PWD E-Bulletin



Issue 65 OCTOBER 2010 - ISSN 2202-0705

Welcome to PWD’s E-Bulletin. The e-bulletin goes out to members and interested others regularly by email. For members who do not have access to email, a printed version of the e-bulletin will be sent by post.

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New South Wales News

Other State and Territory News

National News

International News

The Inside Story

Conferences and Workshops

About PWD

Privacy Statement

Contact Us

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New South Wales News

Invitation to learn more about the Premises Standards

The new Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards are due to come into force on 1 May 2011. These Standards are designed to ensure that people with disability and the ageing population have better access to a wide range of public buildings. Improved building access will afford older people and people with disability greater opportunities to access employment and services and to connect with family, friends and the broader community.

The Standards require significant improvements in the level of access to all new public buildings and existing buildings undergoing renovation as well as public toilets, aquatic facilities, signage and parking. It is anticipated that corresponding changes will also be made to the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

This free two hour briefing is aimed at people with disability and those advocating for the rights of people with disability and ageing Australians.

The briefing will cover:

      An overview of the main features of the Premises Standards and their effect and timelines for implementation;

      Who is responsible for complying with the Premises Standards;

      Level of access required for different types of buildings, including the major changes from the current BCA requirements.

It will be presented by Michael Small from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Where: Smith Room, Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street Sydney
When:  2 – 4 pm, Monday 22 November 2010

Places are limited so please register by Friday 12 November by phoning (02) 9265 9169 or email

Further information and enquiries please contact Sam French at (02) 9265 9465 or email

The venue is wheelchair accessible and there will be sign language interpreters and a hearing loop – if you have any other access and requirements, please inform them when you register so that arrangements can be made.

Empty Promises of Freedom

PWD was pleased to contribute to the article Empty Promises of Freedom, which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday 9 October written by journalist Adele Horin. The article drew attention to an issue PWD has been campaigning on for many years - the need to close institutions that house people with disability and stop the redevelopments of institutions.

The article investigates the ongoing funding of institutional housing for people with disability, and the fact that the NSW state government is in the process of rebuilding some institutions, in contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that Australia ratified in 2008.

The article shows the undignified and inhumane nature of institutions and the disgraceful manner in which people with disability remain segregated from the wider community through support services provided in this manner.

Adele draws attention to the fact that despite State Government promises to close all institutions fifteen years ago, only 384 people have been moved out since 1998, mostly into group homes; and more than 1600 people still live in institutions.

PWD was interviewed extensively for the story, along with the Disability Discrimination Legal Centre (DDLC), the NSW Ombudsman and Disability Enterprises Leura.

Click here to read the full article online.


Click here to read more information about the Shut-In Campaign, the national campaign to close institutions, on the PWD website.

Victory for Supported Living Campaign

PWD joins Family Advocacy and hundreds of people with disability and their families in welcoming the bipartisan government commitment to a Supported Living Fund.

This support was announced on the night of 25 October 2010, when over 200 families of people with disability congregated in a meeting room to hear the NSW Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose, the Shadow Minister Andrew Constance and Greens spokesperson for disability, Ian Cohen, unanimously endorse the Supported Living Fund as part of a plan to give people with disability and their families far greater control over their lives and supports.

Representatives of the three major political parties agreed it was time to move NSW from crisis intervention to prevention so that families could plan for the future of their loved ones with disability.

For the first time in over 20 years, people with intellectual disability will receive government funding to live in their own homes while their families are still in a position to support the move,” said campaign organiser Ms Belinda Epstein-Frisch.

The three parties have endorsed the Supported Living Fund, and made a commitment to the four key elements of:

      Providing new money

      Extending the target group to include families not in crisis

      Enabling people with disability to have a home of their own, using a combination of paid and unpaid/informal support

      Enabling families and people with disability to direct their own support

PWD along with many disability representative and advocacy organisations and service providers have endorsed the Supported Living Fund. 

Click here for more details of the Supported Living Fund at the Family Advocacy website.

Plans to reopen closed mental health wards at Callan Park

Along with the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) and the NSW Consumer Advisory Group – Mental Health (NSW CAG), PWD is extremely concerned about plans to reopen closed mental health wards at Callan Park to house people with psychosocial disability.

Over the past four years, there has been considerable discussion about the future uses of the Callan Park site. Leichhardt Council has developed a Master Plan for the redevelopment of the site of the former psychiatric hospital.

While much of the Plan can be supported, the overall approach is marred by the return to stigmatising housing in several of the old psychiatric wards. The current ‘vision’ for the site includes plans for 83 supported accommodation beds.

MHCC’s position is that the draft Callan Park Master Plan has been made without full consideration of the strong evidence base on what constitutes socially inclusive, recovery-oriented approaches to mental health. This view has been formed through extensive and continuing consultation with MHCC members

PWD also argues that the return to congregate, segregated accommodation options is not in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  The application of CRPD to housing for people with disability is clearly articulated in PWD’s Position Paper, Accommodating Human Rights: a human rights perspective on housing, and housing and support, for persons with disability.

PWD is engaged in legal action with the NSW Minister for Disability Services in relation to the redevelopment of institutions for people with intellectual disability and is appalled that other groups of people with disability are also facing regressive moves back to institutional models of accommodation. While there is significant unmet need for housing and support for all people with disability, all levels of government must recognise their obligations to realise the human rights of people with disability in responding to this demand.

NSW CAG has developed a Position Statement to outline their views on the redevelopment of Callan Park. They strongly support the site being used to support mental health and wellbeing, with no hospital or medical services and with site governance including representation of mental health consumers.  NSW CAG only support transitional housing on this site, but not extended or long-term housing.

PWD is concerned that any transitional housing will move to longer term housing given the lack of available housing and support for people with psychosocial disability.  We argue that there should be more funding provided to the expansion of the Housing and Support Initiative (HASI), which has been successful in supporting people with psychosocial disability to access and maintain secure tenancies, improved mental and physical health and improved social and community connection as well as economic participation and overall improved quality of life.

MHCC is interested in hearing from you regarding your views on these matters and encourages mindful discussion about recovery oriented service provision. For more information go to or email

NSW CAG can be contacted on telephone (02) 9332 0200 or email

PWD at the 2010 Nepean Disability Expo

Representatives from PWD and the National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline, which is operated by PWD, held a stall at the Nepean Disability Expo, which took place at the Penrith Panthers Pavilion in Mulgoa Road, Penrith on Friday and Saturday 22-23 October.

The Nepean Disability Expo is held every second year and is a major event in the region’s Disability Sector with over 80 exhibitors at this year’s event. PWD and the Hotline joined a large group of disability information, services, technology, vehicle providers and equipment suppliers, but stood out as one of the only disability rights and advocacy organisations.

As such, PWD and the Hotline strongly represented the human rights and advocacy sector and provided information about our vision and services to the many people who attended.

Access All Areas Film Festival

Access All Areas is a touring film festival that aims to increase access to Australian cinema. For the third year running the festival will screen across NSW during November and December 2010.

The festival will visit cinemas and schools in Wagga Wagga, Orange, Parramatta and wrap up in Sydney on 3 December to celebrate International Day of People with Disability.  Featuring films that have been captioned or audio described and screened in accessible venues, Access All Areas is being billed a celebration of Australian cinema to which everyone is invited to attend.

The screening in Sydney will take place on Friday 3 December at 6:30pm at the Dendy Opera Quays Cinema, near the Opera House. Two simultaneous screenings will take place, one with open captions and one with audio description.

The festival has FREE entry so bookings are essential to guarantee a seat.

Please call the festival office on (02) 9281 5608 or email  to make a booking and inform them of any access services you require.

For more information on films, screening times, venues and access please visit the website

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Other State and Territory News

Queensland: PWD represented at Mount Isa Mental Health Week

One of PWD’s Executive Directors Matthew Bowden recently attended a Celebration Dinner as part of Mount Isa’s Mental Health Week activities.

PWD has a growing presence in the Mount Isa and Lower Gulf Communities, with advocates Val Brown and Dennis Willetts providing individual advocacy support to people with disability in the area from the new PWD office located in Mount Isa.

Matthew gave a speech at the dinner, speaking of the ranging issues people with psychosocial disability face in Australia and how they continue to be some of the most marginalised and isolated people in our communities. He noted how human rights concerns, such as discrimination, vilification, homelessness, incarceration and unemployment, remain in very high levels for people with psychosocial disability.

Matthew also spoke on how in Australia we currently see very little funding directed towards treatment and support services which are consumer lead and how there is strong evidence that when people with psychosocial disability are afforded the right of self-determination and given control over the policies, program design and support services that there are much better outcomes for consumers.

Matthew referred to key reforms urgently required in order for Australia to successfully protect and promote the rights of people with psychosocial disability. These included:

      Consumer representative groups are funded at the regional, State and Commonwealth levels to provide a voice for people with psychosocial disability.

      Improving the way that supports are provided in culturally appropriate ways, especially to Indigenous Australians.

      Affording flexibility in the workplace to people with psychosocial disability, so that when experiencing an impairment which is episodic in nature this does not preclude people from participating in the workforce.

      Support for the recovery model, so that health services and community attitudes shift from believing that once a person receives a diagnosis that recovery is not an option.

      Adult guardianship system needs reform so that we are supporting people with psychosocial disability to make their own decisions. Involuntary treatment should always be the option of last resort.  

