydon was on FBI Radio with Ash and Jo Wallace, talking about Humans of Newtown. Listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Heidi Haydon with Jo Wallace and Ash on FBI Radio



"We're humans. We’re the same as everyone else. We're just sitting down."

SCIA Education Officer Heidi Haydon is getting the word out about access for people with disability. She writes on Mamamia about how simple it can be to make a venue or event accessible for people who use wheelchairs to get around.

Heidi Haydon"We totally understand that we may have to do things a bit differently, that's a given, But today, I am asking you - I'm asking everyone - to ensure that businesses, establishments and pop-up events can be enjoyed by all. It's easy to have a portable ramp. It's easy to highlight accessibility points on a website. Even though we accept that doing things on a whim may not be achievable, having to make many phone calls, send many emails and then finding out accessibility is not actually an option, can be very disappointing."

Click here to read the whole article.



On the map

Link Magazine has profiled Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's charge to improve access to public toilets for people with disability by updating the National Public Toilet Map

The map is a website and app that provides locations and information on over 16,000 publicly available toilets across Australia. It is designed to reduce the stress people face when they cannot find an accessible toilet and to ensure that people with disability and other mobility restrictions can be confident in getting out and enjoying their lives.

SCIA is asking people in the community to help assess toilets in their local area by becoming Volunteer Access Officers. The tools and forms to assess toilets are provided and $100 gift vouchers are available to eligible volunteers as a thank you.

For information contact Kelly McCann email or phone on 0412 177 643.

Click here to read the article.

Project logo








Humans of Newtown: Heidi Haydon

The residents of one of Australia’s top eccentric suburbs have become the focus of a new book after taking social media by storm. Among those happy to share their story was Heidi Haydon, an SCIA Education Officer in our Peer Support team who sustained T4 complete paraplegia after a motorbike accident in December 2009.Heidi Haydon

She shared her struggle to overcome anger and the stigma associated with disabled people with the Humans of Newtown community.  

“People tend to see my chair first, then the tattoos, then the hair and last of all they see my personality. I don't want people to be awkward with people with a disability…we may look and do things a little differently, but we are all the same.”  

“I felt sharing my story would break the barriers for people with disability,” she said. 

Heidi says she was overwhelmed by the support she received on social media when her story was shared. “I am not an emotional person, but to have that feedback from people I've never met or seen before touched my heart and was very moving.” 

Click here to read more on Yahoo7 News.



Sydney paraplegic woman ’humiliated’ by lack of disability access at Darling Harbour

Heidz Haydon is an Education Officer with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) and part of her job involves organising social events for members and their family and friends. A visit to Cool Yule in Darling Harbour to go ice skating last weekend turned out to be less than satisfactory. A ramp which the organisers had assured Heidz was available was nowhere to be seen and if it wasn't for someone kindly lending the group their own portable ramp, getting on to the ice would have proved impossible. Heidz spoke to about accessibility and how important it is for people who use wheelchairs.



Tribute to Ed Watts

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia farewelled our Chairman Ed Watts, who passed away in July. Ed was a senior lecturer in Applied Finance and Actuarial Studies at Macquarie University. He joined our Board of Directors in 2013, and become Chairman in 2014. Ed had a great interest in how government policy, services and technology can assist people with disabilities to lead fulfilling and independent lives. Our deepest condolences go out to Ed's family, friends and colleagues at this sad time.

You can read more about Ed's life, and a tribute form his friend Geoff Nilon, in The Daily Examiner. You can also leave your own tribute to Ed by clicking here.



Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and NRL partnership

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's partnership with National Rugby League (NRL) has featured in the media recently, with the news that the NRL launched its whole of game Foundation to provide assistance to players who sustain catastrophic injuries. 

CEO Dave Smith said the NRL wants to provide support for players who suffer catastrophic injuries playing rugby league.

The NRL already has in place an insurance scheme which provides compensation of up to $1 million to NRL players who suffer severe injuries.

Mr Smith said the Foundation has been established to provide immediate support in addition to insurance to assist with interim medical bills and other expenses.

It would also provide one-off funding when the injury occurs to help meet the initial medical costs and travel and accommodation for family members so they can be near the injured player.

The NRL has formed a partnership with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, which involves creating the best strategies to help injured players and their families following a catastrophic injury. The NRL and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia will also jointly fund research initiatives aimed at assisting injured footballers.

You can read more here:


Daily Telegraph

Sydney Morning Herald

The Chronicle





Systematic review published in the journal Spinal Cord

Vanessa Bochkezanian and Camilla Quel de Oliveira, staff members from Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's Exercise Programs, have published a paper in the journal Spinal Cord. The systematic review highlights the effectiveness of a combination of aerobic training and muscle strength training in improving aerobic fitness, muscle strength, functional capacity and quality of life. Camila and Vanesa are both conducting PhD research with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia about the effects of activity based therapy for people with spinal cord injury with the University of Sydney and Edith Cowan University (ECU) respectively. ‬Click here to read the abstract. 



Exhibit for disability rights open at M.A.D.E

An exhibition exploring campaigning for disability rights was launched in Ballarat. Exploring the deinstitutionalisation of the 1970s, the right-based activism of the 70s and 80s and the recent introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the retrospective show is exhibited both in the museum and online. Entitled Grassroots Democracy: The Campaign for Disability Rights, the exhibition is on show at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka. President of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, Joan Hume, has been included in the Honour Board for the Campaign for Disability Rights and attended the launch of the exhibition and spoke at the forum.Joan Hume at the exhibition

Joan says in the exhibition, “Both the message and the methods of the disability rights movement were revolutionary in not only challenging and overturning the misconceptions and low expectations of society at large but, for the first time in history, people with disabilities united, took their grievances to the street, took charge of their own lives and demanded to be their own spokespeople.”

Read more in The Courier and take a look at the exhibition here where you can also nominate people to be added to the honour board.



