‘This is my happy place’: Celebrating employees with disability

Postal services officer Marija Banovic (second from right) has been working at Westmead Hospital since 2015.

Today is International Day of People with Disability, a special day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Australians with a disability.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) aims to provide a safe and inclusive workplace for staff with disability. Among them, is a valued and hardworking postal services officer Marija Banovic.

Postal services team supervisor Jude Frazer said she witnessed incredible transformations since Marija joined them in 2015.

“One of the most rewarding aspects in working alongside Marija is her positivity and flexibility within the work environment,” Jude said.

“I recall her first day: Marija was very shy. She did not make much eye contact and seemed a bit afraid. Over our time together we have watched her blossom and allowed her beautiful personality shine.

“Marija’s ability to adapt easily and quickly has allowed us to perform better as a team. We are very lucky to have her on board.”

Employees with disability work across multiple services in the district, performing essential tasks for the organisation’s smooth operations.

Cleaner Joey Franji is well-known and loved by everyone in Westmead’s dental department. In his 19-year career in Westmead he has worked in different areas of the hospital and says he knows the hospital like the back of his hand.

“This is my happy place. Every day I try to do my best and make everyone around me happy,” Joey said.

“My team is always supportive of me and I feel like they always have my back. I appreciate it.”

International Day of People with Disability serves as a remember that each of us can be champions and advocates for disability inclusion – as an employee, manager, senior leader and person with disability.

To build a more inclusive health system and workplace for people with disability, WSLHD is currently developing the district’s first Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) that will be launched in early 2021.

The action plan aims to improve the experiences of patients, carers, visitors and staff with disabilities within WSLHD facilities and services while ensuring the district is responsive to their needs.

Here are some things you can do to build your own awareness and understanding:

  • Increase your disability knowledge.
  • Learn about the real life experiences of people with disability.
  • Complete disability awareness training. Modules are available for managers and employees through the Public Service Commission here.  
  • Watch sector webinars on managing and recruiting and role design in disability employment here.