For more information please contact Matthew Bowden, Executive Director on (02) 9370 3100 or email

Victoria: Album Launch “Tragedy of the Commons”

PWD would like to alert Members and supporters in Victoria of an opportunity to support the band Rudely Interrupted as they launch their debut album Tragedy of the Commons on Sunday 28 November, from 2pm – 5pm, at the Northcote Social Club, 301 High Street, Northcote Victoria.

Formed in 2006 by chance, Rudely Interrupted is a unique band of six young musicians, five of whom are people with disability. The band is neither a novelty act nor a cover band but rather a talented and dedicated group of musicians that are generating popular indie music for a growing legion of fans.

Rudely Interrupted first performed live in 2007 and have since toured the world, performed on some of the biggest stages and starred in a critically acclaimed documentary film.

This is a unique opportunity to support a group actively breaking down barriers and making their talents known and recognised.

Victoria: Women with Disabilities Victoria's 2010 election statement, key health messages and media release

Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) have now released their election statement and key health messages for the upcoming Victorian state election.

PWD supports their statements and joins their call for the Victorian Government to take action to address violence against women with disability.

WDV have identified six key actions the Victorian Government can take to address this issue, including funding specific initiatives for women with disability as part of the implementation of the government’s Right to Respect: Victoria’s Plan to Prevent Violence against Women 2010-2020.

The WDV election statement also calls for changes to the health care sector to stamp out discrimination against women with disability and changes to the planning of other essential services such as housing.

The WDV election statement is available on the WDV website

WDV will be seeking meetings with all major political parties prior to the Victorian Election on 27 November 2010.

Victoria: Improve Services to Crime Victims with Disability

The Department of Justice, through the Victims Support Agency is conducting a survey aimed at adults with disability, carers and guardians.

The purpose of the survey is:

      To improve our knowledge of the extent and type of crimes committed against people with disability.

      To help us understand the best ways of informing you about your rights should you become a victim of crime.

      To improve the response of Justice and victim service agencies to victims of crime who have a disability.

The survey is available in plain English and easy English. Information about the survey is available from any of the following collection or access points.

Completing the survey is voluntary and anonymous. Surveys can be completed by:

·         Going on line to (plain English version)

·         Call (03) 8684 6743 and complete the survey by phone

·         Call (03) 8684 6716 or email and request a survey be mailed to you

The survey will be available until end of December.  If you have any questions regarding the survey, you can call (03) 8684 6716.

Tasmania: Anti-Discrimination Commissioner welcomes human rights consultation

PWD is pleased to report that Tasmanian Attorney-General, Lara Giddings MP, has announced further community consultation on human rights protection and the possibility of a human rights charter in Tasmania.

In 2006-07, Tasmanians spoke out strongly in support of a charter of human rights specific to Tasmania with almost 95% of submissions in support. 

The Department of Justice is now going to conduct consultations across the state. 

The Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner  is also available to meet with communities and groups interested in responding to the Directions Paper. For more information, contact them on (03) 6233 4841.

As well as seeking community views on the inclusion of civil and political rights and on the range of mechanisms proposed for protecting human rights in Tasmania, the Directions Paper specifically seeks views on whether or not a Charter for Tasmania should include protection of the following rights and freedoms:

      The right to an adequate standard of living

      Environmental sustainability

It also seeks views on specific recognition of the rights of people with disability in relation to respect for physical and mental integrity; right to exercise the full extent of their legal capacity including ensuring appropriate access to support needed to exercise this right and ensuring appropriate safeguards in relation to supported or substitute decision making; and the right to live independently and be involved in the community.

For more information on the consultation process, please visit

South Australia: Introduction of the Disability (Mandatory Reporting) Bill

In July 2010, a private members Bill was introduced into the SA Parliament by Kelly Vincent, Dignity for Disability MLC. The Disability (Mandatory Reporting) Bill would introduce a Disability Mandatory Reporting obligation similar to the legal protection afforded children and elderly people in care. Under the Bill, workers and volunteers would have a legal obligation to report incidences of abuse or concern and would be protected for doing so. 

The foundation of the Bill focuses on the citizenship rights of people with disability and is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

PWD welcomes measures to protect the rights of people with disability, but believes that a stand-alone mandatory reporting Bill is not sufficient to protect people with disability from abuse, neglect and exploitation.   We argue that there should be a Vulnerable Adult’s Protection Framework that would contain a suite of legislative, policy and administrative measures to more comprehensively and adequately respond to CRPD Article 15, Freedom from torture and inhumane, cruel and degrading treatment or punishment; Article 16, Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse; and Article 17, Protecting the Integrity of the Person.

Many of our views are contained in our research report, Rights Denied: Towards a National Policy Agenda about abuse, neglect and exploitation of persons with cognitive impairment. This research was conducted throughout 2008- 2009 and informed by an ‘Expert Group Seminar’ where the draft research findings were discussed by academics, researchers and people with disability who have expertise in the area of abuse, neglect and exploitation.  Our research was aided by financial assistance from the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW and we acknowledge their support.

