As 2022 Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott blazed a trail as the first person to serve in the role with a visible disability. After twelve months in the role, we asked some of our CPActive Champions what Dylan’s work to increase representation and awareness of disability has meant to them.
I think Dylan has changed perceptions on what people with disabilities can do and how, just like everyone, else they can influence and change the broader community around them, not just the lives of people with disabilities.
His legacy will allow people to broaden their perspectives on the value and contribution people with disabilities can make to the world around them and demonstrate that more people with disabilities can hold positions of high regard in society such as Australian of the Year.
This is significant because it is starting the process of shifting perceptions and removing stereotypes but most of all normalising and inviting disability to be a part of mainstream society.
Aaryan is a marketing & communications student, boccia athlete and member of CPActive, Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s disability advocacy community.
My Reflection on Dylan is that disability was a bit more mainstream this year. Legacy-wise, he championed the “nothing about us without us” line both socially and politically, which positively influenced political decisions and public mindset. The significance of the role cannot be overstated at this time as a lot of people believe in “you can’t be what you can’t see” and for conservatives, if he can stand on the same platform as hard-working doctors and entrepreneurs ‘despite’ his disability… maybe it doesn’t hold us back that much!
Tash is a research assistant at Cerebral Palsy Research Institute, an ambassador for the CPA Research Foundation and a member of CPActive.
Dylan Alcott's time of being Australian of the Year was awesome as we saw a lot of work being done within the year. From advising the new government on how to improve the NDIS to starting an online job-seeker firm and many more. His quote, “we’re not just ready to work but we’re ready to take your job”, shows the passion that people with disabilities want to work and we just need the people to believe in us. I hope in the future he keeps pushing along and showing people with disabilities they can really do anything.
Yes, I can really do anything!
Nick is a graduate from the International College of Management Sydney and a member of CPActive who currently produces a podcast focusing on accessible travel for people with disabilities.
Fellow CPActive champion Sasha Dansereau, who raises disability awareness on his TikTok account @FishClimbingATree, has also recorded a video about what Dylan's time as Australian of the Year meant to him. Click here to check it out.