Heidz Haydon on Weekend Sunday 702 ABC Sydney

On Sunday 14 June just after 10am, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia Education Officer Heidz Haydon will be joining Graeme Innes AM (the former Disability Discrimination Commissioner) on Weekend Sunday with Simon Marnie on 702 ABC Sydney. 

They will be talking about living with a disability and the incredibly broad range of disability issues that occur today. Simon will be encouraging listeners to ring in with questions, so there should be some lively discussion to enjoy on your Sunday morning.

Tune into 702 ABC Sydney or click here to listen live online.



Win a day off from work and support people with spinal cord injury

May 2015

Big Day Off logo

The Big Day Off is a fantastic new concept to raise much needed funds and awareness for people with spinal cord injury. Getting involved is simple, businesses register on the Big Day Off website and donate a number of days off for their staff, who buy $5 raffle tickets through the site to win a Big Day Off - a day off work that's not taken out of their annual leave.

Learn more by clicking here, and take a look at some of the media coverage of this fun and unique fundraising initiative below: 

The Big Day Off has your back, The Border Mail 

Day off to help spinal victims like James McQuillan, The Border Mail

The Big Day Off, Prime7 News 

This guy, who suffered a tragic injury, wants to give people a day off work to raise money, Business Insider

Big Day Off for a big cause, The Border Mail

Take a Big Day Off and raise funds for SCIA, Freedom2Live



The Beach House to be refurbished

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia has received a very generous grant of over $27,000 from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, which will allow us to refurbish The Beach House in Coffs Harbour. The Beach House is an accessible holiday home for people with spinal cord injury and similar disabilities. Read all about the house, the grant and what we have planned in The Coffs Harbour Advocate. 

SCIA's Jim Wicks accepts the $27,000 cheque from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

SCIA's Jim Wicks accepts the $27,000 cheque from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation



Saving Burn Rubber Burn

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia recently saved Burn Rubber Burn, a vital exercise program for people with disability, from closing down. The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, The Southern Courier, the Macarthur Chronicle and the Western Weekender have reported on how important the program has been for Brian Long, Ben Meoli, Trent Bell and Ken Mason and their relief that it will remain open.

The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader reports on how beneficial Burn Rubber Burn has been for people like Brain Long, who has been able to become more mobile after sustaining a spinal injury two years ago.Read the article by clicking here.

The Southern Courier encourages the local community to support Burn Rubber Burn by donating to keep the program open well into the future. Ben Meoli, born with paraplegia, uses the program to help manage his health, he says the program is "essential part of my life" and is working on loosing some more weight so he can get his drivers license. Read the article by clicking here.

The Macarthur Chronicle reports on the amazing improvement in Trent's strength and physical abilities since he was injured with quadriplegia.  “In hospital I was using a chin controlled power wheelchair because I had no strength in my arms. Since Burn Rubber Burn my strength has increased dramatically. Now I can control my wheelchair with my hand, adjust myself in the chair, turn lights on and off, eat by myself. For me and my family gaining that independence back has been life-changing,” says Trent. Read the article by clicking here.

In the Western Weekender Ken Mason speaks about how Burn Rubber Burn has helped him regain movement, strength and balance after a stroke. "It was very important to me that the program was saved... I rely on exercising in an accessible gym to keep my general health in check," says Ken. Read the article by clicking here.

You can help ensure Burn Rubber Burn stays open well into the future by clicking here to donate



Education Officer Heidz Haydon in the news

SCIA Education Officer Heidz Haydon has starred in an episode of ABC2's Tattoo Tales. Heidz wanted to get a tattoo for as long as she could remember, but it wasn’t until a motorbike accident left Photo of Heidi Haydon, SCIA Education Officerher with paraplegia that she decided to go ahead and get one. After seven months spent recovering from the accident Heidz decided to tell her story on her skin through a series of colourful and artistic tattoos. Click here to read more. The episode is available on iView until 29 April 2015, click here to watch.

You can also watch Heidz in the 7.30 Report’s Humans of Newtown photography blog story. “For me, Humans of Newtown was about removing the stigma that people in chairs are different than anybody else... we're all the same. I just happen to be sitting down.” Heidz says. Click here to watch.



Joan Hume encourages voters with a disability to use iVote

SCIA President Joan Hume has been featured in The Australian letting voters with a disability know about the iVote system for the upcoming NSW state election.

“Most of the polling booths in my electorate of Coogee are inaccessible,” Ms Hume said. “My closest polling booth is up a flight of stairs and there’s no accessible parking within cooee.’’

Ms Hume says there is no right more basic than the right to participate in the democratic process. “When you can’t access a local polling booth, it diminishes your choice and independence,” she said. “It means as a voter with a disability you are less valued than other people.’’

Any voter who is vision-impaired or has a disability, lives more than 20km from a polling booth or will be out of the state on March 28 can cast their vote online or by phone.

By the election between 150,000 - 200,000 voters are expected to have used the iVote electronic voting system.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here for more information in the iVote system.



Teamsafe features on A Current Affair

A Current Affair​ featured David Crawford, ambassador for our workplace injury prevention program Teamsafe, in an important story about workplace safety. To watch click here.

Our Teamsafe program presents the real-life story of why following safety processes based on participation, facilitation and empowerment is so important. For more information on the Teamsafe program click here.

David Crawford



Timothy Rushby-Smith's life down-under

SCIA member Timothy Rushby-Smith recently shared the story of his injury and move from London to Australia with the UK Spinal Injury Assocation magazine forward.

Click here to read the article

forward magazine article




Teamsafe features in Safety Solutions Magazine

Our workplace injury prevention program Teamsafe was recently featured in Safety Solutions Magazine.

"Organised by Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), the Teamsafe workplace safety and injury prevention program presents a human face on why following safety processes based on participation, facilitation and empowerment is so important. Now working as a Teamsafe coordinator at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, David Crawford shares the workplace experience that dramatically changed his life in the blink of an eye."

Click here to read the article here.



