PWD E-Bulletin


Number 66 November-December 2010 - ISSN 2202-0705

Welcome to the last PWD E-Bulletin for the year!

This bulletin goes out regularly to our members and supporters and covers PWD news and events as well as other news from the disability sector. For people who do not have access to email, a printed version of the E-bulletin can be sent by post.

To be added to or removed from our mailing list, or to change your email address, please email or contact the Information and Liaison Officer on one of the numbers listed at the end of this bulletin.

If you would like to become a member of PWD or learn more about our membership options, contact PWD on


New South Wales News

Other State and Territory News

National News

International News

The Inside Story

Upcoming Events

About PWD

Privacy Statement

Contact Us

Return to contents

New South Wales News

Official Launch of PWD’s Accommodating Violence Report

PWD is pleased to announce the successful launch of Accommodating Violence: The experience of domestic violence of people with disability living in licensed boarding houses. The launch formed part of our key activities to commemorate International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) and Stop Domestic Violence Day (both celebrated on 3 December).

The report was launched by Shadow Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, Andrew Constance at the Opposition Party Room at NSW Parliament House on Thursday 2 December 2010.

The keynote speaker at the event was Ms Betty Green, a lobbyist with over 20 years’ experience working on issues related to women’s health and domestic violence.

“We are working within a system which I think is in major need of an overhaul – fresh change, and a means to empower the individual to take charge of their own lives,” said Mr Constance at the launch.

“In terms of the review of the regulations that underpin the governance of licenced boarding houses in the state (the 31 remaining boarding houses, and still 700 people who are living in these arrangements) there is need of a fundamental review in terms of looking at those regulations. I’m committed to that, I think it’s necessary based on the advice I’m getting back from PWD”, said Mr Constance.

The report reveals that the violence and neglect which exists in these settings is predominantly due to structural systemic breakdowns in legislative frameworks, policy guidelines, administrative procedures, and the inaccessibility of many domestic violence services. Such flaws create barriers and gaps in domestic violence prevention and response which leave people with disability, particularly women with disability living in licensed boarding houses subject to vulnerability and abuse.

“The intersection of gender and disability renders women with a disability as one of the most marginalised groups in society,” said Ms Green, in a speech which highlighted the hidden nature of the issue and the need to begin a constructive dialogue to ensure the safety and security of people in licensed boarding houses.

“Women with a disability experience a higher rate of abuse, in more diverse forms and at the hands of a broader range of perpetrators than women without a disability.

“We must incorporate these sobering facts into the conversations that we must have to develop meaningful solutions and practical responses towards improving the safety and security of women with a disability who experience violence or abuse in the places where they live,” said Ms Green

Setting the record straight - evidence of domestic violence experienced by people with disability living in licensed boarding houses (Dec 2010)

On 3 December 2010, the Minister for Disability Services and Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) publically discredited People with Disability Australia’s (PWD) report on domestic violence in NSW licensed boarding houses, Accommodating Violence for its lack of legitimacy and evidence.

In response to this criticism, PWD set out a detailed and thorough statement reiterating some of the evidence which was used to inform the Accommodating Violence report.

This additional information can be found on the PWD website at

A news article covering the report and launch appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday 3 December. Click here to read the story “Boarding Houses Unsafe.” PWD followed up with a letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, which appeared on Monday 6 December. Click here to read “It’s a bit late to disown disability abuse report.”

PWD hopes this launch will draw attention to the findings and recommendations within the report, and spur the NSW government and other stakeholders to take action.

Click here to read the Accommodating Violence on PWD’s website.

For more information contact Sonya Price-Kelly, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

Return to contents

Launch - National Shut In Campaign

People with Disability Australia (PWD), National Council on Intellectual Disability (NCID), the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) and Reinforce Self Advocacy were proud to launch the national Shut In Campaign on 3 December, International Day of People with Disability.

Shut In is the national campaign to raise awareness about people with disability in institutions, to take action to close institutions and to advocate for housing and supports that enable people with disability to live in the community in the same way as everyone else.

