A strong voice

A photo of Alysse in her wheelchair playing rugby. All three people look happy and ready to play.

Tasmanian disability advocate Alysse Gavlik talks about her work ahead of International Day of People with a Disability on 3 December.

Alysse wears many hats: disability advocate, community leader, board member and wheelchair rugby player. She is also a client of the service Anglicare provides on behalf of the Motor Accidents Insurance Board (MAIB).

Alysse lives with a spinal cord injury that resulted from a car accident 25 years ago. She brings this lived experience to her full-time role with the Road Safety division of the Tasmanian Department of State Growth. As Manager Community Engagement she is part of a team of 30 people who work with the community to develop safer drivers and safer roads.

She also leads the division’s Disability Action Plan Group. It is currently running an inclusion campaign for staff that promotes videos from the ABC’s You Can’t’ Ask That program and Tasmanian performing arts company Second Echo Ensemble.

Alysse is very interested in corporate governance and how strategy guides decision-making. She is about to finish a 12-month professional development program as an Intern Director on the Tasmanian Community Fund Board.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” she reflects. “I was able to bring a new perspective to the table and influence the decision-making process.”

As a member of the Premier’s Disability Advisory Council, Alysse has input into government policy that includes its Accessible Island strategy.

She is also is a board member of Disability Voices Tasmania, a community organisation that is run by people with disability, for people with disability. It is currently advocating for the introduction of a Human Rights Act in Tasmania.

Next year Alysse will take up a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She will be mentored by a member of a major national board and again, is looking forward to developing her influencing skills.

Another focus of her advocacy work is to debunk some of the myths surrounding the hiring of people with disability.


We’ve all heard the saying ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ and while I’m a little sick of hearing it, it’s true. I want people with disability to be more visible across our community. I want disability to be normalised, so that it’s easier for people with disability to be included in workplaces and in society more broadly.


Alysse’s advice to people thinking of entering or re-entering the workforce is to “put yourself out there”.

“Everyone wants to feel valued and able to contribute. Being employed provides social connection, as well as financial security. You become a part of something, whether it’s for one day a week or seven days a week. This is important for your emotional wellbeing.”

Alysse spends her Saturdays playing wheelchair rugby at an indoor stadium in Moonah, north of Hobart.

“It’s really fun and a good release,” she says. “There’s a camaraderie in our group; we talk about issues that are important to us and it’s very grounding. We’re looking for new players so I’d encourage anyone interested to come along and see what we do.”

PHOTO: Alysse is pictured on the court with Dave Parremore (left, also an Anglicare client) and David Woods.

More information

Paraquad Tasmania – a registered charity that is the peak body for Tasmanians with spinal cord injury

IncludeAbility – a government website that includes resources for employers and people with a disability who are seeking employment and developing their careers.

Physical Disability Sports Tasmania – information on sports for people with physical disability in Tasmania.

Anglicare’s MAIB service


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