By Achieve Australia Writer and Researcher Fi Bridger

The recent DSC NDIS conference, held on 26 and 27 March brought together people with disability, service providers, political decision-makers, industry networks, and thought leaders to discuss critical developments in the disability support sector. 


Over 2 days, I and about 2,000 conference attendees heard discussions about some of the big changes that may flow from the Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review around how NDIS supports are structured, delivered, and regulated. 

The conference was co-hosted by corporate strategist and former Disability Royal Commissioner, Dr Rhonda Galbally, and DSC Director, Roland Naufal. Speakers included:  

  • NDIS Minister Bill Shorten  
  • Disability Discrimination Commissioner Rosemary Kayess 
  • NDIS Independent Review Co-Chair Professor Bruce Bonyhady  
  • Activist and advocate Grace Tame 
  • NDIS Provider and Worker Registration Taskforce Chair Natalie Wade, also founder and Principal Lawyer at Equality Lawyers  
  • NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission Deputy Commissioner for Complaints and Engagement Sian Leathem

My personal highlights 

My favourite speaker was Grace Tame who delivered a powerful message during an on-stage interview with Natalie Wade.  

Grace shared her insights and experiences, emphasising the importance of resilience, empowerment, and collective action. Her message inspired attendees to continue advocating for positive change in the disability sector. She also spoke of the critical role people with disability and their advocates play in shaping policies and fostering a more inclusive society.  

My favourite presentation (and I am a bit bias) was delivered by colleagues in the Quality Champions team at Achieve Australia and our CEO Jo-Anne Hewitt. 

Jo-Anne and Voice of Customer Manager Belle Savage, Quality Champion Stuart Champion and Quality Champion Partner Matt Kohler told the audience about the program that involves the team making appointments with the people we support to go into their homes and gather feedback about the services they receive from Achieve Australia. 

This person-centred program is about heart-based connection through deep listening, which builds trust and allows for personalised 1:1 supports to be delivered to clients rather than standardised supports. 

Interviews are conducted by pairs – a staff member in the Quality Champion role, who has lived experience of disability, and a Quality Champion Partner. During the client interviews, various aspects of a person’s service experience are discussed in the context of their current lifestyle, community connections, and future goals. The duo co-writes a report that is then used to enhance the service experience.  

Our panel told the DSC conference audience that Quality Champions is relatively inexpensive to run but provides a huge opportunity to elevate the voices of the people we support to speak with truth and certainty about what matters to them most. The Champions said they see themselves as advocating for our clients in support of their goals.   

What I didn’t hear at the conference 

While the conference was amazing, I feel that no one was addressing the ‘elephant’ in the room – well a couple of elephants.  


  • What strategies will all levels of government use to make society more inclusive for PWD?  


  • How and when the NDIS Review recommendations will be implemented? 


There are still a lot of other unanswered questions, especially regarding the topic of Support Navigators, which are to replace both Coordinators and Plan Managers, and this makes many in the disabled community concerned as people in the audience shared loudly.  

The annual DSC NDIS conference provides a platform to discuss critical developments, seek answers, and envision a more inclusive future for people with disabilities. 

I want to go again next year! 

Matt and Stuart on stage at the DSC
Photography by Katelyn Slyer 
Achieve panel at the conference
Photography by Katelyn Slyer
Jo-Anne and Belle on stage
Photography by Katelyn Slyer