The campaign also brings together information and resources, personal stories from people who have lived in institutions, State and Territory reports on advocacy actions and events and information about how to get involved in supporting the campaign.

The Shut In launch e-bulletin provided information about the campaign, who is involved, what the situation is in different States and Territories and how to get involved. 

Further information is available on the Shut In website at

Shut In Vodcasts

Alongside the launch of Shut In, PWD launched the first of the first of a series of Vodcasts calling for the closure of all institutions. The powerful Vodcasts are available at:

Each Vodcast features a different person talking about their experiences with institutions and why they support closure.

For more information about Shut In, contact Dean Price, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

Return to contents

NSW Government announces Stronger Together 2

People with Disability Australia (PWD) welcomed the announcement on Friday 3 December by the NSW Government that funding has been provided to enable all large residential centres to be closed by 2017 /18.

PWD has long advocated for real reform in the sector, which would ensure people with disability would no longer be housed in institutions, but would receive the supports they need to live and participate in the community.

There appears to be a firm commitment to eradicate this outmoded form of accommodation, with a significant amount of funds allocated to enable people to be moved into housing in the community.  The closure of the institutions must happen as quickly as possible, as people with disability must be supported to live in housing that is equal to that of everyone else in the community.  That is our right under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Click here to read the full Media Release from PWD.

Click here for more information on Stronger Together 2, at the Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) website.

Return to contents

Sexuality and Human Rights – PWD Training for Boarding House Residents

PWD recently completed a four week training program, which aimed to provide boarding house residents with the skills and knowledge to protect themselves from abuse and become more empowered in approaching issues around sex and sexuality. The Project, conducted through October –November 2010 in the Hunter Region, revealed both the extremely high prevalence of victims of abuse living in boarding houses and a real willingness and ability of residents (both victims and offenders) to learn and open up to safe practices and acceptable behaviours.

The Project consisted of a series of four workshops for residents of licensed boarding houses in the Hunter Region.

PWD worked closely with Dianne Sinclair (Procedure and Quality Coordinator, NSW Health), Michael Akhurst and Shannon Hill (Case Managers Ageing and Disability & Home Care (ADHC), Department of Human Services NSW) over the past year to clearly identify the lack of education and training programs for people living in licensed boarding houses in the Hunter Region around the issues of sexuality, privacy and human rights.

We were therefore very pleased to have the opportunity to conduct this training and were overwhelmed by the positive response of participants. The next stage of this project is to provide an education session to those people providing support to residents to ensure this message around human rights is reinforced.

It is our belief that providing residents with information about their rights is a fundamental step in working towards reducing the rates of abuse on Boarding Houses and other areas of congregate care. PWD hopes that we shall receive additional funds in the future in order to continue this valuable project.

Return to contents

Aboriginal Disability Network funded as NSW Peak Body

PWD congratulates the Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose, for announcing peak body funding for the Aboriginal Disability Network (ADN).  PWD has supported the development and advocacy of the ADN for several years, and has lobbied for NSW Government recognition of the ADN as a peak body during this time.

The upfront funding of $234,500 and further funding of $184,500 recurrently will allow ADN to continue to play the role of peak organisation, something it has been doing for a long time with minimal resources.

The endorsement of ADN as the new national peak organisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a disability is the result of feasibility projects and consultations with the Aboriginal community, families and carers, and the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).

Mr Primrose said that through Stronger Together – the NSW Government’s $5.5 billion 10-year plan to improve disability services – Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) has developed the Aboriginal Service Model to ensure the delivery of improved disability services and outcomes.

For more information contact Damian Griffis, Executive Director Aboriginal Disability Network (ADN) by email

Click here to read the full press release from ADHC.

Return to contents

Self-Directed Supports: A NSW Campaign that aims to give people control of their support and their life

In Control Australia and Family Advocacy launched this campaign on 3 December 2010.  Its focus is very much upon ensuring that the new supports promised in the Stronger Together 2 Policy in NSW are delivered in a fashion that provides true control for people with disability and for families of people with disability, over these supports.  PWD is directly involved through its membership of In Control Australia.

