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Vulnerable Witnesses Bill (SPA Media)

Speech Pathology Australia has released a media release urging Members of the South Australian Upper House to pass the Vulnerable Witnesses Bill. Amongst other initiatives, the Bill gives people with complex communication needs, whether victims, witnesses or defendants, a general entitlement to use an alternative form of communication and to have communication support for any contact with the criminal justice system.

Arising from this media release, Tim Kittel, SPA Director, spoke on ABC Radio 891 about the new legislation and the challenges people with a communication difficulty often face and have to overcome. Listen to Tim Kittel on ABC Radio 891. Tim Kittel did a later interview on the same subject on Radio 5RPH. Listen to Tim Kittel on Radio 1197 AM RPH.

SPA also welcomes the State Government’s commitment to implement a Communication Assistant Scheme that will include the introduction of trained communication partners to support people with complex communication needs throughout their contact with the criminal justice system.

SPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Gail Mulcair, and other Association officers are discussing with the South Australian Attorney-General's Department how speech pathologists can be involved in the implementation of the Communication Assistant Scheme, especially, in determining the best way a person’s communication needs can be supported.


The latest news

Get the right health insurance!

Get the right health insurance before 30 June or it may cost you. With the end of the financial year fast approaching, the question for many is – have I organised my private health insurance? Thanks to your SPA Member Advantage benefits, you have access to Australia's largest not-for-profit health fund HCF's exclusive Corporate Product range.

When you apply for a new policy through Member Advantage you receive:

A member exclusive saving on the premiums for current HCF Corporate Health Insurance products.

Heart cover included in all Hospital products, except Basic Hospital.

Only pay one hospital excess per person per calendar year and no hospital excess for dependent children.

Free 'Limit Boosts' to top up your annual dental and optical limits.

For more information visit the Member Advantage website or call 1300 853 352.

*This offer is for new members taking out hospital and extras cover. Waiver does not apply to waiting periods of more than 6 months and all hospital services, including the same day excess and ambulance services are also excluded from this offer. Correct as at 29/05/2015.


National Conference Media

The 2015 National Conference generated a lot of interest from the media and substantial opportunities were secured across all facets of traditional and social media, including all local TV networks in attendance to film the Health Minister's opening address.

Speech Pathology Australia member and academic Dr Kate Bridgman and her client Reiner Stefani were interviewed on Melbourne's Channel 9 news.

Conference presenter Linda Williams was featured in a Canberra Times article outlining her research in the use of Lego as a tool to help kids with Autism to communicate.

During the conference, three radio stations (all from different states) interviewed Speech Pathology Australia’s outgoing National President, Professor Deborah Theodoros:

  • On ABC Radio 666 Professor Theodoros and conference keynote speaker Professor Jay Rosenbek were interviewed about the speech pathology profession and its work; and
  • On radio stations 6PR (Perth) and 4BO (Ballarat), Professor Theodoros was interviewed on the Federal Government budget decision to axe theHealthy Kids Check.

The major Fairfax newspapers also run stories on the axing of the Healthy Kids Check quoting Professor Theodoros.

During the Conference social media was used to further highlight the importance of the Conference, the topics covered and the knowledge of the invited presenters. Many members in attendance engaged in social media which provided personal and important content.


Policy and advocacy update

Senate Inquiry: Speech Pathology Australia continues to advocate for the profession and for people with communication and swallowing disorders, with ongoing meetings to discuss the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee's recommendations. Recent meetings include discussions with the Western Australian Minister for Disability Services and Minister for Mental Health, the WA Department of Education, and a Parliamentary Briefing to South Australian MPs on the 4 June - hosted by Dignity4Disability SA MP Kelly Vincent.

Federal Health Minister, Susan Ley, indicated in her address to the SPA National Conference that a government response to the Senate Inquiry Report would be released shortly'.

Submissions: SPA has recently made the following formal submissions;

Thank you to the members who provided feedback, experiences and expertise to inform the development of these submissions.

Representation: SPA was represented at the following federal/national forums by members:

  • the National Rural Health Alliance Conference, on 24 May, by Francesca Edis.
  • the Mental Health Australia hosted Community of Interest - Australian Mental Health Care Classification workshop, on 20 May, by Narelle Anger.
  • the Early Childhood Intervention Australia Best Practice In Early Intervention Expert Advisory Group by Sharon Baldachinno, Nisrine El-Choueifati, Tracy Koh, Sandra McMahon, Terese Fullarton, Lily Wicks, Danielle Velucci and Lauren Haskens.

Thanks to these members for volunteering their time and expertise to represent their profession.

For further information on any of these items contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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