We are pleased that the Julia Farr Association in SA has provided a response to the Bill, which contains many of the findings and recommendations from Rights Denied.  This response has been provided to the SA Parliament for their consideration in looking at a broader scope for the Bill. 

If the Bill becomes law, PWD urges the SA Parliament to ensure that it is accompanied and supported by an effective legislative, policy and administrative framework. 

Click here for more information about the political party, Dignity for Disability, at their website

South Australia: Upcoming Seminar, “How you can Help Protect your Sons and Daughters with Disabilities from Sexual Abuse”

Following on from her introduction of The Disability (Mandatory Reporting) Bill in July 2010, Ms Vincent’s Parliamentary Office has been deluged of reports from workers and families supporting the Bill and lamenting the lack of current supports to prevent, report or manage abuses of some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Kelly Vincent, MLC said “I have been informed of several tragedies in the past few weeks, where people with disabilities have suffered horrendous abuse. We are working with Government to prevent abuse at a systemic level, but I believe that every parent and carer needs to educate themselves and their children, in a developmentally appropriate way to stop these nightmares.”

Kelly Vincent, Dignity for Disability MLC, in support of Carers Week welcomes parents and guardians of children and adults with disability to the first of a series of workshops aimed at giving families the tools to protect their sons and daughters from sexual abuse.

It is estimated that children with a disability are 700% more likely to be a target of abuse. While that is a frightening statistic, parents and carers can arm themselves and the people they care for, with the tools to understand, recognise and report sexual abuse.

In this first seminar of a series of events, world renowned child abuse expert Dr Briggs will share her knowledge of the problem and offer practical ways to help children and adults with intellectual disability in particular, protect themselves.

“I ask all parents of children with any disability, parents of adults and with an intellectual and/or communication disability as well as disability support workers to make every effort to attend” said Ms Vincent.

Speaker: Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs AO
Venue: Cynthia Poulton Hall, St Peters Cathedral, Cnr King William Road & Pennington Tce, North Adelaide
Date: 9.30am – 12.30pm, Monday 8 November 2010

Free childcare provided (bookings are essential)

RSVP via Email (preferred) 
or phone: (08) 8237 9528.

Australian Capital Territory: 7 Short Films with a Difference

In commemoration of the International Day of People with Disability, the ACT Human Rights Commission and the ACT Community Arts Office present 7 Short Films with Difference. The films include six of the best short films which screened at The Other Film Festival 2010 and Beautiful, a new film from the Through A Different Lens project 2010 (ACT ArtsAbility).

The event is an initiative of the ACT Disability & Community Services Commissioner, with the ACT Community Arts Office.

The event will take place on International Day of People with Disability, Friday, 3 December 2010, at the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra.

Admission is free however bookings are essential to ensure you get a seat.

For bookings and information contact the ACT Human Rights Commission, Phone: 6205 2222 or email

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National news

General practice surgeries to have height adjustable beds

PWD, Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), Physical Disability Council NSW (PDCN) and Council on the Ageing NSW (COTA), are thrilled to announce that the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) 4th edition of the Standards for General Practices, launched on Friday, now includes a requirement for general practice surgeries to have height adjustable examination beds.

This is a fantastic outcome for our joint advocacy in this area over the last five years. PWD would like to thank everyone who endorsed our collective Submission (November 2009) to the RACGP regarding the issue of adjustable-height examination beds in GP surgeries. It was incredibly heartening to see the number of endorsements we received in such a short time frame.

A copy of the WWDA, PWD, PDCN and COTA Submission is available on WWDA’s website in both PDF and Word formats. Please visit 

PWD especially thanks PWD member and former Board Director, Sheila King, whose Australian wide survey into numbers of height adjustable examination beds in GP practices provided the evidence-base for advocacy efforts.

Below is an extract of a Press Release from the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) announcing the achievement:

New standards improve health outcomes for everyone
Media Release – Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, today welcomed the launch of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) 4th edition of the Standards for General Practices which include a requirement for general practice surgeries to have height adjustable examination beds.

“I want to congratulate the RACGP for taking this initiative,” said Commissioner Innes. “Over the years my office has received many distressing accounts of the experiences of patients with disability and older Australians trying to use fixed height beds, some having to be examined on the floor or whilst in their wheelchairs, some not receiving important screening examinations at all.”

Height adjustable examination beds will assist general practice teams to reduce the risk of injury to all patients. They will also limit the risk of misdiagnosis or non-detection of serious medical conditions, reduce the occupational health and safety issues for health practitioners and reduce the risks associated with legal responsibilities under discrimination law.

In Control’s 100 Leaders Project

PWD would like to alert all supporters of a project being launched by PWD Organisational Member, In Control Australia.

