Message from the Secretary

Since publishing our first access and inclusion plan in 2018 (covering 2018–2020), we have been strengthening our commitment to disability inclusion and the support we offer to all our people, including those with disability.

We recognise the exceptional contribution that people with disability make to our teams and our culture, and to the way we deliver programs and services for the Victorian community.

As we set our sights on the next stage of DEECA’s access and inclusion work, it’s important for us to reflect on our progress. We must understand where we have faced challenges and use those lessons to help elevate DEECA as an employer of choice for people with disability.

This plan also offers an opportunity to reflect on DEECA’s achievement in meeting the 6% disability employment target identified in Getting to work: Victorian public sector disability employment action plan 20182025, exceeding the VPS average. We now set our sights on meeting the 12% target by 2025.

In developing the way forward, DEECA has committed to understanding and engaging with people with lived experiences of disability to enhance how we deliver on our priorities and actions. I would like to thank DEECA staff and stakeholders with disability for their willingness to share – recognising that not all disability is visible.

Our staff disability advocacy networks were invaluable in contributing to the plan’s actions and outcomes, where commitments include increasing and expanding our engagement with people with disability in the community.

From building the capability of our people to enhancing our systems and processes, we are removing barriers to full participation by people with disability, supporting everyone to bring their best to the workplace and achieve success in their teams. This plan also ensures that, as a department, our accessibility and inclusion objectives align with other Commonwealth and State government disability goals and connects us more closely to Victoria’s disability community.

As we move into greater disability confidence, we want to challenge our workforce to be flexible in its approach to what ‘great’ looks like. This will help us to be more agile in how we deliver as a department, highlighting the possibilities for new technologies and ways of working for our people. The plan outlines how DEECA can best champion access and inclusion, setting new goals and defining us as leaders in disability inclusion.

John Bradley, Secretary

Secretary John Bradley

Message from our All Abilities Network

The All Abilities Network (AAN) is a staff-led network established in 2018 to support and empower disabled and chronically ill staff and carers to thrive in their roles at DEECA. The AAN’s key priority is to be an influential advocate for workplace diversity and inclusion.

The AAN is committed to acknowledging and centring intersectionality in its work. It works alongside other DEECA staff networks to ensure the intersectional experiences of DEECA staff are recognised and prioritised. The AAN believes staff deserve to feel safe and valued because of their diverse identities, not despite them.

Diverse and inclusive organisations are thriving organisations. The AAN’s vision is of a DEECA that is not only inclusive of people with disabilities but also accompanies inclusivity with deep understanding, accountability, and action. In line with DEECA’s organisational charter, the AAN puts the community at the centre of everything it does. The AAN recognises and values the exceptionally important knowledge and experience of the community that disabled and chronically ill staff provide the department. We, as the Leadership Team, are very grateful to be a part of, represent, and engage with the communities that disabled and chronically ill staff have fostered at DEECA and the VPS more broadly.

Disability is NOT a dirty word! In 2021, the AAN identified four themes based on research and anecdotal evidence from staff to create a focus for the department in supporting disabled staff and carers. The themes were accountability and commitment, departmental resourcing, giving disability a platform where it is a priority, and education for all staff about disability. This clear focus engaged senior executives across the department and provided a platform for the AAN to support staff to achieve meaningful change and better outcomes.

AAN members have contributed their valuable time, expertise and experience to develop the Access and Inclusion Plan 2022–2024 (PDF, 2.1 MB) (AIP). This involved reviewing the actions and outcomes to ensure DEECA has a focus on improvement and accountability. The AAN expects that this plan will lead the department to provide a psychologically safe workplace for all staff, creating a disability confident workforce. The AIP uses real-time data to find solutions to achieve better outcomes for disabled staff, which is a key aspect of the AAN’s work. This plan is an important step in the right direction for DEECA. The AAN looks forward to seeing disabled and chronically ill staff and carers thrive under the outcomes of this plan and beyond.

All Abilities Network Leadership Team

Page last updated: 27/10/23