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1The theme for this year’s International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”. 

IDPwD aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

At Development Victoria, we’re proud of our diverse and inclusive workplace. We recognise that everyone is different and has different needs, which we seek to understand and support. 

We’re proud to introduce to you our Development Coordinator Paul Mariager, who is a C5-6 quadriplegic as a result of a BMX accident in 1998 when he was 16 years old. 

When I attended the intern open night at Development Victoria, I thought this looks like a place where my unique life experience would be valued, and not just be seen as a burden.

Working as part of our Acquisitions team, Paul can now use his perspective as a person with a disability, in addition to his formal education in urban planning, to contribute to real change for others in the community . 

“It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to use my life experience to impact real outcomes and change on our projects – it’s a way I can give back as a person with a disability,” said Paul.

Since joining Development Victoria in January this year, Paul has had the opportunity to present to staff on the topic of resilience – a subject very close to his heart. He is also an integral part of our Diversity and Inclusion working group that launched earlier this year. 

Paul encourages other employers to look beyond stereotypes and fear around employing people with disabilities.

By ‘seeing the ability in disability’, we can celebrate and support the 4.4 million Australians living with disability today.