The aim of the project is to amass 100 stories of Australians living with disability and/or family members involved in supporting a person living with disability, who have taken leadership in their own life in terms of personalised support and active citizenhood.  They hope to connect these stories together at the In Control Australia website, so that by visiting one place a person can connect with 100 stories of personalised support.

The idea was triggered in this blog posting -

In Control’s particular interest is stories that reflect all of the following:

      The principle of personal authority, where a person is taking leadership in her/his own life by creating a personal vision and then having support arrangements in place that support that vision

      The principle of active citizenhood, where people creating personalised support arrangements that support the person into community life as a visible and valued member

      The demonstration of authentically  personalised support arrangements that do not rely on congregated settings where people living with disability are grouped together

      The demonstration of personalised support arrangements that do not rely exclusively on paid assistance and disability-specific supports, so that the person’s daily life includes people who give their time freely, and includes access to freely available mainstream community resources

In Control hopes the stories will inspire and inform people about what is possible and that this will contribute to the momentum for helpful change in states/territories and nationally.

For more information, please contact Robbi Williams on telephone (08) 8373 8333 or email or at the Julie Farr website

Accessible Buses are a Must

PWD has continued its support for PWD member Julia Haraksin by appearing alongside her on a Channel 10 news report on 15 October, which detailed her current action against a major private bus company.

Julia has filed a disability discrimination complaint against Murray Coaches Ltd in the Federal Court in Sydney after she tried unsuccessfully to book a seat on one of its coaches last year to attend a conference.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), representing Julia, argues that Murrays have violated the Disability Discrimination Act, which gives the Attorney-General the power to set a mandatory standard for accessible public transport.

Julia is seeking orders that Murray's retrofit 25 per cent of its buses to make them wheelchair accessible, in compliance with federal disability standards.

Click here to learn more about the case and view the news report on YouTube.

New 24 hour sexual assault and domestic and family violence hotline announced

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, has launched a new telephone counselling service for Australians who have experienced or are at risk of physical or sexual violence.

1800 RESPECT is a confidential service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week over the phone.  Australians can access the line by calling 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

Ms Ellis said 1800 RESPECT will give callers access to qualified and specialist counsellors who will provide counselling, information, advice and referrals, free of charge. "Sexual assault and domestic and family violence are among the most pervasive forms of violence. They have serious and often devastating consequences for victims, their extended families and the community," Ms Ellis said."

1800 RESPECT has been designed to provide both immediate and ongoing assistance that is individualised to the often complex needs of victims of violence and their families." The service will also provide professional support, such as debriefing and supervision, to staff from small and isolated services which deal with people who have experienced physical or sexual violence.

National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) survey available online

NEDA is conducting a survey audit on disadvantages for people with disability from non-English speaking background, who are not in receipt of the Disability Support Pension.

The survey is looking to reveal the rate of incidents where people with disability have been denied access to support services, aids or equipment on the grounds of not receiving a Disability Support Pension.

NEDA is looking for people with disability from non-English speaking background with the above experience and/or anyone with knowledge on such experiences.

At this stage NEDA is compiling an audit of scenarios that apply for different states and territories. The survey is confidential and there is no need to name any of the people involved.

If you have information we invite you to fill in the survey, which can be accessed via this link

Webcast of Premises Standards Awareness Seminars 2010

Throughout August and September 2010, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) delivered awareness raising seminars on the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards (Premises Standards).  The Premises Standards are the culmination of extensive national consultation and follow the Australian Government’s tabled response to the 2009 report, Access all Areas. 

Over 2,000 people attended presentations by Michael Small of the AHRC and the ABCB’s Kevin Newhouse. Delivered in all capital cities, the half-day seminars provided detail and clarification on the ways in which the Premises Standards will enable consistency between building law and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Key themes included how the Premises Standards set performance requirements and technical specifications for non-discriminatory access, as well as providing a practical and on-going approach to improved building access.

On 1 May 2011 the Premises Standards are expected to take effect and it is anticipated that the Building Code of Australia (BCA) will be harmonised with the Premises Standards at this time. This move towards national consistency will generate greater certainty for practitioners in the design and construction of buildings, while ensuring buildings are more accessible for people with disability and our ageing population.

The Premises Standards and changes to the BCA will introduce some new access requirements and significantly improve those that building professionals are already familiar with.

If you missed the Premises Standards Awareness Seminars 2010, click here to access a webcast on the Australian Human Rights Commission website. 

The webcast is captioned.

More information is available on the Attorney General’s Department website at and the AHRC website at  

Applications open for board scholarship program for women

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis has called on Australian women to apply for a new scholarship program aimed at increasing the number of women on boards.  PWD encourages women with disability to consider apply for this program.

