Victoria Legal Aid wins IPAA Communication Award 2016

Victoria Legal Aid wins IPAA Communication Award 2016

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Victoria Legal Aid accepting the Communication Award at the Institute of Public Administration (Vic) Leadership in the Public Sector Awards 2016
Accepting the Communication Award at the Institute of Public Administration (Vic) Leadership in the Public Sector Awards

Victoria Legal Aid has won the Communication Award at the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Leadership in the Public Sector Awards held on Tuesday 21 February.

The work awarded by public sector peers hinged on our representation of then 17-year-old school girl Ella Ingram in an insurance discrimination case against QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd.

Managing Director Bevan Warner said: ‘Ella’s case enabled us to amplify beyondblue and Mental Health Australia’s decade-long pursuit of the insurance industry to rethink and rework how it responds to mental health when it assesses claims or provides cover.   

‘Our work on behalf of Ella and others who have experienced discrimination demonstrates all the promise of Our Strategy 2015–18,’ Mr Warner said.

‘It involved thoughtful in-court advocacy challenging actuarial data and working with others to highlight the injustice for the broader community through use of mainstream and social media.

‘Most of all this involved helping our client to tell her own story in her own terms – necessary to shine a light on the issues. Without a client who had been wronged there would have been no case to run, no media to engage and no award.'

Managing Director Bevan Warner

‘Raising community awareness about insurance led discrimination, calling for greater protections against it, and encouraging insurers to change their policies we hope will help ensure that efforts to support the hundreds of thousands of Australians who experience mental illness are not undermined.   

‘Senior Communications Adviser Paula Wilson, Equality Law Program Manager Melanie Schleiger and the balance of their teams can be proud of the industry recognition that comes from winning this award – as we are of them at VLA.’

Victoria Legal Aid also thanked ABC 7.30, and IPAA Victoria for recognising our efforts to bring about positive change.

Noted as being ‘hotly contested,’ other communication award finalists were Golden Plains Shire Council for its ‘Let’s Get It Sorted’ campaign, and Hobsons Bay City Council for its ‘100 Services in 100 Days’ campaign.

Nominations were assessed by a panel of five judges chaired by Jeremi Moule, Executive Director Strategic Communications and Protocol at the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

More information

Find out more about the IPAA Awards 2016.

Recap on the key stories that helped increase awareness of insurers discriminating against people with a mental illness: