We have difficult news today, with our CEO Jeff Smith resigning. Jeff had a serious medical episode on Wednesday night, and remains in hospital being treated.Jeff has worked tirelessly, particularly since March and the beginning of the pandemic, to ensure that our voices are heard by the Federal Government, and that we have a seat at the table.
He has given up many, many hours to ensure that the experiences of people with disability, both our members, and those we work with directly, reach those making decisions through this time of crisis.He, along with our colleagues across the disability advocacy community, has continued to press for people with disability to be included in the planning to deal with COVID-19. He worked to put together the COVID-19 Plan for people with disability in March, with other national organisations, covering urgent and specific needs of our communities. He again worked collaboratively on an Open Letter to National Cabinet, advocated for an increase to the Disability Support Pension, and commissioned, with DPO Australia, a Statement of Concern about Human Rights, Disability and ethical decision-making.Jeff, over the last year he was our CEO, has brought fresh thinking, great humour and a deep well of ideas and energy to our organisation, all fuelled by his strong commitment to the rights of people with disability.
Jeff initiated new programs, our new strategic plan, and encouraged staff to excel.Jeff is a decent, generous and kind man, who has given so much to PWDA, to the disability rights movement, and to people with disability across Australia.
Everyone at PWDA is devastated by what has happened to Jeff, and we are a poorer organisation for his departure. We all wish Jeff the very best.