Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott visits the Alpine Shire

Disability advocate, Paralympian and Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott entertained and motivated Alpine Shire communities in a whirlwind visit last week.

24 June 2022

Dylan wowed community members, local students and Council staff alike with his positivity, sense of humour and the important message - no matter what, be yourself.

Arriving in the Alpine Shire on Wednesday, 15 June, Dylan took part in three school sessions, a community presentation and a Council staff question and answer session before his departure the following day.

Dylan engaged with almost 1000 local students from years five to 12 in the three school sessions which were hosted across the shire.

A free community presentation in Myrtleford on the Wednesday night booked out in record time and attracted over 300 attendees.

Alpine Shire Mayor Sarah Nicholas said Dylan was a sincere, entertaining and motivating speaker.

“It is terrific that our community members and students had the opportunity to hear Dylan speak,” she said.

“His messages of gratitude, inclusion and having the courage to be yourself are so valuable for everyone to hear, particularly our children and young people.

“Dylan’s message that we all - no matter our challenges, experiences or backgrounds - have the ability to become the best possible version of ourselves encourages optimism.

“I’m sure many people who enjoyed his presentations came away with a renewed trust in themselves and confidence that they can achieve anything they set their mind to.”

Council staff took part in a question-and-answer session with Dylan on Thursday, 16 June covering diverse topics ranging from holding accessible events to how best to include people with disability in Council’s day-to-day operation.

Cr Nicholas said an opportunity for Council staff to ask questions and seek ways to improve access and inclusion across the Shire was extremely valuable.

“We will be adding some words to our advertisement template to encourage people with a disability to apply for work with us,” she said.

“In 2021 Council adopted an Access and Inclusion Plan, outlining our commitment to support the organisation and broader community to become more inclusive and accessible for people with disability.

“The plan was developed through engagement with the community, including local people with disability and disability advocates.

“We’re working to factor access and inclusion into our day-to-day operations, capital works and maintenance schedules, ensuring that people with disability are valued and supported.

“This plan frames our commitment to people with disability towards a focus on access and inclusion in day-to-day life.

“It was fantastic to see staff asking Dylan questions about how we can improve access in the waste management space, with events and in our facilities.

“Dylan’s eye-opening words have also inspired the Alpine Shire to include people with disability to contribute to planning that isn’t necessarily just about their needs.”

Dylan’s visit was jointly funded by the Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government under the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

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