Janine Shepherd - from wheels to wings

On the brink of a Winter Olympics debut as a cross-country skier in 1986, Janine Shepherd was hit by a truck during bike training in the Blue Mountains. Over the 30 years since her accident Janine has written three books (her first Never Say Never was made into a film), has become a fully qualified commercial pilot and aerobatics flying instructor and has been a tireless ambassador for spinal research.

Janine talks about her role as a Red Bull Wings for Life World Run ambassador the importance of exercise programs like Walk On for people with spinal cord injury.

“Research has come a long way since my accident. I was sent home from hospital and it was up to me to forge my own way forward. Now we are seeing brilliant programs such as Project Walk in the USA, and Walk On in Australia that are harnessing the latest techniques and cutting edge knowledge, particularly in the field of Neuroplasticity, to achieve the best possible outcome for new patients."

Read more here.




Tim McCallum speaking about the recent medical breakthrough for spinal surgery

Watch Tim McCallum, the spokesperson for the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance on ABC News 24 on 22nd October. Tim spoke to the ABC following the news a 38-year-old Bulgarian man has been able to walk again thanks to a pioneering method of spinal surgery. Cells were taken from the man’s nose and inserted into the injured area of his spinal cord. Tim was injured at 18 years old and says that this and other scientific breakthroughs provide hope to people with spinal cord injury.



Greg Killeen speaks to the ABC's AM program about increasing the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme

SCIA Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer Greg Killeen spoke to the ABC's AM program about the importance of increasing the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme. The interview took place ahead of a rally and forum held on the issue at NSW Parliament House on 21st October. Click here to listen to the interview. 

Greg Killeen & Mark Tonga rally for an increase to the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme



Support Sing for Spinal Cord Injury

Sing For Spinal Cord Injury are Jae Haydon and Billy Demos, who are performing 30 songs in 30 days to raise money for people with spinal cord injury. Jae says, "it’s something I wanted to do for a while, I play all the time so I thought I could upload an acoustic cover song a day and get it going to raise money, awareness and give people something to enjoy each day.’’ You can donate to this fantastic project by visiting:

Click here to read more about the fundraiser in the Illawarra Mercury.



Tim Hays returns to work thanks to In-Voc and support from SCIA

Fantastic to see the wonderful story of Tim Hay's journey back to work in the Newcastle Herald. With the support of In-Voc, the spinal ward at Royal North Shore Hospital and the SCIA Peer Support team, Tim has started re-training as a spatial analyst at the company where he worked prior to his injury. Tim says, "it has given me something to strive towards, not just through an employment side of things, but a social and intellectual side as well."

Click here to read the article.

If you are interested in returning to work, contact our Workforce team on



Walk On client Mikaela Williams

One of our youngest Walk On clients has been featured on the front cover of Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association Quarterly magazine. Mikaela attends our exercise program Walk On in Brisbane and has been getting some excellent results, with her strength, balance and independence improving.

When asked about Walk On, Mikaela’s dad Peter says, “kids like Mikaela need places like this. When you combine an intensive, consistent and disciplined program with committed therapists and parents working together, that is a potent mix that launches their development into overdrive.”

Click here to read the full article.



Walk On client Matt Battista features on SBS's Insight program

Walk On client Matt Battista featured on SBS's Insight program on Tuesday 15 July. The program focused on whether current stem cell treatments are cause for hope or are just misleading hype. Matt joined Perry Cross in sharing his experience of stem cell therapy to treat a spinal cord injury.

The full episode aired on Tuesday 15 July. You can watch the episode and read the transcript here.


Matt Battista at Walk On in Perth

Matt Battista training at our Walk On gym in Perth



The David Prast Future Leadership Program

News in the RACP News, the Journal of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, announcing the David Prast Future Leadership Program and the creation of a new Research Establishment Fellowship in David’s honour. Please read.



Walk On client Ben Kende

Walk On client Ben Kende has been profiled in an article in the South China Morning Post about spinal cord injury. Ben was injured in 2010 in an under-20s rugby tournament. Today he is studying at university and attends Walk On. "His upper body has got stronger all the time with constant therapy," says Ben's mother Jennifer. Read the article here:



Mark Tonga Clubs NSW Community Heart award

Congratulations to Mark Tonga, one of our Policy and Advocacy team members, for his recent win of the Clubs NSW Community Heart award.

Mark was nominated by the Castle Hill RSL club for his on-going work in fighting for better outcomes for people with disabilities. 

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said that while this year’s competition was fierce, the work Mark Tonga has done advocating for a better social environment for people with disabilities made him the front runner when it came to deciding the winner of the Heart of the Community Award, “Mark’s commitment to the local area, his local club and supporting other people with disabilities has really showed that Mark genuinely is the Heart of his Community.”



Sunday Brunch with Heidi Haydon – interview with Simon Marnie on 702 ABC Sydney on 25th May 2014

Heidi Haydon is a motorcycle enthusiast and a Peer Support Officer with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. It was in 2009, on her motorbike, that Heidi was involved in an accident after a ute T-boned her going through a roundabout. Heidi was left with T4 complete paraplegia. After emerging from hospital and rehab she found the transition enormously difficult. Among other things, she always felt people staring at her and she recalls once having a five minute 'stare-out' with someone. Heidi says the world is not made for people in wheelchairs but she has since discovered 'there is usually a way around things' including customising a new three-wheeled motorbike. Listen to the full interview with Simon Marnie here:



Brave recovery for a girl who fell to earth

SCIA member and client Emma Carey has been featured in the Canberra Times. Emma's story is amazing and she continues to improve every week that she attends our Walk On gym in Sydney. Well done Emma for telling your story and your achievements so far! You can read the article here:



Independence is the key - St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

One of our Walk On clients, Kerrie Munsie, talks about her life since her injury. You can read the article here



Spinal cord injury in the media

With the recent injury of Alex McKinnon, spinal cord injury has been talked about and discussed in the media and SCIA staff and clients have contributed to the conversation. Watch Dan Holt from the SCIA Peer Support Team on Nine News Sydney, Walk On client Alex Walker on the ABC's 7.30 Report and listen to SCIA CEO Peter Perry on 2ser FM - Real Radio The Wire program. Also read a subsequent article that appeared on ABC online following the 7.30 Report.



