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Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Catherine Clark has called on supporters to actively advocate for inclusion, diversity and positive change through sport.

Speaking at Paralympics Australia’s annual Partner Day, at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, Clark used her welcome speech to challenge the organisation’s sponsors to not be by-standers, rather participants in a sporting and social movement towards an Australia where all people, including the 20 percent of Australians who live with a disability, have the opportunity to reach their potential.

“Our partners are not just supporters, they are passionate representatives of some of the most prominent national and international organisations, joining us in the pursuit of advocacy and breaking down barriers,” Clark said.

“Together, we can imagine the possibilities, the impact we can make, and the positive change we can create.

“Sessions like today are how we make it happen. Celebrating the International Day of People with Disability should be about listening, reflection, connection and action. So, let us progress on this journey together.”

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The event was attended by representatives from Paralympics Australia’s largest ever suite of partners, including Major Partners Toyota, Woolworths, Royal Australian Mint and BUPA.

A highlight was a panel of outstanding Paralympians, who provided remarkable insight into their challenges, triumphs and perspectives, as well as explaining to attendees how their organisations and businesses can benefit from better working with people with a disability.

The highly credentialed panellists were athletics legend Kurt Fearnley, seven-time Paralympian Danni Di Toro, Paris 2024 Co-captain Angie Ballard and Tokyo 2020 Para-triathlon competitor Jono Goerlach.

Expert staff from Paralympics Australia gave presentations on an array of functional areas and initiatives, including PA’s new Building Employer Confidence program, Fundraising, Digital, Marketing and Brand.

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“Today may be about showcasing what we do,” Clark said. “But it is also our chance to demonstrate the extent to which your partnership is instrumental in making it all possible. We are ‘Paralympics Australia’, but we rely on ‘the Australian Paralympic Family’ – the athletes, the people, the organisations, partners and stakeholders – who hold the key to us achieving our common goals.

“Today is about deepening that sense of family and the connections that enable us to do our work. It is about understanding the depth of these relationships and how they contribute to the ongoing success of the Australian Paralympic Movement.

“I also hope today’s presentations prompt you to think about how our connections can endure, beyond the upcoming Paralympic Games in Paris and, for that matter, beyond sport entirely. Our responsibility is not just to athletes with a disability, it’s to all communities of people with disabilities. Paralympics Australia wants to be on the front foot, breaking down barriers, advocating for inclusivity and being a catalyst for positive change.”

By: David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 8 December 2023