DGHA 2016 National Conference

On this page you will find information on our DGHA 2016 National Conference. You can use the links below to take you directly to sections of the page. Sections include:

DGHA 2016 National Conference Dates and Venue Details

The 2016 Dog Guide Handlers Australia INC National Conference was held in Adelaide on the weekend of 22 – 23 October at the Sage Hotel Adelaide

DGHA Conference 2016 Group Photo
DGHA Conference 2016 Group Photo

A comfortable retreat for business and leisure travellers alike, Sage Hotel Adelaide is located on the southern fringe of Adelaide’s Central Business District, overlooking the tranquil South Parklands.

Conference Sponsors

For our 2014 conference we were fortunate to receive sponsorship from some great organisations, includeing Guide Dogs Australia (GDA) and Seeing Eye Dogs Australia (SEDA). That Sponsorship allowed us to provide, for those who needed it, funding support for dog guide handlers to attend that 2014 DGHA conference.

Once again with kind sponsorship from Guide Dogs Australia, Seeing Eye Dogs Australia and funds from the Department of Social Services National Disability Conference Initiative, DGHA was able to assist a limited number of current Dog Guide Handlers on low incomes with up to $500 to cover conference registration and assistance towards cost of travel and accommodation.

Dog Guide Handlers Australia would like to thank the following organisations for their support:

Dog Guide Handlers Conference Program

The program for the 2016 DGHA conference was jammed packed with great workshops of interest to all dog guide handlers. Take a look here: 2016 National DGHA Conference program (RTF 204kb)

Audio of DGHA 2016 National Conference

Below you will find links to audio of the DGHA 2016 National Conference sessions. In total we had 7 sessions over 2 days, the DGHA 2016 AGM, and a dinner, which included presentation of the Judith Killen Golden Harness Award.

Day One Saturday 22 October

Session 1

After Acknowledgement of country, welcome and roll Call, Chair: Rowena Dowling, Co-president, hands over to Chair of Session1, David Foran, Co-president.

Title: Equitable and Dignified Access.

Kelly Vincent MLC.

Kelly Vincent is the Dignity for Disability Party’s representative in the South Australian Parliament. She was elected to the Legislative Council in 2010 in an event that made history.

Kelly is the first South Australian politician to permanently use a wheelchair for mobility, the youngest woman ever elected to an Australian parliament and the first Australian to be elected on the platform of disability rights.

Presentation and Q&A discussion forum lead by Kelly Vincent, on the challenges of equitable access for people with disability.
Defining and exploring “Equitable and Dignified Access”. What should we reasonably expect? How do we recognise it? What are effective strategies for action when we don’t receive it? What is the relationship between access and inclusion? Some guidance, advice and insights regarding effective advocacy drawing upon Kelly’s experiences both in and out of politics.

Audio length approx. 1 hour 15 minutes.

Day 1 Session 1 audio (mp3 format 86mb)

Session 2

Title: Emerging Trends and Techniques in Dog Guide Training.

Jason Stankoski, Instructor, Guide Dogs QLD – discussion and demonstration of the development of a light-weight prototype harness.
Paul Adrian, Guide Dog Services Manager, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT provides an update and overview of the International Guide Dog Conference.
Harry van der Jagt, National Manager, Client Services, Seeing Eye Dogs, Vision Australia discusses emerging trends.

Chair: Rowena Dowling, DGHA Co-President.

Audio length approx. 1 hour 30 minutes.

Day 1 Session 2 audio (mp3 format 115mb)

Session 3

Title: National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and My Aged Care (MAC).

How does the NDIS and MAC impact on us as consumers?

Dr Lloyd Walker, Director Assistive Technology, Market and Providers Division from the National Disability Insurance Agency speaks about the NDIS with particular reference to the provision of dog guides and related services to eligible participants.
Tony Starkey, Accessibility Coordinator for the Royal Society for the Blind and current Chair of the Australian Blindness Forum speaks about the NDIS and MAC from the perspective of the blindness sector.

Chair: Nadia Mattiazzo, DGHA Vice President.

Audio length approx 1 hour 30 minutes.

Day 1 Session 3 audio (mp3 format 157mb)

Session 4

Title: Tellington Touch.

Millie Miller, Qualified Tellington Touch Practitioner and Dominique Hewitt, Accredited T Touch practitioner.

Discussion and practical demonstration of the Tellington Touch Technique.

