A GriffithUniversityalumnushasa unique opportunity to shape the future ofdisabilitypolicy andserviceswitha new role attheDisability Royal Commission, where he will work withvulnerable members of society tohelpshare theirlived experiences.

“Peoplewith disabilities are more likely toexperienceviolence,abuse, neglectand exploitation than other individual’s in society,” Harry Rodgers explained.

“My role is toplan and coordinate theprivatesessionsfor participants across Australia to share their lived experienceswith the Commissioner.

“We makesureeverythingisaccessible,thatthey canaccesswhat’sneededandprovideaccessto any supportthat might be needed to make sure they’re comfortable to dothe session.

“This is an important occasion in the participant’s lives, as historically people with disabilities have not been listened to or allowed to be involved in decision making,so creatinga comfortable and welcoming environment for people to share their traumatic experiences is important and something I feelhonouredtobe part of.

“Their lived experiences contributetothe final report toGovernmentand hopefullyensurea more inclusive, fair society andone whichbetter protectspeople with disabilities from violence, abuse, neglect and trauma in the future.”

As aBachelor of Businessstudent,Harry had the chance to work on the 2018 Commonwealth Games through Griffith’s partnership with theglobalevent, andit led to a range of other overseasrolesat major sporting events, including theCricket World Cup, theGlasgow 2018European Championships,Edinburgh FringeFestival,WorldMen’sCurlingChampionshipsand European Swimming Championships.

Harry Rodgers playing for the Titans Physical Disabilities Rugby League (PDRL).

He returned tofinish his degreeand start his Honours dissertation,lookingatcommunity sport opportunities for those with a disability.

Experiencing a disability himself, Harry says the opportunities forpeople like himare limitedand he seesmuchpotential for change.

Heagrees thatevents like the Paralympics are great for raising awareness of what’s possible at an elitelevel, butconcedesit’sopportunities in the local community which really drive him.

“My passion for inclusion in sport is community based, I’m interested in makingsportaccessible for peoplelike myselfwhomay notcurrentlyhave that opportunity,” he said.

“I’m interested in getting equal access to sport for everyone at a grassroots level.Sport participation has many benefits such as improving physical health, building confidence, developing social skills and provides a sense of belonging for individuals in the community.”

“There are many tangible and intangible barriers that people with disabilities face when accessing community sport and I want to contribute to removing them.

“My honors dissertation is about howCOVIDhas impactedpeople with disabilities to access sport on the Gold Coast.

“The researchwillallow people with disabilities to have their experiences heard and hopefully contribute to the future of disability sport on the Gold Coast.”

Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM at Griffith University’s A Better Future For All event, being interviewed by Kerry O’Brien.

Griffith medicine graduate, 2021 Outstanding Young Alumnus, senior lecturer andBiospineresearcher Dr DineshPalipanaOAMis also contributing to the valuable work of theDisability Commission,appointed as the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Senior Adviser.

Recently he added another string to his bow,announced asanAustralian Human Rights Commission IncludeAbility Ambassador.

“I think that this is an incredibly important initiative,” DrPalipanaexplained.

“I faced so many challenges in employment after graduating from medical school. I began tounderstoodthat people are often seen at face value, rather than their merit or ability.

“IncludeAbilityis an opportunity to change this narrative. Hopefully, we will see a society that sees people for their ability rather than anything else.”

Dineshsays that hewill work together withhis fellowIncludeAbilityambassadors to have an impact.

“We have the opportunity to tell a storyand, to engage with employers through the Human Rights Commission,” he said.

“It is critical for employees to see the value in a diverse workforce, which has more than been proven to benefit an organisation in a multitude of ways.”

3: Good Health and Well-being
UN Sustainable Development Goals 3: Good Health and Well-being