Access ramps on regional trains

Prime Television has featured a news item on the inadequacy of the current access ramp system on regional trains. Glenda Hodges, our Regional Officer in Tamworth spoke about the dangers and the fear that someone is going to be injured or worse. Please watch the news item here.



Rand local helped by Spinal Cord Injuries Australia

An article about SCIA's upcoming Independence Expo, being attended by Rand's Joe Gardiner, has featured in the Southern Weekly. Please read the article here



Expo offers key update: Focus on spinal injuries

An article about SCIA's upcoming Independence Expo has featured in the Inner Western Courier. Please read the article here



Jess Hansson wins Exercise and Sports Science Association Practicum Supervisor of the Year

One of our superstar Exercise Physiologists in Melbourne, Jess Hansson, has won the 2013 Exercise and Sports Science Association (ESSA) Practicum Supervisor of the Year! Jess has been recognised for her significant contribution to student clinical placement and the learning and development needs of exercise physiology students. Winning this national award is an incredible achievement and one that is certainly well deserved. Congratulations Jess! Read more about Jess's win and her work at Walk On Melbourne here:



NDIS will help, says lobby group - local access issues in the Eurobodalla Shire

Peter Perry, our CEO, talks about local access issues and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the Eurobodalla Shire in this article from the Batemans Bay Post. Please read the article here



Illawarra Health Action Plan launch

Alex Traill, who recently retired after over 20 years of service at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) and remains an advocate for the organisation and people with a disability, was featured in an article in the Illawarra Mercury.

The article coincided with the launch of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) Disability Action Plan 2014-2017 at Dapto's Ribbonwood Centre on 20th February 2014.

Alex took part in the health district's access and navigation audit of its hospitals by inspecting things like parking, pathways, signage and entrances, recommending additional parking spaces, more kerb ramps, better path maintenance and signage and auto-entry doors.

SCIA Acting Manager Regional Services Leah Ogden also helped launch the plan alongside Robert Farrugia of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District Director and Graeme Innes Disability Discrimination Commissioner. 

To read the article go to



Aged care and the NDIS are not interchangeable

Tony Jones, a Policy and Advocacy Officer for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and an Advisor to Jan Barham MLC, Greens NSW MP, has written an opinion piece for ABC’s Ramp Up about aged care and the NDIS.

Tony explores the implications of supports for people over 65 who acquire a disability being provided by the aged care sector instead of the NDIS.

He concludes that, “If people who acquire a disability after age 65 are to have an engaged and fulfilling life, three main issues will need to be addressed: suitable support to remain in the home and engage in the community, workforce support for those able to remain in employment, including working with employers to find ways to recruit and retain older workers with a disability, and adequate mainstream support to reduce the pressures through housing, healthcare and welfare.

"These concerns require a broad public policy approach from all levels of government and agencies. The demands will be beyond the scope of the aged care sector alone to address.”

You can read the full article here.



People with spinal cord injuries maximising life choices

Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka today visited Spinal Cord Injuries Australia’s (SCIA) Walk On program in Lidcombe to see first-hand the support it provides to people with a spinal cord injury.

“SCIA received more than $3 million in funding from the NSW Government this financial year to cover services including accommodation, medical crisis support, nursing care and the Walk On program,” Minister Ajaka said.  

“Today I am experiencing the Walk On program first hand, including its intensive activity based exercise program. This offers paraplegics and quadriplegics the chance to regain function through personalised exercise programs aligned to people’s goals. 

“With help from the program, each client is able to experience improvements in their physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing with some, amazingly even taking their first steps.”

The Chief Executive of SCIA Peter Perry said Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is committed to finding effective ways for people with spinal cord injuries to be able to live lives no different from anyone else.

“We help more than 90 clients per week get back on track after a spinal cord injury so they can become the masters of their own destiny, rather than recipients of care.

“The Minister’s visit affords us an opportunity to demonstrate the amazing outcomes and progress made by our clients as well as to meet the team who make it all possible.”

Minister Ajaka said it is wonderful to see the results which can be achieved by non-government organisations with the support of government funding.

“SCIA not only make a difference to people’s lives in NSW, but their expertise is also recognised and accepted internationally,” he said.



Safe Day Initiative

A commitment to safety by Arrium Mining and Leighton Contractors has resulted in more than $50,000 being donated to charity.

The companies joined forces to create an added focus on safety as part of the Magnetite Optimisation Project at Arrium Mining's South Middleback Ranges Concentrator site by adopting a 'Safe Day Initiative'. For every one of the project days completed safely, Arrium Mining and Leighton Contractors each contributed $100 to a fund to be distributed to nominated charities.

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia was the major recipient, receiving 30 per cent of the proceeds. 

SCIA client Charles Brice represented SCIA to accept the generous donation generated by this fantastic initiative.

Click here to read the the Wyalla News article about the project.



Expo News

February 2014

The Disability Trust has published an article about the SCIA Independence Expo in their newsletter ‘Your Voice, Your Choice’. Please read the article here.




Walk On

Walk On was featured in the Annual Report of the Sporting Wheelies & Disabled Sport & Recreation Association of Queensland.



The sickening cost of hospital parking

Chris Nicholls, General Manager of Transitional Services at SCIA, has been quoted in an article in the Daily Telegraph and The Australian about parking costs at public hospitals in NSW.

The article says that public hospital patients, visitors and staff are being gouged $24 million a year for parking. Mr Nicholls spoke about the challenges families face when visiting relatives in hospital after a spinal cord injury.

"It is absolutely horrendous for these people when it comes to visiting their family members. If they live in Sydney they want to visit their relatives every day, but the parking costs so much a lot of these people couldn't possibly afford to drive."

You can read the article here.



Daredevils warned about jumping off Manly Wharf

SCIA CEO Peter Perry, speaking on behalf of the Australian Spinal Injury Alliance has been quoted in an article in The Manly Daily.