Four priorities for the campaign have been identified:

Priority 1: Providing all existing and new users of government and non-government disability services the opportunity to direct their own support.

We will be looking to ensure that:

·         people who want control over their resources have the opportunity at the earliest time;

·         individualised portable funding arrangements translate into choice, voice and control.

Priority 2: Providing decision making support that is independent of government and service providers.


We will be working to ensure that:

·         the ‘decision making resources’ are independent of government and service providers, able to be accessed easily and give the person with disability control.

Priority 3: Transition support for services

We will be working to ensure that:

·         the voices of people with disability and families are heard in the process of service transformation.

Priority 4: Administrative processes consistent with a self-directed approach.

We will be working to ensure that:

·         the Stronger Together goal of “choice, portability and flexibility in funding and supports” means that people have control over how the money is used;

·         government and service provider processes do not intrude into people’s lives; and

·         there is a minimum of bureaucracy and paperwork.

Meetings around these priorities have already taken place with Minister Primrose and the Shadow Minister Andrew Constance.  The campaign will greatly influence PWD’s NSW election lobbying around the delivery of disability services in NSW, in the new year.

What can you do?

Register your support

Find out more

Follow us on facebook

AND Join us in enabling people with disability and their families to have control of their support and their lives.

Return to contents

Other State and Territory News

QLD – PWD’s Mount Isa and Lower Gulf Communities Individual Advocacy Service

The set-up of the PWD’s newest office in Mount Isa is now complete, with advocates Dennis Willetts and Val Brown are well and truly established in their roles.

Val and Dennis have been conducting regular outreach trips throughout their region and are now working with clients in Doomadgee, Burketown, Karumba, Normanton, Boulia, Dajarra, Urandangi, Cloncurry and Camooweal.

Return to contents

QLD – Disability Advocate named QLD’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner

PWD congratulates our colleague in disability advocacy, Mr Kevin Cocks, who was named as the new QLD Anti-Discrimination Commissioner on 10 December 2010, International Human Rights Day.

"Kevin Cocks is a well-respected champion of human rights who brings a wealth of experience to the role of Anti-Discrimination Commissioner," said Attorney-General Cameron Dick.

"With his background at Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, he has broad knowledge of the human rights and disability landscape, both internationally and nationally, and received a Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Medal in 2005.

"Mr Cocks will now fulfil an important role in Queensland by protecting the principles of dignity and equality for everyone.

"The commissioner's duties include resolving complaints of discrimination, sexual harassment, public vilification and victimisation, and promoting human rights throughout Queensland."

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated is a state-wide legal advocacy organisation protecting the human rights and fundamental needs of vulnerable people with a disability in Queensland.

Mr Cocks, who has been appointed for four years, will take up his duties on 7 February 2011.

His appointment has been finalised along with several other appointments to the Queensland Law Reform Commission and the Queensland Law Society Council.

Click here to read the full Press Release from the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations

Return to contents

National news

‘1 in 5 Parliamentary Breakfast for Disability Inclusion in Australia’s International Development Program’

Along with other members of the Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC), PWD conducted the 1 in 5 Parliamentary Breakfast for Disability Inclusion in Australia’s International Development Program, held on Wednesday 17 November at the Parliament House private dining rooms, Canberra.

The event aimed to present to representatives working in disability and development with the reasons why Australia is a world leader in disability inclusive development, while also highlighting what else needs to be done to prioritise people with disability in the world’s poorest countries.

The breakfast was attended by a number of dignitaries, including the Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In his opening address, Mr.Rudd drew attention to the importance of Australia’s foreign aid and development programs. He acknowledged the efforts of many NGO’s in their efforts to ensure that people with disability are included in development programs and referred to the leadership Australia has demonstrated with the implementation of the’ Development For All: towards a disability-inclusive of Australian Aid Program 2009 to 2014’.

