Former Chairman awarded Australia Medal

News & Events

Former Ability Centre Chairman Keith Chapman, 70, has been recognised with an AM for his services to people with a disability.

His own daughter, one of six children, was born with cerebral palsy, prompting his involvement with Ability Centre.

He said while there had been great advancements in how people with disabilities were treated and accepted into wider society, there was more work to be done.

"The acceptance of people in society of people with a disability has improved tremendously, but I think there's still a need for improvement," he said.

"Governments make legislation about public transport being accessible to people with disabilities ... governments can legislate as much as they like, but changing community attitudes, I think is something that still needs more attention."

He said simple changes could allow people with disabilities to be better represented in society, such as a group not standing when being addressed when someone present was in a wheelchair.

"I suppose the golden rule can be a good test: 'How would I like to be dealt with if I was in a wheelchair?'" he said.

"I think if we all thought that way ... we would act more appropriately.

"I myself found it a great privilege to have spent the amount of time I have working in the disability sector.

"It certainly opened my eyes, and given me many wonderful opportunities. My greatest reward has come from the service.

"As nice as it is to be acknowledged, it's the service that's the important thing for me."

Story by www.abc.net.au