Paige Armstrong is the CEO of Queenslanders With Disability Network (QDN), an organisation of, for, and with people with disability.
“Our motto is nothing about us without us. QDN operates a state-wide knowledge network of over 1,500 members and supporters, providing information and referral support, advocacy of views from the perspective of a person with disability, consultation, training and education services and delivering specifically funded projects.
“The Network includes QDN’s leaders who actively convene 24 QDN Local Support Groups across Queensland. These groups are our eyes and ears on the ground; they link locally with others with disability, provide big picture policy leadership in their communities and provide peer support and information to help others gain information, build capacity and build inclusive communities.
“QDN supports members, building their capacity to proactively engage with individuals, services and systems to improve the social and economic participation of people with disability locally or at a system level.
“QDN also provides information and referral support to people with disability, and you may have seen our work around housing, energy and the transport subsidy scheme recently where QDN has really helped make a difference in peoples’ lives. QDN’s Housing and Energy champions (all members with disability) worked hard to ensure the voice of people with disability was heard and people informed.
“My role as CEO is to lead QDN’s work, building a strong, active and vibrant state-wide network of people with disability, with a focus on systemic policy issues, enabling people with disability to have a voice while actively being leaders in their own lives, their local communities and at a ‘big picture’ systemic level.
“As CEO of an organisation which is ‘by and for people with disability’ my role is to facilitate support of our members, building their capacity to proactively engage with individuals, services and systems to improve the social and economic participation of people with disability locally or at a system level. My activities also focus on providing effective policy advice, working to strengthen responsive community services and having productive partnerships with government, private sector, the media and the sector.
“QDN’s vision is people with disability who are active and valued citizens, and empowered and fully included in the social and economic life of the community.”
We asked Paige what drives her to do this work.
“I have a family member with disability and have seen her frustrations, first hand, when she cannot do the things she wants because the venues aren’t accessible for her walker, or when people aren’t welcoming and respectful to someone who may appear ‘a bit slow’ and doesn’t always like having a lot of people around them. As such, I have a strong commitment to social justice, and the empowerment and inclusion of people with disability as active citizens in their communities.”
Paige believes that to make the lives of people with disability better we need to see a truly inclusive community where people with disability can participate socially and economically like everyone else. A society where they have ‘real’ jobs, an affordable and accessible place to live, transport available to them and basic human rights met.
Her vision for Queensland’s future is to see the delivery of better outcomes for people with disability and a community that is inclusive and accessible to all people, in every way.
Lastly, the best part of Paige’s day is seeing people with disability grow as leaders in their own lives and be leaders in their communities.
“I love seeing people with disability co-designing and co-delivering workshops and presentations and making a ‘real’ difference in improving the lives of people with disability.”