Champion For Inclusion Wins Victoria’s Top Disability Award

17 August 2018

A Paralympian and disability advocate has been recognised for his efforts creating a support network for those living with spinal cord injuries at the 2018 Victorian Disability Awards held at Federation Square last night.

Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley praised all eight winners for their tireless work, including Nazim Erdem, who received the received the Emerging Leader Award.

Nazim has used his lived experience to lead the development of Spire – a suite of information for people living with a spinal cord injury.

Spire currently connects over 2,500 people living with spinal cord injuries, assisting them and their carers to navigate life in the community through local networks, short courses and mentoring.

The Victorian Disability Awards, now in their eighth year, formally recognise individuals, teams and organisations that make a difference in the lives of people with disability and who champion equality for all Victorians.

The Awards also showcase the breadth of work happening across Victoria in the disability sector.

Seven people were inducted into the Lifetime Achievement Honour Roll, which recognises exceptional individuals who have made a significant contribution to the disability sector for 20 years or more.

The award categories are aligned to Absolutely everyone: state disability plan 2017-2020, which supports people with disability to live satisfying everyday lives and is backed by an investment of $19 million.

Absolutely everyone is the Andrews Labor Government’s vision for an inclusive Victoria and is shifting community attitudes and challenging stereotypes about people with disability.

The plan ensures the one million Victorians living with disability can maximise the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme – Australia’s largest social policy reform since Medicare.

The awards are a joint initiative between National Disability Services and the Department of Health and Human Services, with the finalists selected by a judging panel drawn from Victoria’s disability sector.

To see the full list of award recipients, visit

Quote attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley

“We can’t achieve the vision of Absolutely Everyone without the dedication and support of individuals and organisations like these, working together to build a more inclusive Victoria.”

Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Human Services Sharon Knight

“These awards recognise the significant contribution of all the nominees, who are working to increase the social, civic and economic participation of people with disability.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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