Skip to Content
Department of Premier and Cabinet

Premier’s Disability Advisory Council (PDAC) members

Donna Bain

Donna Bain - Chair

Donna is employed as the General Manager of Self Help Workplace, an Australian Disability Enterprise employing 51 people with a disability. Self Help Workplace’s vision is to provide people with disability with meaningful and productive employment so they can enjoy independent and fulfilling lives.

Donna has over 20 years’ experience in association and business management (non-profit member based associations) and policy development. Her experience in management encompasses corporate governance, change management, strategic planning, budgeting, recruitment and management of paid staff and volunteers and delivery of commercial products and services.

Donna has worked extensively in the community sector including honorary positions in the adult education sector, disability services and migrant services as an occasional technical writer with the United Nations. Donna currently serves as the Deputy Chair of the NDS State Committee, Director of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce and member of the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council. Donna won the White Pages Community and Government Award at the 2011 Telstra Tasmanian Business Women’s Awards.

John Stevens - PDAC Deputy Chair

Until he recently retired in 2017, John was the City Engineer for the Clarence City Council. With over 40 years’ experience as a Civil Engineer, John was responsible for city infrastructure such as roads, footpaths, storm water and parks as well as service provision for waste management, sport, recreation and natural resources. This experience has led to an understanding of the critical importance that assets and services play in promoting access and social inclusion for the community.

John has been profoundly deaf since 2010 and has bi-lateral Cochlear Implants. He is particularly interested in governance and indicators used to gauge progress in the achievement of the Disability Framework for Action as well as promoting awareness of the issues faced by the hearing impaired.

Rebecca Astell

Rebecca is employed as a member of the Professional Development team at Possability. She is a board member at the Speak Out Association of Tasmania and in 2015 was awarded the MAIB Disability Achievement Award for her work with the Speak Out Association of Tasmania.

David Cawthorn

Chair, Minister's Disability Advisory Committee

A paraplegic since an accident in December 1993, David offers a consumer perspective on living with disability. He is currently Chairperson of ParaQuad Tasmania Inc and also a Volunteer Liaison Officer.

Over the past 17 years, David has been involved in various committees and boards including the Hobart City Council Access Advisory Committee, Spine Safe Educate, and Physical Disability Sports Program. David has worked as a Volunteer Access Auditor since 2002 and sees inclusion of people with a disability in community life as a key priority. He has strong beliefs that people with disability should be able to live in an inclusive society and offer a consumer perspective on living with disability. David also believes that all houses being built today should be of Universal design that can be adapted in later life if required.

Virginia Case

After 20 years in the workforce, Virginia gained a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Tasmania in 1998. Since graduating she has worked in front-line service delivery in social housing, and as a project officer and business analyst in health related IT projects.

Various family and personal health issues have given Virginia an understanding of problems faced by individuals and their carers on a daily basis. She has experienced her own challenges with "hidden" disability after being diagnosed with MS in 2013. Unfortunately, a major health crisis in mid-2016 saw her level of physical disability increase suddenly and significantly.

Virginia is a participant in the UTas Clinical School's Patient Partner Program, and assists the Menzies Research Institute with the Australian Multiple Sclerosis Longitudinal Study, reviewing the relevance and structure of questionnaires before they are sent out to nearly 4,000 AMSLS registered participants.

As a business analyst with a strong focus on process (working smarter not harder) and improving "organisation/client interfaces", Virginia believes she will be able to use these skills, and her own experiences with disability, to contribute positively as a member of PDAC.

Biannca Clark

Biannca holds a Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree and has been working as a relief teacher and a teachers’ assistant in the Learning Support area at Newstead College for the past three years. During this time, Biannca has worked with a diverse range of students (eg Down Syndrome, Autism, ADHD and Cerebral Palsy), modifying curricular content, enabling them to reach and achieve their full potential.

Living with Cerebral Palsy, Biannca is determined and passionate to ensure that all individuals regardless of disability, ability, socio-economic or religious background are participating in an all-inclusive equal society and have their needs catered for fully.

Stephen Cronin

Stephen is a law and politics student at the University of Tasmania. He is currently Disabilities Officer of the Tasmanian University Union and Senior Resident of Jane Franklin Hall. He is also actively involved in several student societies, disability advocacy and community organisations.

Stephen is passionate about reducing barriers to education and employment with disability, and the inclusion of people with disability in community life.

Jenny Self-Kowaluk

Jenny is the Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services at Anglicare Tasmania. Anglicare Tasmania assists a large number of clients with disability through various areas including NDIS, the MAIB and respite services. Jenny is particularly interested in strategies in relation to the current and expected workforce to assist people with disability, including pathways and removing barriers to attract workers.

Jenny has worked in the not-for-profit area for a number of years and holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD), Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders (FIML) and a Justice of the Peace (JP). Jenny is a board member of the RACT and is Chair of the Non-Government Schools Registration Board. Jenny was the winner of the Telstra Tasmanian Business Women’s Awards (Government and Academia) in 2015.

Kate Shipway

Kate Shipway

Before retiring in 2007, Kate spent many years in education, working to increase the inclusion of students with disability and other learning challenges in Tasmanian schools and in the training sector. The key focus of much of her work as teacher, principal, and manager of a district support service, lecturer at UTAS and Director in the Department of Education was to enhance the educational outcomes of students through more supportive school cultures and more inclusive teaching practice.

Kate has family members with mental ill health. These work and life experiences have led to an understanding of the issues that impact on the lives of people with disability, including mental illness, as well as on those who are close to them. She was President and Chair of the Board of Mental Health Carers Tasmania for a number of years. After stepping down from those roles in 2016, she has maintained her advocacy for improved mental health services in Tasmania.

Michael Small

Michael Small

Michael has worked for and with people with disability and their families for more than 35 years in the UK, Fiji, Canada and Australia. This included 18 years at the Australian Human Rights Commission where he worked on disability rights issues with a range of industries including the building sector, financial institutions, government, transport service providers, the internet industry, the TV, cinema and DVD sector and employer groups.

Michael was closely involved in the development of a range of regulations and industry standards such as the national building and transport standards and worked with government and the business sector on the development of Disability Action Plans.

In 2012, Michael was jointly awarded the federal Minister’s Award for Excellence in Disability Reform and currently works as a consultant assisting organisations to improve access to buildings and services.