Other speakers at the event included Jack de Groot, Chief Executive Office of Caritas Australia and Vice President of the Australian Council for International Development; The Hon Teresa Gambaro MP, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance; Graeme Innes AM, Disability Discrimination Commissioner; Senator the Hon Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers; and Jim Stallard, Author with a lived experience of disability, and advocate for disability inclusive development.

Return to contents

Briefing of Foreign Diplomats on Australia’s Human Rights Record

On 16 November 2010, a number of prominent foreign diplomats heard from human rights advocates about a range of human rights issues in Australia, including the significant disadvantage and discrimination experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, mandatory immigration detention and the continuing inequalities faced by many groups, including people with disability, recently arrived migrants and gay and lesbian communities.

Included in the presentations was PWD Executive Director Therese Sands, who spoke of the need for Australia to take a much more proactive approach to achieving the rights of all citizens.

“Australia has placed human rights at the front and centre of its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council, so it is imperative that Australia takes a constructive and positive approach to scrutiny of our human rights record from the international community”, said Therese Sands from People with Disability Australia.

“Australia should use the review as an opportunity to make commitments and take action, to strengthen the legal and institutional protection of human rights and to enhance the realisation of human rights on the ground.”

The NGO briefing was co-hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission and chaired by the President, the Hon Catherine Branson QC.

The NGO briefing was part of the lobbying efforts for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which involves members of the UN Human Rights Council reviewing Australia’s human rights record.

Click here to read further information about the UPR, including a copy of the Australian Government’s report and the NGO Coalition’s report and fact sheets.

Return to contents

Australia Lodges First National Report to the UN Human Rights Council

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, announced on 4 November the lodgement of Australia’s National Report for the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review.

“The preparation of the National Report is an important part in our preparation for Australia’s appearance before the Human Rights Council in January 2011. It provides an overview of the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia, achievements and challenges, and key national priorities,” Mr McClelland said.

The Universal Periodic Review is a new process undertaken by the United Nations Human Rights Council to review the human rights records of all 192 Member States of the United Nations once every four years. The review will be based in part on information provided by Member States in the form of national reports.

Australia’s first appearance at the Universal Periodic Review will take place in Geneva on 27 January 2011.

For more information please visit:

Return to contents

Australia submits first CRPD report to United Nations

On 3 December 2010, Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas, announced the Government had presented Australia’s first report under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the United Nations.

Under the Disabilities Convention, Australia is required to periodically submit a report on measures taken to promote the rights and freedoms of those with a disability.

“The report outlines some of the major initiatives taken by the Australian Government to improve the lives of people with disability,” Senator McLucas said.

“In particular, the report acknowledges the key role the National Disability Strategy will play in helping Australia fulfil its obligations by establishing a framework to promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the Convention.”

The report also provides information on a range of measures taken by governments across Australia.

Steps taken by the Australian Government include:

      tabling of the Disability Access to Premises Standards which, from mid-2011, set national requirements for equal access to and use of public buildings for people with a disability;

      providing over $100 million in capital funds additional supported accommodation facilities for persons with disabilities;

      implementing significant reforms to the Disability Support Pension and other pensions, including improved indexation methodology to reflect the costs of living changes; and

      providing support for commercial cinemas to fast track audio description and captioning technology to improve cinema access for people who are deaf, blind, visually or hearing impaired.

The Report also notes work in progress, including the Government’s decision to commission an inquiry into a national long-term care and support scheme for persons with disabilities in Australia. The inquiry is being conducted by the Productivity Commission, which will report to Government in July 2011.

Click here to read the full press release from the Office of the Attorney-General.


Return to contents

NGO CRPD Shadow Report

The CRPD Shadow Report Project Group, comprising leading disability organisations, met in Sydney on 5 November 2010 to plan the next phase of preparing the CRPD Shadow Report. 

The Shadow Report will provide an NGO perspective on Australia's implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Project Group is being provided with significant pro bono support from DLA Phillips Fox and has undertaken consultations throughout Australia with the support of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). 