Applications opened on 26 October for the Board Diversity Scholarship Program, a $400,000 election commitment from the Australian Government, which is jointly funded with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

The program will offer more than 70 scholarships to board-ready women to assist them to attend the AICD’s highly regarded Company Directors course or Mastering the Boardroom course. Participating women will also receive a one-year membership of the AICD.

This initiative complements the Australian Government commitment to the increased representation of women on Government Boards. The Government has committed to a 40:40:20 membership ratio on Australian Government Boards by 2015.

Applications close on 12 November 2010.

For more information on applying for the scholarships, visit

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International News

PWD and Capacity Building in the Pacific

This month PWD completed its commitment to supporting the roll out of governance and human rights training on ‘building the capacity and knowledge of DPO’s and government representatives to progress disability issues in the Pacific’ in partnership with the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) and the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The project was conducted in nine Pacific Countries including Vanuatu, Solomon islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu.

The final training was held in Tonga with Naunau 'oe 'Alamaite Tonga Disability Association (NATA) and government representatives from Department of Education, Health, Finance. PWD also facilitated training on successful advocacy at the Tongan National Women’s Forum where the Tongan Women’s Committee was established to represent the interests of women with disability within NATA Tonga.

PWD was also successful in raising funds for a data projector requested by NATA Tonga. This will assist the DPO in their delivery of presentations and their advocacy work on the rights of people with disability in Tonga.

PWD thanks the Pacific Disability Forum and the Australian Human Rights Commission for the opportunity to participate in the successful delivery of this project.

Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) visits PWD

PWD played host to a four day visit from PDF Co-Chair, Mr Sam Vilsoni from 11 to 15 October 2010.  Sam is also a Project Officer at the Fiji Disabled People’s Association (FDPA).

The visit provided PWD Board and staff with an opportunity to discuss and share issues and information about people with disability in Australia and the Pacific, including the recent signing of CRPD by the Fijian Government. 

Sam visited PWD on his way to meetings being held by the Asia Pacific Disability Forum and the UN Economic and Social Council Asia Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand.

Opening of the second round of the Pacific Disabled Persons Organisation Fund

PWD would like to alert all Disabled Peoples’ Organisations in the Pacific that the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) has announced the opening of the second round of the Pacific Disabled Persons Organisation Fund (Pacific DPO Fund).

The Pacific DPO Fund has been established by the PDF with funding from the Australian and New Zealand Governments. The purpose of the Pacific DPO Fund is to improve the lives of persons with disabilities by supporting the organisational development and project work of Pacific Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs).

An organisation can apply for up to Fiji$10,000 per application. This is the same for Organisational Development Activities and Projects.  Further applications from a DPO will not be considered until all reporting requirements have been met to the satisfaction of the Fund Committee.

Interested organisations are urged to review the full Guidelines, application details and forms posted at the PDF's website and click on the DPO Fund page.

Any questions on the proposal process should be directed to Ms Angeline Chand DPO Development Officer on email

The deadline for applications is Friday 14 January 2011, 4pm Fiji Time.

US President Barack Obama signs technology access bill for people with hearing and vision impairment

A US bill signed into law on 8 October means that for the first time, people with hearing and vision impairments in the United States will be able to more easily access smart phones, the internet and other common technologies.

The law came as part of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which acts to prevent discrimination, increase access and improve services to all people with disability in America.

The law sets federal guidelines that require the telecommunications industry to:

      Make getting to the Internet easier by improving the user interfaces on smart phones.

      Provide audible descriptions of on-screen action to help the blind more fully enjoy television.

      Add captions to online TV programming to help the deaf.

      Make the equipment used for Internet telephone calls compatible with hearing aids.

      Add a button or other switch to television remote controls for simpler access to closed captioning on television.

Click here to read more at the Sydney Morning Herald website

Keeping the Promise: Outcome of the 2010 MDG Summit

On 20-22 September, close to 140 Heads of State and Government gathered at UN Headquarters for a Meeting of the General Assembly on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), also known as the “MDG Summit.”

The summit sought to accelerate progress towards achieving the MDGs by 2015 and to undertake a comprehensive review of successes, best practices and lessons learnt, challenges and opportunities that could lead to concrete future strategies for action.

On the final day of the summit, Member States adopted an outcome document – ‘Keeping the Promise: United to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals’ in which Member States set out an action agenda in order to reach the Goals by 2015.

This document highlighted that a key missing dimension in MDG implementation to date has been the need to firmly anchor the MDGs in a human rights framework. This would mean reporting MDG progress to national and international human rights oversight bodies and much more human rights-adjusted MDG reporting to ensure that averages do not mask major disparities between groups, especially among women and girls, migrant workers, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples.

