The IncludeAbility Illawarra Pilot

The IncludeAbility Illawarra Pilot

Dr Ben Gauntlett, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, at the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), leads IncludeAbility in collaboration with The Disability Trust.

Dr Ben Gauntlett has 3 key messages:
1. Good disability policy is good for all of us.
2. Employment of people with disability is good for our workplaces.
3. We no longer need to ask, ‘Why should I employ people with disabilities?’ We are now ready to learn how we can employ people with disabilities.

The Illawarra IncludeAbility Pilot is supported by a Community of Practice, where employers share their journey together. Each employer experiences different internal barriers. Facilitated by IncludeAbility Ambassador, Dr Dinesh Palipana, AHRC and Rebecca McIntyre (of The Disability Trust), employers explore how to overcome these barriers and to create career progression pathways for their employees with disability.

Practical IncludeAbility employer resources are available at

IncludeAbility is generating strong employer interest across WA, Queensland, Victoria and NSW.

Employers participating in the Pilot include large retailers, local governments, community organisations and the University of Wollongong.

Both Woolworths & Kmart are key partners in IncludeAbility. The Trust and AHRC have trained 35 Kmart NSW/ACT State Managers, to explore how they can put their disability inclusion policies into practice in their individual stores.

The Disability Trust
The Disability Trust is a leading not-for-profit developing innovative disability employment services and is leading the implementation of this Pilot.

Swinburne University
Swinburne University Centre for Social Impact is collating and publishing the results of this Pilot.


Mrs Rebecca McIntyre Employment Services Manager, The Disability Trust, Australia

Rebecca McIntyre is a Senior Employment Services Manager at The Disability Trust. She leads The Trust’s IncludeAbility Illawarra Pilot in collaboration with The Australian Human Rights Commission.

Rebecca commenced her career as a Disability Job Placement Consultant in regional NSW. She is a passionate, committed and highly regarded community services professional with extensive person centred service delivery experience. Rebecca has worked in not-for-profit Employment Services for over 8 years, and has led programs across Disability Employment Services, Workforce Australia, Transition to Work, mental health, Jobactive and NDIS.

Rebecca is leading projects in NSW, Queensland and Victoria assisting employers to provide meaningful, sustainable employment, by encouraging and supporting them to understand ‘how’ to employ people with disability and to create good career pathways. Together with Dr Dinesh Palipana and the AHRC, Rebecca facilitates monthly Community of Practice meetings for employers to explore and establish best practice at all levels of recruitment for people with disability.

Dr Dinesh Palipana Emergency Doctor, Senior Lecturer, Senior Advisor and Ambassador, Gold Coast University Hospital, Griffith University, Gold Coast Titans Disability Rugby League Team and IncludeAbility, Australia

I am a doctor in the Emergency Department of the Gold Coast University Hospital, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the Griffith University, doctor for the Gold Coast Titans Disability Rugby League Team, and a Senior Advisor to the Disability Royal Commission. In 2021, I won the Queensland Australian of the Year Award. I have a cervical spinal cord injury causing quadriplegia.

Securing employment after graduation was challenging. Domestic medical graduates are guaranteed jobs in Australia. Moreover, I had a scholarship from Queensland Health securing employment for five years after graduation. Despite all this, commencing work after graduating became a significant challenge. Since starting work, I have faced some attitudinal barriers. However, it has become much easier as the career has progressed.

I love being a doctor. It was always my dream and is now a part of my identity. Most importantly, employment has enabled me to be an advocate for people with disabilities. This has been particularly important during the pandemic, where we have spoken about the rights of people with disabilities with the spectre of healthcare rationing circulating in the world.

One of my key pieces of advice to people with disability seeking employment is to send the elevator back down for someone when you get upstairs. We have a responsibility to sow success and to create more leaders. That’s how we can secure an inclusive future.