In a photo supplied to the newspaper, a man was captured jumping off the Manly wharf building into the waters about eight metres below. It is common for people to dive off the deck, but wharf property manager Chris Coore said it was the first time he had heard of someone jumping off the roof. Mr Perry said in the article that young people often did not realise how much a spinal injury could change their lives and encouraged young people to watch out for their mates.

You can read the article here. 



SCIA Independence Expo is back in 2014

The Spinal Cord Injuries Australia Independence Expo 2014 was featured in Inform Magazine, produced by Independence Australia. 

The SCIA Independence Expo is back for its second year on Saturday 5th April, 2014. Taking place at Australian Technology Park in Sydney, this event is specifically for people with a spinal cord injury and other similar physical disability. Discover an extensive range of disability products, services and information and practical workshops all under one roof. Entry is free and there is funding available to help people attend this fantastic event. Visit SCIA Independence Expo to find out more and register to attend. 



Transport accessibility in Australia today

Greg Killeen, disability advocate and part of the SCIA Policy and Advocacy team, looks into the accessibility of transport services in major Australian cities in a three piece series for the ABC's Ramp Up Website.

Part 1 - In the first article of this 3-part series, he focuses on the most common modes of public transport - buses, trains and trams.

Part 2 - In the second article of this 3-part series, he focuses on coaches, charter buses and dedicated school buses.

Part 3 - The final article of this 3-part series looks into taxis and related services.



Sydney's rail network and accessibility

Pauline David is a graduate of our Discovering the Power in Me (DPM) program, a DPM team member and budding advocate for people with disabilities. Here is her article on accessible transport in Sydney, featured in the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun, please click here to read the article.



Jerome Wong to drive modified vehicle from London to Cape Town

Jerome Wong and Jessica

One of our adventurous fundraisers Jerome Wong is featured on the front page of the Hornsby Advocate. Jerome and his partner Jessica will drive a modified 4WD from London to Cape Town and are fundraising for SCIA to help other people with a spinal cord injury.

To support Jerome with his fundraising please visit: can read the article here.



Safety raises money for charity

Arrium Mining and Leighton Contractors recently joined forces to introduce a safety initiative at the Magnetite Expansion Project at the South Middleback Ranges concentrator site. For every day completed safely without injury, $100 was contributed by each company to a fund which at the end of the project was to be distributed to a number of nominated charities including Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. Read here about the initiative and the charities that will benefit.



Walk On

Our Walk On program has featured in a new publication of the University of Sydney Faculty of Health Sciences - Thought Leaders Shaping Health.



Report: International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia has been recognised as a leading provider of valuable services in a recent report published by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The report entitled ‘International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury’ summarises information about spinal cord injury and the practices of various organisations from around the world. We are proud to be acknowledged in this report as it shows our programs are recognised on a global level for making a difference to the lives of people with spinal cord injury. The report is available from the WHO website and can also be borrowed in hard copy from the SCIA SCI Resources Library.



Media coverage from the Maximising Life Choices launch

Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, John Ajaka, launched the Research into Maximising Life Choices of People with a Spinal Cord Injury report at Parliament House to an audience of disability sector leaders on 14th November 2013.

The event was featured by ARATA, the UNSW Newsroom and on the website of Greens NSW MP Jan Barham.



Minister launches report to help maximise life choices


Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, John Ajaka, launched the Research into Maximising Life Choices of People with a Spinal Cord Injury report at Parliament House to an audience of disability sector leaders. 

Minister Ajaka said the report, launched during Spinal Awareness Week (10-16 November), took a unique and refreshing approach to research by asking people with spinal cord injuries about their real life experiences. 

“The approach adopted by the report is consistent with the values of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which values individual opinions and experiences,” Mr Ajaka said. 

“Under the NDIS people with disability will make decisions about their life, and they will be able to choose and take control of services they use. 

“By releasing the report during Spinal Awareness Week, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) is helping to bring more attention and awareness around people with spinal injuries face on a daily basis.” 

With funding assistance from the NSW Government, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales to carry out research into maximising life choices of people with spinal cord injury, highlighting the needs of people with disability.

 The Research into Maximising Life Choices of People with a Spinal Cord Injury report revealed that physical and emotional wellbeing was fundamental to being able to participate in society and take full advantage of opportunities. The role of the family in terms of emotional, physical and financial support was shown to be crucial in enabling people to achieve these goals.

The vision of SCIA is "a society without barriers for people with a spinal cord injury” and SCIA wanted to understand why some people face obstacles in society and what is stopping them from participating in their community. This research reveals some of the challenges that people face so that the organisation can provide services, information and support to overcome these barriers. 

The report highlighted eight areas of importance for people with spinal cord injuries; having support to maintain and improve health, supporting participation in family and social life, providing support to family and friends, promoting participation in the workforce, improving access to information resources, increasing financial security, improving government policy and increasing accessible housing, facilities and transport. 

Peter Perry, CEO of SCIA said, “We believe that it is important for everyone to experience social inclusion and to be able to access every opportunity in their community. This research sets a benchmark for the disability sector as it shows how crucial it is to put the needs of people with disability at the centre of service delivery.” 

SCIA client Kerry Munsie has paraplegia resulting from a car accident, speaking at the event today she said, “Spinal Cord Injuries Australia has helped me identify my goals and have supported me and my family throughout my journey. I am grateful that they have worked with me to help me grow as an individual and get my confidence back.” 

To read a copy of the report, visit Maximising Life Choices Report



Nick Dale at Walk On

13 November 2013

Article in Swimstyle magazine about One Funky World Foundation's sponsorship of Nick Dale which has enabled him to take part in Walk On. Please read here about how Nick has benefitted from the program.  



ABC Radio discussion on spinal cord injuries and Spinal Injuries Awareness Week

11 November 2013

On ABC 666 Afternoons last week, Alex Sloan was joined by dietitian Caroline Salisbury, Peter Perry, and Chris Nicholls from Spinal Cord Injuries Australia to discuss the lives of those who have spinal cord injuries. Please listen to the interview here.