In the document, a summary of Roundtable 2 and Roundtable 5 made reference to people with disability and the specific circumstances that make them particularly vulnerable:

Roundtable 2: Meeting the goals of health and education

Summing up Roundtable 2, Co-Chair Gert Rosenthal said that several speakers had underscored the link between education and health.  As the two sectors were central to poverty reduction and achieving all the Goals, many interventions had stressed that they must be closely coordinated in national development plans. Inequalities in education and health were seen as barriers to attaining the Goals. It was therefore crucial to improve access to good-quality education and health services, particularly for women and children, those living in rural and remote areas, vulnerable and poor populations and persons living with disabilities

Roundtable 5: Addressing the special needs of the most vulnerable

Summing up Roundtable 5, Co-Chair Winston Baldwin Spencer, said the international community must spare no effort to advance equality and non-discrimination in terms of gender, age, disability, ethnicity, geographical location and HIV status. Adequate resources were needed to tackle basic sources of vulnerability, such as lack of access to adequate nutrition, education, skills training, health services and decent jobs.

Click here for more information on the Summit and the Outcomes document, on the UN website.

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The Inside Story

PWD Annual General Meeting – Message from the President

"As the PWDA 2010 AGM is fast approaching I would like to encourage all Members to attend and stand behind all we as Members believe in.

This year we have some very important Constitutional changes to consider and vote upon, in our endeavour to forge forward as a leading identity within the Disability Sector.

2010 has been a year that has seen much change and expansion of our advocacy services; let us keep the ball rolling into 2011.

We are also having a half-board election, which will bring new blood and ideas into our curriculum.

We already have Directors with a wide scope of expertise, but we are always willing to open the door wider and embrace new talent.

Preceding the AGM we will be holding a forum on Employment with a panel discussion. These types of events are always popular and interesting, so please mark your diaries for Saturday November 27th. You will receive all the appropriate information by mail in due course.

Hope to see you all on the 27th

Jan Daisley - President PWDA."

PWD Annual General Meeting – Invitation

PWD invites all PWD members and supporters to our Members’ Event and Annual General Meeting, to be held on Saturday 27 November 2010.

The afternoon will begin with a Panel Discussion (12pm-3pm), hosted by television personality and PWD supporter Julie McCrossin, which will investigate how welfare provisions and government action has made it harder for people with disability to gain employment.

The AGM, from 3pm – 5pm, will follow this discussion and drinks and light refreshments will be served at the end.

Place: Mercure Sydney Hotel, 818 – 820 George Street, Sydney, (limited parking available)

RSVP or telephone 02 9370 3100 by Friday 19 November 2010.

Join us as we welcome our new Board members!

Vale - Anne McDonald

PWD expresses its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Anne McDonald who passed away suddenly on Friday 22 October 2010.  Anne was a committed and passionate advocate for people with disability to live independently and with dignity in the community, having herself been put in an institution at the age of three. Years later she successfully fought the Supreme Court of Victoria to escape the institution, then fought for – and won – the right to manage her own supports.  Outside the institution, she achieved a degree and co-authored a book which became an award winning film “Annie’s Coming Out”.

In her acceptance speech after winning the Personal Achievement Award at the Australian 2008 National Disability Awards, Anne spoke of the need to continue the struggle to get all people out of institutions: 

“I went to the Supreme Court and won the right to manage my own affairs. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean that the institution offered the other residents the right to manage their own affairs.

I was an exception. Through no desire of my own, I was out front in the struggle to get rights for people without speech. I tried to show the world that when people without speech were given the opportunity to participate in education we could succeed….

Some people who should know better have tried to give me a halo. Anybody could have done what I have done if they too had been taken out of hell as I was. If you let other people without speech be helped as I was helped, they will say more than I can say.

They will tell you that the humanity we share is not dependent on speech.

They will tell you that the power of literacy lies within us all.

They will tell you that I am not an exception, only a bad example.”

PWD mourns the passing of this tireless advocate and acknowledges her important contribution in the fight for the rights of people with disability.

Farewell Amanda Tink and Julie Rosenberg

On Friday 22 October, Amanda Tink left PWD, as her 12 month contract came to an end.  Amanda worked for the past year as PWD’s Training Officer, assisting with the development and delivery of our training programs. She also participated in other events, such as workshops for the development of a sector response to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into disability care and support. Recently she also assisted the systemic advocacy team develop our training into more professional modules.

This month PWD also farewelled Julie Rosenberg, who has long been a valued member of the Administration team. Julie joined PWD in March 2007 and has contributed enormously to the smooth running of PWD’s day to day activities, from packing information boxes to catering to organising the mail to being the friendly face at reception greeting visitors.

PWD would like to thank both Amanda and Julie for all their great work and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Call out to young people with disability!

Are you between the ages of 16-25 and a person with disability? Do you know someone who is? Then we would love to hear from you!

We are looking to improve the way we deal with youth issues, how we communicate with youth and how we can better provide young people with disability with the resources to advocate for their rights! We’re looking to better connect, inform, entertain and enlighten young people with disability – giving them and voice and finding new and better ways to make it heard.

