Working Alongside People with Intellectual and Learning Disabilities

Roundtable 2015 Biographies

Biographies of speakers at the 2015 Queensland Roundtable on Issues for People with Intellectual Disabilities 

Creativity and Collaboration for ‘Choice and Control’ - Australians with Intellectual Disabilities: Who is Leading the Way and Who May be Left Behind Under the NDIS


Leslie Chenoweth BSocWk, MSocWk, PhD, is the inaugural Professor of Social Work and currently Head of Logan Campus at Griffith University.  She has decades of experience as a social work and human service practitioner, academic and activist chiefly in the disability area.  The theme of addressing social and economic inequalities has strongly underpinned and continues to influence all her practice. Her current role sees her working on building aspiration and widening participation in higher education in the Logan community which is one of Australia’s most diverse but also most disadvantaged areas. Lesley is passionate about how education can transform lives and indeed whole communities.


Jim Simpson will lead a discussion in relations to the needs of people with intellectual disabilities who live on society’s fringe, not qualify for Tier3 NDIS support and still rely on state government support. Jim is a lawyer and advocate who have worked in the disability field for thirty years. Jim had a central role in establishing the Intellectual Disability Rights Service in Sydney and currently works as a Senior Advocate for the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability.  Over the last fifteen years, this has been particularly focused on:
o    Improved access to human services for people with intellectual disability who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
o    Improved health care for people with intellectual disability.
o    Equitable access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with intellectual disability, particularly people who live isolated lives on society’s fringe.


Nundah Community Enterprises Cooperative, established in 1999, is a not-for-profit social enterprise that works specifically to provide training opportunities and sustainable meaningful employment to people withan intellectual/cognitive disabilities. The people who work there are keen to work but have struggled to find work due to the pace at which they learn, and unwillingness of employers to employ them as they see their disability as a financial burden on the business. It currently has 2 business arms – Espresso Train Café & Catering and the Parks and Maintenance Division.



Donna Best has been a spokesperson for self-advocacy for more than 20 years, and was a member of the Intellectual Disability Council in the late 80's. Donna has been involved in various community networks and organisations including: The Queensland Disability Network, Community Living Program, and Speaking Up For You. Donna was also involved in the early development of WWILD Sexual Violence Prevention Service. Donna is an active member of the Hot Topics group, and is passionate about self-advocacy, and improving the life experiences of people who have a disability.


IYHG Propriety Ltd was established in 1989 as a not-for-profit company. The main goal is to provide stable housing for low income earners. They presently own 11 properties and house 15 people. All of these people receive the Disability Support Pension. The company is run and maintained by its members.