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The Disability Sector Awards are proudly hosted by the National Disability Leadership Organisation (NDLO) in partnership with valued sponsors.


New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria each have their own Awards Program and Gala to recognise the incredible work of individuals, organisations and advocates within each state.

2024 nominations now open

recognise the incredible work of individuals, organisations and advocates within each state.


Awards at a glance

There are seven ‘Sector Awards’ and three ‘Advocacy Awards’ celebrated in each state.

Sector Awards

  • Awards Above and Beyond

  • Contemporary Practice

  • Frontline Manager

  • Leadership Sector Innovation

  • Sector Innovation

  • Support Worker of the Year

  • Team Award

Advocacy Awards

  • Adult Advocacy

  • Child Advocacy

  • Sector Advocacy

Sector Awards - full descriptions

Above and Beyond

We all know people that we can always rely on to do what needs doing and who always go a step beyond. This award is a chance to recognise the individual who consistently performs and delivers Above and Beyond what is expected of them in their normal range of duties at the front line. This is not an award for CEO’s and Directors but for those staff that are outstanding and the person who demonstrates exceptional dedication, a willingness to take on extra responsibilities and an unwavering commitment to their work. Awarded to the person who always puts their hand up when it’s needed the most.

Contemporary Practice

Awarded to the person at the front line that demonstrates best practice, an awareness and understanding of current research, built on broad experience and a commitment to positive change. This professional knows their field and leads with a high level of skill, knowledge, ongoing education and research to keep things fresh and uptodate.

Frontline Manager

Frontline managers are responsible for driving outstanding results in the day-to-day operations of the organisation; finds solutions in challenging situations - and sets the standard for a positive work environment. This award is presented to the individual who consistently shows up for their colleagues in this manner. This is not for CEO’s and Directors, but for those front line leaders that help, lead, manage and inspire staff to deliver amazing results for the people you support.


Presented to the individual with demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, who motivates and guides their team and has significant and positive impact on the disability sector - even if theirs is not a typical ‘leadership’ role. This person demonstrates expert skills, passion, strong values, and commitment to bringing the best out in their colleagues. This is not for the head of the organisation but to recognise those staff that shape and inspire within the team and lead the way for great service delivery.

Sector Innovation

Presented to the individual who is a catalyst for change. This award recognises and celebrates outstanding contribution in the field of sector-related innovation - pushing boundaries and leading new ideas in projects, strategies, research or best practice. This person thinks outside the box, inspires people and sees the old saying “that’s just how we’ve always done it” as a challenge to do better. They may demonstrate this by a new and innovate project or approach that has delivered great results for the people you are working with. This is s great opportunity for CEO’s and managers to recognise professionals that are really shaping, growing and creating change in your organisation and as an example to the rest of the sector.

Support Worker of the Year

Fact: Support workers are amazing human beings. This award is presented a person working at the front line, who has been voted by a panel of peers as demonstrating the qualities that underpin the vital work these under-celebrated professionals carry out, while work for the most vulnerable in our community. Strength, determination, character, compassion, skill, tenacity, empathy, multitasking, creativity, and problem solving. This award seeks to raise awareness for the outstanding work undertaken by support workers and is our way of saying ‘Thank you” for the difference you all make in the lives you touch.

Team Award

Presented to a group within the community, professionals or staff who demonstrate exceptional teamwork. This award celebrates the collective efforts of the team and exemplifies the spirit of collaboration. The support they show each other and the dedication to their work is clearly seen by the way they motivate each other to greater achievements. Fostering a sense of unity and belonging is what sets them apart. This is not an organisational award but an award to showcase amazing groups of people that are achieving great things. Its could be a team within an organisation, a project team, a multidisciplinary cohort, network, community group focused on an essential project, a group of organisations leading change through collaboration or a funded cohort of partners.

Advocacy Awards - full descriptions

Disability advocates may be people living with disability, volunteers, professionals and work at the front line or state level. They may be employed by organisations, independent, work for government agencies or companies. They may focus on advocating for children, adults or sector wide change and issues. Advocacy is about human rights and the rights, the individual or group they are committed to. Independent advocacy is very different to the work done as part of disability service delivery by NDIS funded service providers. 

Whether through lobbying, education forums, a media presence or fundraising, these individuals work to break down the barriers to inclusion. Their commitment to bringing about equal access to employment, education, the arts, public and health services, and actively combat discrimination is unwavering.

There are three new awards designed to recognise the vital work of advocates in our community and each comes with $2000 towards advocacy efforts.

Adult Advocacy

This award is to recognise the tireless work of people living with disability, volunteers or professionals and their role as advocates in our sector to support other adults navigating and resolving Issues focused on human rights. This might include advocates that are supporting people to escalate matters with NDIS, mainstream services and other agencies, navigate systems, challenge discrimination, raise service access issues, challenge poor decisions and make an impact in our community in a positive way for other adults living with disability. Advocates take many forms. This year’s award is for person living with disability, volunteer, paid professional, delegate, in a statutory role, working through advocacy services, a friend or community member supporting other adults as an advocate.

Child Advocacy

The field of child advocacy is complex and challenging. It can occur through statutory roles, volunteers, advocacy professionals and members of the community. It may involve navigating the world of Child Safety, NDIS, Youth Justice and Health Services where children and young people need a voice. Like many fields, it takes a special kind of person to act as a Child Advocate to go into bat for those living with disability who are also children and young people trying to exercise their rights. This year’s award is for people living with disability, volunteers, paid professionals, delegates, in statutory roles, those attached through advocacy services, a friend, community member or a carer supporting children and young people to advocate and help represent the rights of those under 18.

Sector Advocacy

With NDIS passing it’s 10-year anniversary, recommendations from the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability and the NDIS Review, how we change, improve, reform, tear down, build up and shape systems, policy, legislation, interagency collaboration, stakeholder engagement and the ways we do things, is an immensely important role and one that requires very unique skills. The winner of the sector advocacy award is a person with disability that works to improve systems at the sector level for large scale change, that impacts a wider part of the community. This may involve representing the community in media to voice and raise important issues, lead and participate in projects with wide scale impact, working across stakeholder groups, with government and agencies for systemic change and improvements for people living with disability. These people are key to ensuring policy and systems are shaped by people with disability for people with disability. They embody the slogan ‘nothing about us without us’.

Sponsor of the Disability Sector Awards
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