We’d also love to increase our number of young members so if you support the work and values of PWD then please promote the value of membership to others around you.

There are also plenty of things we need to learn about what young people with disability want, which is why we need YOU to give us feedback! We want to hear what you want, the issues that concern you and your friends. Write to Daphnee at or call 02 9370 3100.

PWD Supporter Survey

PWD has launched its first ever supporter survey, to learn more about you and how we can better meet your needs.

Thank you to everyone who has already taken the time to respond – your contribution is hugely appreciated!

For those who haven’t filled out the survey, we encourage you to visit this site and fill out the questions.

It should only take 5-10 minutes to complete, and would be of enormous help in directing us towards providing better services for our supporters.

We have endeavoured to make this survey accessible to everyone. If you experience any difficulty, please contact us for assistance on telephone (02) 9370 3100 or freecall 1800 422 015 or email

Thanks, and we look forward to receiving your feedback!

Have you thought of becoming a Disability Rights Defender?

Not everyone has the time or ability to come to meetings, write submissions, and volunteer to protect the rights of people with disability.

If this is you, there is now a way you can support PWD – becoming a Disability Rights Defender! By doing so, you will join the hundreds of other Australians striving towards the vision of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights of all people with disability are respected and celebrated.

You can become a Disability Rights Defender by making a regular, monthly, tax-deductible donation – and in doing so, help change lives and make a real difference to the work of PWD.

Want to learn more? Contact PWD at or download an application form from

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Upcoming Events

13-15 November 2010: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Asia Pacific CBR Convention 2010 - Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Development: Introduction of ‘The New CBR Guideline’. For more information 


18-19 November 2010: Sydney, NSW Inaugural National Indigenous Policy and Dialogue Conference: New Relationships, New Possibilities. For more information visit or email


22 November 2010: Sydney, NSW NCOSS Sector Development Conference: The Future of Community Management – Reviewing our Governance Model


30 November-3 December 2010: Jakarta, Indonesia Regional Conference on ASEAN and Disability: Celebrating International Day of Disabled Persons:

 Mainstreaming Disability in MDGs in ASEAN Community

For more information visit


10 December 2010: Galway, Ireland Centre for Disability Law and Policy Conference & Launch of National Disability Strategies research project.

Shuaib Chalklen, the UN Special Rapporteur on Disability will be presenting the keynote speech at the conference.  For more information:


14 December 2010: Sydney, NSW Emergency Readiness and Response for People with a Physical Disability Workshop – run by Physical Disability Council of NSW. This free workshop will be held at the Medina Hotel, 2 Lee Street Haymarket (next to Central Station). To RSVP phone Ben Williams on 1800 688 831 or (02) 9552 1606 or email or


9-11 February 2011: Geelong, VIC Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability Inc (VALID) Having a Say Conference 2011, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria. For more information


14-17 March 2011: Auckland, New Zealand Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) Regional Conference on Disability 2011 - Promoting actions on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the Pacific Region. For more information


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About PWD

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWD) is a national disability rights and advocacy organisation. Our membership is people with disability and organisations made up of people with disability. Individuals and organisations committed to the disability rights movement can join PWD as associate members.

PWD was founded in 1981, the International Year of Disabled People, to provide people with disability with a voice of our own. We have a cross-disability focus and represent the interests of people with all kinds of disability.

As a non-profit, non-government organisation we increasingly depends on membership fees, public donations, bequests and fundraising activities to maintain our commitment to improving the lives of people with disability. PWD is a deductible gift recipient so donations of $2 or more are fully tax deductible.

Your tax deductible donation will mean we can continue to maintain our services. If you are interested and would like to support PWD please visit

For information about membership, contact PWD on email or one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin.

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Privacy statement

We are committed to protecting your privacy. In doing so, we commit ourselves to conforming to the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000, which came into effect in December 2001 and the National Privacy Principles issued by the Australian Privacy Commissioner. This newsletter is distributed by email. You have provided us with an email address. This email address will be used only for the purpose for which you have provided it and you will not be added to any other mailing lists unless you specifically request that this be done. Your email address will not be disclosed without your consent.

You can have your email address removed from the mailing list for this newsletter by sending an email to This newsletter contains links to websites. We cannot be held responsible for the privacy practices (or lack thereof) or the content of such websites.

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Contact us

Please note that PWD publishes items contributed by other organisations at our discretion. While we will assist where possible in the dissemination of information, we do not take responsibility for the promotion or advertisement of events organised by other organisations.

If you would like to receive PWD E-Bulletin in an alternative format or have an enquiry, contact PWD by email or on one of the numbers listed below.

People with Disability Australia Incorporated
PO Box 66 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
Phone 02 9370 3100, toll-free 1800 422 015
TTY 02 9318 2138, toll-free 1800 422 016

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