Easy Rider - South Coast Ride

4 November 2013

The 3rd annual Easy Rider - South Coast Cruise took place on Sunday the 3rd of November. Over one hundred and twenty motorcyclists and muscle car enthusiasts met at the Towradgi Beach Hotel and cruised to the Sussex Inlet Tavern for a BBQ lunch, all to raise much needed funds for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. The Illawarra Mercury covered the event with two articles, one appearing in the Saturday edition of the Illawarra Mercury ,"Take Two"  and a photo gallery of fantastic images from the event here:



How neuroplasticity helped Evander Conroy make his first baby steps

Evander Conroy, one of our youngest clients featured in The Weekend Australian. The article tells the story of his family’s fight to access therapy and how SCIA and Walk On have been instrumental in Evander’s progress. You can read the article here.

For more information about our Walk On program please click here or call us on 1800 819 775.

To support families like Evander's you can donate here.

To keep in contact with Walk On via Facebook please click here.

You can learn more about Evander at the Evander Conroy Foundation.



Top Sports in Fun Run

15 October 2013

David and Tannia Smith who both work at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, are planning on completing the 4km Maroubra Fun Run again this year, a run they did 13 years ago as the first wheelchair entrants. Please read about their plans.



Students get dose of reality

19 September 2013

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia supporter Nate Greenfield shared his story with students of St Paul's College to highlight the dangers of drink driving and reduce the number of young lives affected by spinal cord injury. Great work Nate!!



Mates' special bond after two life changing accidents

19 August 2013

A fundraising event taking place in Coffs Harbour this week will be raising money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. Please read more.... 



Accessible taxi rank for wheelchair users launched at Top Ryde City

Michael Magro, a Client Advocate Coordinator for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, has been instrumental in getting a wheelchair accessible taxi rank established at the Top Ryde City shopping centre in Sydney. Please read more.... 



SCIA app media coverage

6 August 2013

Following the release of our new app (see news 4 February 2013 for details and how to download) we have had some good media coverage.  



System flaws bar path back to work

23 July 2013

Caroline Cox is a qualified midwife and contracted a spinal cord infection in 2008 which paralysed her from the neck down and put her in hospital for 12 months. Since that time Caroline has undertaken intensive exercise rehabilitation to get her to where she is today. One of Caroline's goals has been to get back to work. In this article in The Australian, read about how SCIA helped Caroline get back working as a midwife.  Caroline also featured in our Accord magazine. You can read all about Caroline and her story in the latest issue of Accord.



Exercising for the independent body

1 July 2013
Newcastle Herald

EACH month Colin Caban packs his wheelchair into the back of his car and drives from his home in Cessnock to attend a life-changing exercise program in Sydney. Walk On, run by Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), is individually designed to improve strength and mobility, enhancing a person's independence. Mr Caban, who has paraplegia, is living proof it works.

"Attending Walk On is the best thing I've ever done and the support from SCIA has been fantastic,". Please read more... 



Raising money for SCIA on the City2Surf

1 July 2013

The City2Surf is coming up soon and in the lead up to the event the Sun Herald Sunday Life magazine, as part of its series on the City2Surf, has profiled Patreece Botheras. Patreece is the sister of Monique King who sadly passed away recently after a long battle with illness and poor health. Patreece is raising money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. Please read about Patreece's plans and goals for the City2Surf and SCIA.



Channel Ten Walk On Stem cell research

25 June 2013

Channel Ten have done a story on stem cell research and featured Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and Walk On client Rod Watson. Please watch the video here.



'Rank' decision on taxi subsidies isolates people with disability


In the 2013-2014 NSW Budget, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian has failed to respond to ongoing requests to increase the NSW Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) which offsets part of taxi transport costs for people with severe disability.

The NSW TTSS provides a 50% subsidy of a maximum $60 taxi fare (maximum $30 subsidy); however, the subsidy has not increased since 1999 although NSW taxi fares have increased by 60%.  For many people with severe disability, wheelchair accessible taxis are the only means of transport. The increasing cost of taxi fares has an ongoing detrimental impact on their ability to seek and maintain employment. Australia is currently ranked 21 out of 29 of OECD countries in relation to people with disability in employment so helping people get to and from work should be a priority. The cost of taxi transport means it is also difficult for people with disability to attend medical appointments, visit family and participate in social and recreational activities.

Greg Killeen, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, has a physical disability and is also a TTSS participant. Killeen has been campaigning to increase the subsidy for many years and anticipated that the Minister would announce the increase in the recent 2013-2014 NSW Budget.

"The NSW TTSS is now ineffective, resulting in many people with severe disability becoming increasingly isolated. Furthermore, people with disability face other unavoidable costs and expensive taxi fares often prevent them from seeking and maintaining employment," says Killeen.

Peter Perry, Chief Executive of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia says that the news is hard to believe, given the relatively small amount of money involved. He says, “The decision not to increase the subsidy goes against the very principle of helping people with disability to get back to work and to participate in society.”

The NSW Transport Minister is completely aware of the ongoing negative impact due to the cost of taxi fares as the 2010 NSW Parliamentary review of the NSW Taxi Industry recommended the TTSS subsidy be increased to 50% of a maximum $100 taxi fare. Looking at other states, the Victorian Government has been providing a 50% subsidy of a $120 taxi fare (maximum $60 subsidy) since 2008 and the South Australian Government provides a 75% subsidy of taxi fares.

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is seeking the NSW TTSS subsidy be increased to 75% of a maximum $120 taxi fare (maximum $90 subsidy) to address these barriers which will also assist people travelling long distances in rural and regional areas and people travelling in Sydney due to the increased traffic congestion. A recent survey of NSW TTSS participants, titled "The Shrinking Circle" revealed many people with disability are spending up to 30% of their welfare benefits or wages on taxis.


CONTACT: Peter Perry, Chief Executive Officer, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia 02 8347 3015.



