Alumni Update | Issue Six 2014

A life of service to people with a disability

2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours

Freddie Brincat OAM
Freddie Brincat OAM (Bachelor of Education) is one of nine University of South Australia alumni who have been recognised for their contribution to the community in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in recognition of a career dedicated to improving the lives of people with a disability.
As Executive Director of Community Bridging Services (CBS) since 1993, Freddie’s passion and leadership have helped CBS earn its reputation for being an innovator in the fields of recreation, further education and open employment services for people with a disability.

After graduating from UniSA with a degree in Secondary Physical Education in 1980, Freddie worked for one year as a secondary school teacher and then 12 years as a Physical Educator at the Strathmont Centre for people with intellectual disabilities.

In 1982 he established Leisure Link Inc., a representative body for disability recreation organisations in South Australia. He obtained a Graduate Diploma of Social Science from Flinders University in 1992. 

Freddie reflects on the social progress of people with disabilities.

“I have learned that Australians with a disability – despite experiencing prejudice and too often a lack of access to quality education, training and coaching opportunities – have so much knowledge, skills and potential to give,” he says.

“Australia, being one of the richest countries in the world and a great place to live, is only now just realising this with the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); a watershed moment.

“When I joined Strathmont in 1980, the life expectancy of a person with Down Syndrome was mid-to-late 30s, and today it is not too dissimilar to everyone else’s… Jimmy Jensen, a 48-year-old with Down Syndrome, completed the New York City Marathon in November 2013.”

A key achievement earlier in Freddie’s career was moving recreation programs away from the Strathmont Centre and into the community, as residents moved into local housing – allowing them to stay involved in these activities while outside the Centre.

Today, Freddie says that the establishment of Community Bridging Services (CBS) and his long-term ongoing career with the organisation has brought him much satisfaction, through seeing so many people’s lives changed for the better.

“I have enjoyed all of the one on one conversations with our clients, listening to their dreams and challenges and trying to find ways to support them to be happier through achievement, and this has made me happier along the way,” Freddie says.

“I haven’t done it on my own… (receiving this honour) is an important time to acknowledge all the networks, friends and colleagues over the years who have supported and guided me.”

Other alumni from University of South Australia who received Queen’s Birthday honours are:

Dr Lewis O'Brien AO FUniSA (Associate Diploma in Aboriginal Studies), for distinguished service to the Indigenous community of South Australia as an elder and educator, and to the promotion and protection of Indigenous culture and heritage.

Mrs Marjorie Tripp AO (Associate Diploma in Social Work), for distinguished service to the Indigenous community through the promotion of improved aged care and health outcomes and recognition of Indigenous Australians in the armed forces.

Dr Rosemary Bryant AO (Graduate Diploma in Business (Health Service Management)), for distinguished service to the profession of nursing through national and international leadership, and as a supporter of access and equity in health care.

Ms Elizabeth Dabars AM (Bachelor of Education), for significant service to medical administration, particularly to nursing and midwifery, and to community and mental health organisations.

Mr Richard Lumb PSM (Masters in Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Science and Bachelor of Applied Science in Medical Technology), Public Sector Medal for outstanding public service in the area of laboratory mycobacteriology, particularly the diagnosis of tuberculosis.

Mr Luigi Rossi PSM (Graduate Diploma in Municipal Engineering and Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering), Public Sector Medal for outstanding public service in the development and implementation of major infrastructure projects.

Superintendent Thomas Rieniets APM (Associate Diploma in Business in Justice Administration), Australian Police Medal for service to policing.

Chief Inspector Kym Zander APM (Graduate Certificate in Management), Australian Police Medal for service to policing.

See the full 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours list

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