AFDO Disability Royal Commission Consultant Natalie Wade has won the 2021 Disabled Women in Business People’s Choice Award as a part of the South Australia (SA) Women Awards. The inaugural award recognises disabled women in business who has created a growing business that contributes to a positive conversation about disabled people at work through deliberate campaigns or by leading through example.
Natalie is one of 53 women finalists recognised for their outstanding contributions towards women-led businesses in South Australia who overwhelmingly empower communities, create employment opportunities and drive strong economic growth across local businesses in South Australia.
Natalie is the Founder and Principal Lawyer of Equality Lawyers, a law firm that provides everyday legal services to people with disabilities, their families and supporters.
Prior to this, Natalie worked as a solicitor within the South Australian Government and in 2015 was appointed to the South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission. At the Commission, Natalie assisted on several children protection systems issues including a focus on children with disabilities.
In 2016, Natalie was awarded Australian Young Lawyer of the Year for her work on the SA Child Protection Systems Royal Commission. She is also the Founding Chair of the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) Disability Rights Subcommittee.
Consulting at AFDO, Natalie has been at the forefront of our Disability Royal Commission (DRC) strategy in collaboration with Patrick McGee, National Manager – Systemic Advocacy, Insight & Research. Natalie’s lived experience of disability alongside her professional skillset has greatly assisted with AFDO’s systemic advocacy efforts at the DRC. She has on several occasions provided evidence on behalf of AFDO at the DRC hearings on the experiences of people with disability during the pandemic as well as consistently provided key advice to AFDO members that have curated a profound understanding of the DRC for members.
Natalie’s outstanding legal mind and expert knowledge of the issues and abuse people with disability encounter has assisted our members in producing sound DRC submissions that drive discussions to holistically identify and address these subjects. She has authored multiple articles on important issues impacting people with disability including ‘Keeping people safe (the role of the Community Visitor Scheme and other oversight bodies) – What systems are needed to keep people safe? ’The Abuse of Deaf Jurors in Australia’ and the ‘Treatment of students with disabilities in schools’.
AFDO CEO Ross Joyce said, “Natalie’s amazing commitment to protecting people with disabilities and empowering their voices through several avenues including the work she has undertaken for AFDO at the Disability Royal Commission is testament to the wonderful human being and advocate she is”.
You can read/watch the official winners Facebook post by South Australia Woman here.