TTouch® is the method of gentle non-habitual bodywork, developed by Linda Tellington-Jones, PhD (Hon). It is based on a philosophy of mutual respect, co-operation and can effectively facilitate non-verbal communication with animals. It is comprised of light pressure slides, lifts and circular touches that can be used in combination with other aspects of the Tellington Method using body wraps and groundwork movement exercises.

Chair: David Foran, DGHA Co-president.

Audio length approx 1 hour 30 minutes.

Day 1 Session 4 audio (mp3 format 101mb)

Presentation of the Judith Killen Golden Harness Award

At the conclusion of day 1, during the conference dinner, we had the presentation of the Judith Killen Golden Harness Award.

Judith Killen DGHA Golden Harness Award Presented to Ray Joyce 2016
Judith Killen DGHA Golden Harness Award Presented to Ray Joyce 2016

The Judith Killen Golden Harness Award is presented to a person for their outstanding efforts in fostering, representing, promoting, enhancing and protecting the interests of Australians who are blind or vision impaired and who use a dog guide.

Dog Guide Handlers Australia would like to congratulate Ray Joyce, the recipient of the 2016 Judith Killen Golden Harness Award.

Ray Joyce with 2016 Golden Harness Award
Ray Joyce with 2016 Golden Harness Award

Ray was unable to attend the conference in person, but we did interview Ray prior to the conference and have this audio;

Audio Length approx. 20 minutes.

Ray Joyce Golden Harness Award audio (mp3 format 10mb)

Paul Adrian, a long time Colleague of Ray, was at the conference dinner and had this to say about Ray:

Audio length approx. 10 minutes.

Paul Adrien on Ray Joyce audio (mp3 format 5mb)

Day Two Sunday 23 October 2016

Dog Guide Handlers Australia 2016 Annual General Meeting.

Chair: Rowena Dowling, DGHA Co-president and Greg Madson, DGHA Treasurer.

Audio Length approx. 40 minutes.

DGHA AGM 2016 audio (mp3 format 30mb)

Session 5

Title: Assistance Dog Legislation/Accreditation.

Richard Lord, Chief Executive Officer, Assistance Dogs Australia.
Sharon Scott, Director of Training, Paws for Diabetes.
Jaci Armstrong, a handler who through her involvement in peer support, is a strong and vocal advocate for inclusive practices. This includes her work as policy officer for Guide Dogs Australia towards reforming current relevant legislation.

A panel discussion around the need for establishing nationally consistent legislation for Assistance Dog access, and national standards for assistance dog training, public access testing and accreditation.

Chair: Greg Madson, DGHA Treasurer.

During this session 2 papers were mentioned; for your infomation we provide copies of those papers here:

Assistance Animals and the need for uniform legislation (RTF doc 3mb)
DISABILITY ASSISTANCE ANIMALS OR NOT? Problems in Policy and Practice (Word docx 70kb)

Audio length approx 1 hour 20 minutes.

Day 2 Session 5 audio (mp3 format 138mb)

Session 6

Title: International Travel with a Dog Guide.

Martine Abel-Williamson – World Blind Union
Francois Jacobs – Business Analyst and Research Assistant.

Martine is a Table Officer of the World Blind Union and the WBU Objective Lead – Access to the Environment and Transport. Martine recently attended and presented at the WBU General Assembly regarding the latest survey results launched about international travel with a dog guide. Francois now lives in Melbourne and was the Assistant Researcher for this important Project. This research was sanctioned by the World Blind Union and supported by the International Guide Dog Federation. The presentation was followed by questions/discussion.

Martine and Francois have made the following paper available: WBU 2016 GA Presentation on International Travel with a guide dog (Word docx 36kb)

Chair: Nadia Mattiazzo, DGHA Vice President.

Audio length approx 1 hour.

Day 2 Session 6 audio (mp3 format 90mb)

Session 7

Title: Tips and Tricks.

An interactive session with handler input on a range of topics.

Chair: Joyce Jones, DGHA Co-Secretary.


Final Session.

Title: Dog Guide Handlers Australia member issues.

An interactive session with handler input on a range of dog guide issues.

Chair: Nadia Mattiazzo, DGHA Vice President.

Closing Remarks and Conference Concludes.

Chair: Rowena Dowling and David Foran, DGHA Co-presidents.

Audio length approx 45 minutes.

Day 2 Session 7 audio (mp3 format 60mb)