SCIA at the PossABLE IDEAS Expo

29 April 2013
Advertising in The Newcastle Herald, SCIA's upcoming attendance at the Newcastle PossABLE IDEAS Expo.



NSW urged to lift taxi subsidies for disabled

22 April 2013

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia campaign to increase the NSW taxi transport subsidy scheme is continuing with the publication of an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday. Please read the article here.....



Julia Haraksin's victory

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is delighted at Julia Haraksin’s Federal court victory against Murray Coaches on the grounds of disability discrimination

Accessibility of all forms of public transport is a national priority. While we are seeing more accessible buses in our cities and a growing number of accessible train stations the accessibility of transport between cities is often left lagging behind.

Julia Haraksin’s success has highlighted a failure in transport options for people with a disability. Through her tenacity she has mounted a case against Murray Coaches of discrimination against her owing to them not arranging an accessible bus when requested. Yesterday the Federal court announced that it upheld her case of Discrimination ruling that Murray Coaches now need to ensure that they have accessible buses throughout their fleet in line with Federal standard requirements.

“Spinal Cord Injuries Australia applauds Julia’s work and recognises that it is often through the individual effort of people with disability that the world changes for the better,” says Spinal Cord Injuries Australia CEO, Peter Perry.

It’s a shame that many companies do not recognise the needs of people with disability when making fleet purchasing choices. Many costly modifications could be prevented with proactive choices. This feeds into the general lack of access that exists in our community.

“With an ageing population, young mothers with prams and the simple needs of people with a disability, access has never been a more sensible business decision than it is now,” says Peter Perry.

Murray Coaches have already modified some of their buses thanks to Julia’s pressure. However now that the Federal court has ruled against Murray Coaches they will be required to achieve the Federal target of 80% of all coaches to be made accessible by 2017.

We celebrate the work of Julia Haraksin and her lawyers at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and congratulate them on a great result for the community.

For further comments please contact:

Peter Perry CEO, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia 02 9661 8855 or 0414 562 342 or

SCIA Media Release: 15 March 2013.

To read more about the case see the article in the Sydney Morning Herald.



Naming and shaming able-bodied motorists using disabled parking spaces

12 March 2013
A Current Affair

SCIA Chief Executive, Peter Perry, comments on the story of Lisa Chaffey, a disability activist and former Paralympian who is using her mobile phone and Facebook page to name and shame able-bodied motorists who park in spaces reserved for disabled people. Please watch the video here.



Special Tamworth screening of film for spinal cord injury charity

28 February 2013

News item in the Northern Daily Leader about a special screening of the film Oz: the Great and Powerful which is to be held in Tamworth on the 7th of March 2013. The event, which has been organised by Slater and Gordon, is been held to raise money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. Please read more... 



Bali bombing survivor Terry Fitzgerald at Walk On in Perth

25 February 2013

Bali bombing survivor Terry Fitzgerald's treatment regime at Perth's Walk On gym, a program of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, featured on Channel Ten News on the 22nd of February 2013. Please watch.... 



Miracle Nathan proves doctors wrong, a tiny step at a time

20 November 2012

Article about Walk On Brisbane client Nathan Handley in the Sunday Courier. Please read.... 



Defying the odds

20 November 2012

Article about Walk On Melbourne featuring client Karen Herps and staff member Hayley Sheriff. Please read..... 



SCIA in the News advocating for the Better Start program to include children with sci

SCIA featured on the Channel Ten news last night (14 Nov 2012), in relation to children with spinal cord injuries and the Better Start program.

Currently children with spinal cord injuries are not included in the funding for the Better Start program and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia is advocating to change this. You can get involved by reading and commenting in our Policy and Advocacy Blog - see the posts on the Better Start program:



South Coast cruise to help spinal injury charity

9 November 2012

A motocross accident two years ago left Kurt Brown in a wheelchair, but he can’t wait to get behind the wheel of his converted car for a charity cruise tomorrow. For the 21-year-old Wollongong man, it will be a chance to give back to the organisation which helped give him back his independence. Along with his father David, he organised the Easy Rider South Coast Cruise to raise money for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) and to mark the start of Spinal Injuries Awareness Week. Please read more......



Improvements to access at SCIA

30 October 2012

SCIA recently had the driveway resurfaced at our Little Bay office for which we are very grateful to Randwick Council.



No money for Unanderra station

4 October 2012

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia has been heavily involved in advocating for a lift at the Unanderra Station. Please read about the ongoing campaign here.  



Walk On client Robbie Reoch raising money for Walk On

19 September 2012

19-year-old Robbie Reoch was born with cystic fibrosis and also has a spinal cord injury. Despite this, Robbie has fought incredibly hard to improve his functional ability at Walk On, a program run by SCIA. To help give other people with SCI the same chance, he is fundraising for Walk On. Robbie featured on The Today Show yesterday.



Robbie's got grit to take part in festival

12 September 2012

Robbie Reoch has rounded up 30 of his friends and family to participate in the Blackmores Running Festival Family Fun Run on Sunday 16 September to raise money for equipment for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia's Walk On Program... please read more about Robbie's plans....



Unanderra Station action

27 August 2012

SCIA Regional Manager Alex Traill has been advocating for Unanderra Station to become accessible under the State Government's Easy Access Program. The Illawarra Mercury reported on a recent demonstration where Spinal Cord Injuries Australia and other Illawarra organisations supported local resident Richard Kramer in his quest to get into Unanderra Station. Click here to read the Mercury article.



SCIA success at the NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards

The NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards program showcases and rewards those individuals and organisations that are out there doing things differently, thinking outside the box to progress the delivery of services and achieve results for people with a disability, their families and carers.

The awards are an initiative of the NSW Government in partnership with National Disability Services (NDS) NSW to recognise excellence in the disability sector. 

SCIA was involved as a finalist or winner in three of the eight categories:

1. CHOICES was a finalist in the Innovation in Independent Living Award (won by TAD NSW).

2. Sheree Hurley won the Emerging Leader Award (nominated by SCIA).

3. Greg Killeen won the Distinguished Service Award. 

For more details please read the Ministers Media Release.

