Brentwood resident Debbie Karasinski recieves recognition as part of Australia Day honours

Brentwood resident Debbie Karasinski is proud to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia. Picture: Jon Hewson
Brentwood resident Debbie Karasinski is proud to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia. Picture: Jon Hewson

A PHILOSOPHY that everybody deserves the best life they can have has inspired Debbie Karasinski to help people living with a disability for decades.

The Brentwood resident and former chief executive of both Multiple Sclerosis WA and Senses Australia has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.

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Ms Karasinski began her career as an occupational therapist and is the chairwoman of the Children and Adolescent Health Service and a board member of Perth Clinic.

She was also chairwoman of National Disability Services, chairwoman of the WA Ministerial Advisory Committee for Disability Services and a board member of the WA Disability Services Commission.

“Everybody deserves the best life they can have,” she said.

“As an occupational therapist you have the opportunity to improve people’s lives and as a chief executive of a disability organisation, you certainly have the opportunity to create the best outcomes for people living with disability.

“The first thing you learn is that you’re not an island – you can motivate an entire team of people to your philosophy, which is getting the best outcomes for people living with a disability and now in my role for children and adolescents.

“You can’t do it on your own, you require a team of dedicated people so you’ve got the opportunity to motivate and develop plans to get where you want to be.”

Ms Karasinski said she was proud of being able to make the community aware of the needs of people living with disabilities, specifically during her time at the WA Disability Services Commission.

“You don’t really know if you are being successful or not at that time but one week I decided to take some time off to do some painting at my house,” she said.

“In my lane next to my house there was a man with a bulldozer truck and he was picking up the slabs and making a heck of a mess, so I went out there and stood hands on hips and I said ‘what are you doing making such a racket?’

“With a wagging finger he told me about the needs of people living with disability and they were putting down a flat concrete path through the City of Melville just for people with disability.

“When the bulldozer man tells you off and tells you about the needs of people with disabilities then we are getting somewhere.

“I feel a sense of achievement that I was one of the people that has really ensured people with disabilities can travel down the path next to my house or anywhere else.”

Ms Karasinski said she was proud to be appointed a Member of the Order of Australia and hoped the people who had helped her would also be recognised.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky with the opportunities I’ve received,” she said.

“I’ve been introduced to the Queen and Hilary Clinton, I’m lucky and I can’t believe that it’s me getting this honour.”

Attadale resident Anthony Macri, Leeming resident Jan Rose and Winthrop resident Frederick Calginari were awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia.