Collie takes step towards better local access and inclusion

Published on 01 Jun 2023


4 stacked wooden blocks with belonging, inclusion, diversity and equity written on them

  • The town of Collie has created a Disability Reference Group supported by APM Communities.
  • The group have started their work of better local access and inclusion.

APM Communities has taken a significant step towards fostering an inclusive and diverse community in Collie by forming a Disability Reference Group (DRG).

The group is made up of individuals with disabilities, advocates, and representatives from APM Communities, working together to identify collective community issues and develop strategies to address them.

The establishment of the DRG is part of APM Communities delivery of their contracted National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Community Capacity Building projects.

Sarah Bowes, a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) from APM Communities located in nearby Busselton was involved in the formation of the group which meets monthly.

"We are delighted to establish this group, which will enable people with disabilities to have a voice and participate in shaping the future of their community."

“We recognise that people with disabilities face unique challenges, and we are committed to working with the group to identify and address these challenges."

The DRG members have been supported and upskilled in their endeavours by Advocacy WA which is an organisation who is delivering the Community Disability Advocacy Network (CDAN) project throughout the Southwest region.

This project aims to build the capacity of regional communities to identify issues affecting people with disability and create actions plans to address these.

The CDAN project has been instrumental in providing the DRG members with the necessary skills and tools to undertake their roles effectively.

Sara Gunning from Advocacy WA has provided training on advocacy skills, community organising, and building partnerships, enabling the group to engage with local stakeholders and work collaboratively to achieve their goals.

“It’s been a great learning curve to be on this group and to see issues that affect other people. It also allows me to be involved in projects that benefit our broader community” community member from the DRG Silvia Chiera said.

The DRG has been actively building relationships with a variety of community stakeholders, including the Collie Family Centre and the Shire of Collie.

Collie Family Centre is not-for-profit organisation operates out of the Collie Community House in Collie and provides a range of services to families and individuals in the community.

The Collie Family Centre’s work aligns with APM Communities' commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse community, ensuring that everyone has access to the resources and support they need.

The DRG has been given two positions on the Shire of Collie’s Safety and Wellbeing Committee.

These positions enable the DRG to have an active voice in the development of the Shire's Disability Access and Inclusion Plan, ensuring that the needs of people with disabilities are considered.

By working with the Shire, the DRG can also advocate for changes that will benefit the entire community and create a more inclusive and supportive environment.

The formation of the DRG and the CDAN project's support are significant steps towards creating a more accessible and inclusive community in Collie.

With the group's dedication and Advocacy WA's support, there is no doubt that the community will continue to grow and thrive, ensuring that everyone has a voice and is included in decision-making processes.

Creating inclusive and accessible communities

APM Communities partners with many organisations and groups to create more inclusive and accessible local infrastructure and events.

If you want to make positive changes to your event, or in your area – or if you would like to express your interest in joining the Collie Disability Reference Group please contact Sarah Bowes from APM Communities by calling 1800 276 522 or emailing

As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.

Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.