Also read all about Greg's success in the Southern Courier.



Walking with hope

4 July 2012

Article in The Age by quadriplegic Matthew Pierri who writes about the intensive activity based exercise programs available now (including SCIA's Walk On program) and the benefits that can be gained. Please read more.....



Research breakthrough and Walk On

4 June 2012

Research breakthrough: paralyzed rats learning to walk. Story on Channel 7 - includes a visit to our Walk On gym. Please watch the video...



Patients get iPads, wi-fi to connect and play

22 May 2012

Patients at the Prince of Wales hospital in Sydney have received iPads and wireless internet under a charity initiative by managed service provider ASG. In conjunction with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), ASG has launched the ConnectAbility Program, allowing patients with spinal injuries to access entertainment and information during long hospital stays. Please read all about it in CRN Australia, ComputerWorld and an article published in the August issue of Hospital & AgedCare.



Walk On Official Launch in Melbourne

Walk On Melbourne had its official launch on Monday the 14th of May 2012 with the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce officially opening the program in Melbourne. 
Please read SCIA's official media release.

Media Release and speech from the Governor General.

Article in the Brimbank Leader and in the Maribyrnong Weekly.

We also featured on Channel Nine News.



Holidays for the disabled

8 February 2012

Article in the Coffs Coast Advocate about SCIA's new House in Coffs Harbour which will be used for holiday or respite accommodation.  Please read..... 

Please go to our Accommodation page for more information about the house.  




Milestone moment 'a second chance'

30 January 2012

Article about Stephen Williams who has been participating in SCIA's Walk On program. Please read more.



Full of ability to have fun

5 December 2011

The third annual Festival of Ability was held in the Casino RV Park last Thursday. Organised by Lee Clark from Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, the day was a great success and much fun was had by all. Read all about it here. 



Chasing the dream of a life more ordinary

13 October 2011

As part of our association with Pathways Australia, SCIA has featured in the Sydney Morning Herald today in a special supplement. Please read the article here



Spinal Injury Coup

27 September 2011

Reporting in the Waneroo Times of SCIA's new Walk On facility in WA. Please read more....



Amazing program helping Rod Watson 'walk on'

8 August 2011

Rod Watson dreams of the day he will be able to kick a football with his son. It is a goal Mr Watson feels he will be able to achieve thanks to an intensive physiotherapy program, which has given the 30-year-old paraplegic hope. After stem cell therapy in Germany, he credits the Walk On program for helping him defy a "grim prognosis" and regain 10 per cent movement in his legs. Read more....



Greats pitch in for Ben

26 July 2011

Article in the Manly Daily detailing about Ben Kende who has benefited greatly from participating in SCIA's Walk On program.



Luke given walk hopes

22 July 2011

Article about Luke Rosadi who has just started attending SCIA's Walk On program in Brisbane. Read all about Luke's hopes and goals here. 



Small step, real hope

18 July 2011

Read about Rod Watson's success with stem cell therapy and the Spinal Cord Injuries Australia Walk On program and his enthusiastic support for getting the Walk On program established in Melbourne.... 



Picking up the pieces

10 June 2011

Shanon Bates is part of our Peer Support Team and helps many people in his role as Education Officer. Mitchell Stone is one person Shanon has been able to help guide along his way.

Picking up the pieces

Getting on with his life 




Walking on hope

1 March 2011

Story about Nathan Handley who has been participating in Spinal Cord Injuries Australia Walk On program. Read all about Nathan's plans for the future here......



7.30 Report - Rhys Tappenden - Walk On

22 December 2010

Walk On client Rhys Tappenden featured on the 7.30 Report where he talks about his experiences at Walk On. Please view the video here.



Governor-General launches the Spinal Cord Injuries Australia 'Walk On' Program

4 November 2010

Our very first NSW Walk On program was launched in Sydney yesterday by our Patron the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce AC. Read More »



Walk On Officially Launched

10 November 2009

Walk On was officially launched yesterday at the Sydney Opera House. Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services acknowledged the maginalisation of people with spinal cord injury, and that a program such as Walk On is vital in the progress of breaking down barriers.

Bill Shorten and David Prast at launch of Walk On
“I do accept that intensive treatment as soon after an injury can dramatically improve the quality of life (for person living with a spinal cord injury) and indeed reduce the cost to the community.  I believe that Walk On has great potential for some of those 10,000 Australian’s affected by spinal cord injury,“ said Shorten.

Shorten continues “ …Listening to Nathan it shows what it means to fight overwhelming odds especially if you have a little help. … small victories and improvements are actually remarkable accomplishments. Being able to drive a car again, being able to hold your child, ski, [or] being able to do just simple things such as cleaning your teeth or brushing your hair, I think these make huge differences to a persons self esteem and their quality of life.”

Shorten adds, “I acknowledge that since May 2008 there has been progress through Walk On Brisbane, and participants have experienced some outstanding stories of recovery.”

Shorten quotes Professor John Steeves, Chair of the International Collaboration for Repair Discoveries and the global expert in all aspects of spinal cord injury, “whilst not the cure for spinal cord injury, there are a lot of results which have been achieved through [engaging in] ‘activity dependent rehabilitation’ …You have to go undergo the movement and make the effort, and once you make the effort all kind of things can happen.  This related to a majority of problems raised by people with SCI – to nerve regeneration to assistance with pressure sores. In most cases of spinal cord injury, the individual still has some preserved function, some level of movement, some sensation below the level of injury. We can use that residual preserved function to improve with activity, functional outcomes thereafter.”




Legs don't fail him now

16 September 2009

To cross the finishing line in the Bridge to Brisbane is an achievement for all participants but Nathan Handley did the impossible, he crossed the line for the first time without his wheelchair.

Nathan’s wheelchair, the legacy of a BMX accident in November 2008 which left the then 17 year-old a C6 quadriplegic, was left behind him as he finished the race in rock-star-style to the cheers of race commentators and spectators.

Supporting Nathan on the 5km course and to cross the line was the team of staff and clients of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia’s Walk On Program. Read more


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