In the Media

Upper house members praise Corcoran’s efforts

FORMER South East resident Maurice Corcoran has been praised for his efforts for the disability sector in State Parliament by three members of the Upper House.

Former Legislative Council president John Gazzola, Deputy Liberal leader of the Legislative Council Michelle Lensink and the Dignity Party’s Kelly Vincent praised the disability advocate for more than 30 years of tireless community contribution.

The Tantanoola-born campaigner was recently awarded the National Disability Awards Lesley Hall Leadership Award for excellence in development of reform opportunities that improve the lives of Australians with a disability.

“Mr Corcoran has positively influenced the disability agenda and during his 30-year career he has inspired change for Australians with disability across many sectors,” Mr Gazzola said.

“Mr Corcoran is well aware of the importance of being able to access transport and how this impacts on education, employment, health, shopping, entertainment and social activities.

“He played a very important role in bringing about changes to the provision of accessible public transport, which has made such a difference to community participation.”

After a vehicle accident at the age of 15 left him a quadriplegic, Mr Corcoran became actively involved in the disability sector and as senior policy officer, coordinated the State Government’s disability strategy.

“Mr Corcoran’s story is reasonably well known in terms of his injury in the South East some time ago, which left him a quadriplegic,” Ms Lensink said.

“He certainly did not take the issue and just decide that was going to be the end of it. “He saw it as an opportunity and has become a very strong advocate in that time.”

In addition to playing a key role in the development of the National Disability Strategy, Mr Corcoran served as national disability representative on the National Task Force on Accessible Public Transport Standards and the Federal Attorney General’s Steering Committee on Accessible Public Transport.

In 2011, the State Government established the Community Visitor Scheme to protect the rights of people experiencing an acute mental illness, with Mr Corcoran appointed principal community visitor.

“How much members of this government, including former ministers, knew about the horrific human rights abuses that were taking place at Oakden we will never know,” Ms Vincent said.

“Without a number of voices, including that of Maurice Corcoran as our principal community visitor and his team of excellent community visitor volunteers, we may never have uncovered the true and full extent of what occurred there.

“For that alone, if nothing else, I think we owe to you Maurice an eternal and vast debt of gratitude.”