Empowering Consumers with Disability Forum


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Empowering Consumers with Disability Forum

Tuesday 30 August 2022
9.30am - 3pm
RAC Arena, 700 Wellington Street, Perth

This is an in-person and invitation only event.  

Supporting people who are vulnerable in our community has always been central to Consumer Protection's services. Recognising the unique needs of people with disabilities is critical to protecting their consumer rights and providing tailored support.

Current and evolving issues will be explored, as well as the obstacles that prevent people with disabilities from understanding and accessing their consumer rights. The forum will also give people living with disabilities the opportunity to share their lived experience, including to: 

  • ask questions and discuss concerns;
  • share information and ideas;
  • learn and collaborate;
  • highlight best practice; and
  • expand networks.

Join us at the forum to be part of our journey so that all Western Australians can be confident consumers who can access our services.


Dr John Byrne AM

Western Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity

Dr John Byrne has been Commissioner for Equal Opportunity in Western Australia since 2016.  He has been profoundly deaf since he was eight years old, due to inheriting otosclerosis. Dr Byrne has been an advocate for people with disabilities for many years and in the 1980s, advocated for the WA Equal Opportunity Act 1984 to include the grounds for impairment. He was an inaugural member of the Ministerial Advisory Council for Disability Services in 1991 and served a second term in 1999.

In 2020, Dr Byrne was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for services to social justice.

Alan Kirkland

Chief Executive Officer, CHOICE

Alan has been CEO of consumer organisation CHOICE since 2012. He has a background in access to justice, having worked as CEO of Legal Aid New South Wales, Executive Director of the Australian Law Reform Commission and Chair of the National Legal Assistance Advisory Body. Alan has also been a part-time member of a number of state and federal tribunals, and was a member of the panel for the Ramsay Review, which led to the establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.

Priya Cooper OAM

World champion Paralympic swimmer; Deputy Chair, WA Disability Services Commission and President, WA Disabled Sporting Association.

Born with cerebral palsy, Priya is a world champion disabled swimmer who became one of Australia’s leading Paralympians. From her first appearance at the 1991 National Wheelchair Games where she won a staggering nine gold medals, she went on to win:

  • three gold medals and break two world records at Barcelona Paralympics in 1992;
  • five gold medals and set four world records at the World Swimming Championships in Malta in 1994;
  • five gold medals at the 10th Paralympic Games in Atlanta in 1996; and
  • a gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics – her last – while recovering from major shoulder surgery.

Since Priya retired from competitive swimming, she raises funding and awareness for people with disability to be involved in sport. She is currently Deputy Chair of WA Disability Services Commission and President of the WA Disabled Sporting Association. In 2015 she was inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame and in 2022 was inducted into Paralympics Australia Hall of Fame.

Shelter WA

Building Tenancy Skills Lived Experience Team

Shelter WA, in a partnership with People with disabilities WA (PWdWA) has commenced a project to build resources to help tenants with a disability feel more confident about their rights and responsibilities as tenants.

Consumers of Mental Health WA

Consumers of Mental Health WA (CoMHWA) was incorporated in 2005 by a group of committed and passionate people with lived experience of mental health issues who came together with a shared vision. CoMHWA represents consumers by engaging in consumer consultation and participation across WA through systemic advocacy and reform; education and raising awareness; research; growing peer leadership and support and organisational management; governance and sustainability.

People With disabilities WA

People With disabilities WA (PWdWA) is the largest disability consumer organisation representing the rights, needs, and equity of all Western Australians with physical, intellectual, neurological, psychosocial, or sensory disability via individual and systemic advocacy.

PWdWA provides non-legal advocacy to people with disabilities. Advocacy is the process of standing alongside individuals to ensure that people are able to speak out, to express their views and uphold their rights.


Forum program
Time Activity 

RAC Arena Foyer. Tea and coffee served.


Danielle Loizou-Lake, Coordinator of Ceremonies


Welcome to Country
Sandra Harben, Performer, Richmond Consulting


Opening Address
Jennifer Heron, General Manager Community and Media Engagement


Keynote Address
Dr John Byrne AM, Western Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity


Morning tea and networking break
RAC Arena Foyer. Light refreshments served.


Guest speaker: Priya Cooper OAM
World champion Paralympic swimmer; Deputy Chair, WA Disability Services Commission and President, WA Disabled Sporting Association.


Alan Kirkland, Chief Executive Officer, CHOICE

Alan will talk about the rights of consumers with disability under the Disability Discrimination Act, highlighting case studies where large businesses have not fulfilled their obligations. Alan will also discuss the role of consumer protection in the growing NDIS market.


Minister's Address
Hon Roger Cook MLA, Minister for Commerce


Shelter WA / People with disabilities WA - Building Tenancy Skills Lived Experience Team
Overcoming exclusion when renting

The Building Tenancy Skills Co-design Team are a group of people with disability who are renting. In WA, over 110,000 people with disability live in rental accommodation, with many experiencing challenges.  The needs of tenants with disability are not well understood or reflected in tenancy legislation.

The project team has identified practical solutions to overcome some of the challenges. If you are renting, you may find these solutions helpful and may want to join their campaign for change.


RAC Local Lounge. Buffet lunch served.


Consumers of Mental Health WA 
Peer navigation and advocacy for consumers of mental health.

People with mental health challenges face barriers to accessing services to meet their needs, including stigma, long wait times, financial cost, and a lack of clarity around services available.  

Lobna Rouhani and Dr Mad Magladry, senior policy and research officers at CoMHWA, explain the role of the Peer Pathways service navigation program and how it connects to CoMHWA’s broader advocacy aims. 


People with disabilities WA

Advocacy involves helping people find their voices while focusing on the human needs, rights and interests of people with disabilities.

Self-advocacy means knowing your rights and standing up for yourself. It’s about speaking up about a problem or issues, feeling listened to and taking control of your own life.   

Find out about what’s involved including what supports can be put in place to help those with disability speak up and access their consumer rights.


Summing up (includes Q & A)
Jennifer Heron, General Manager Community and Media Engagement


Event concludes

Have further enquiries?

Please contact the event coordinator on 08 6552 9444 or by email if you have any questions about the forum or need the information in a different format for your accessibility.

Visit RAC Arena's Accessibility webpage for more information about accessibility at the venue.

Consumer Protection
Last updated 25 Aug 2022

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