At the November meeting, Project Group members considered the first draft of the Shadow Report compiled by DLA Phillips Fox and agreed on a number of actions.  In preparing the second draft, each member of the Project Group will review designated chapters of the first draft, with a view to prioritising the issues under each article within an identified structure.  The aim is to complete a second draft of the report by 31 March 2011, with the Project Group reviewing this second draft by 16 May 2011.  

Project Group members will meet on 16 and 17 May 2011 in Sydney to finalise the second draft of the Shadow Report and incorporate recommendations under each article.  It is expected that the second draft will be finalised by 31 June 2011 to enable a further period of comment and feedback.

On 31 August 2011, the Project Group is expecting to endorse the final version of the Shadow Report, which will be circulated throughout Australia to be endorsed by individuals and organisations. The Shadow Report will then be submitted to the United Nations in October 2011.

The Australian Government submitted its report on CRPD implementation on 3 December 2010, and is unlikely to be reviewed by the UN CRPD Committee until 2012/13. 

Project Group on the Shadow Report on the CRPD:

      Joanna Shulman, Australian Disability Rights Network

      Fiona Given, Disability Discrimination Legal Centre

      Therese Sands, People with Disability Australia

      Kevin Cocks, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

      Lesley Hall, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

      Rosemary Kayess, Disability Studies and Research Centre

      Andrea Simmons, Disability Advocacy Network Australia

Return to contents

New Research Project: Housing assistance, social inclusion and people with a disability

A new research project, funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute and being undertaken by researchers from the University of Adelaide, has been set up to investigate the impact of housing assistance on social inclusion for persons with a disability.

The research includes a number of face-to-face interviews with people living with disability and focus groups with social housing providers and service providers in NSW, Victoria and SA.

You can find out more information on the project here:

If you are interested in participating please respond directly to: Selina Tually  phone (08) 8303 3289 or email or Pauline McLoughlin  phone (08) 8303 3277 or email

Return to contents

Closure of UNSW’s Disability Studies and Research Centre (DSRC)

In late November, PWD and a range of other organisations, were contacted by email to inform us that the Disability Studies and Research Centre (DSRC) at the University of NSW was closing.  This news was shocking and sudden, and came after a brief, internal review of the Centre’s viability had been conducted and signals the end of Australia’s only disability-specific research centre that was established to undertake study from a social model perspective.

PWD is understandably very upset by this news and our President, Jan Daisley, is in the process of drafting a letter to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts of UNSW, to express how disappointed we are with the closure and with the suddenness of the announcement.  PWD has been integral to the establishment of a research centre which strongly affirms and validates the perspectives of people with disability and from 2003 to 2006 hosted and financially supported the previous version of DSRC, the Disability Studies and Research Institute (DSaRI).  Current PWD staff have worked collegially with both centres to produce a number of research reports over the years and it was an oversight to ignore this contribution in the email that informed us of DSRC’s demise.

PWD now welcomes the opportunity to work with other research centres, such as Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), and the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS), on projects which are of importance to people with disability.  The organisation will, however, continue to look for opportunities to either establish a new centre which has at its core the values and principles of the social model, or seek to attract funds with which we can seed the development of research which adopts a very clear disability perspective.

Return to contents

New Research Project: Development of Self-Assessment instruments

PWD has been approached by a research academic to see if some of our members might be interested in being involved in the development of a new 'instrument' to record people's own ideas about aspects of disability.

The project is designed to develop and test a new self-report instrument, enabling people with disability to record their own ideas about participation in life areas of importance to them and environmental factors that promote or inhibit participation.

The draft instrument uses concepts and categories in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF, WHO 2001). It is hoped that a small number of people with disability will become involved in all stages of the research - commenting on drafts and wording, discussing and testing the instrument.

This research has emerged from a student’s Masters thesis and is timely because of the current discussion happening nationally about the development of a new service system (if the National Disability Insurance Scheme is successful).  Within any new arrangements there need to be mechanisms for assessing both eligibility and level of required support, in a way that promotes self-assessment.  PWD has also been critical of the narrow interpretation of eligibility using invalid terms, such as “serious and profound” disability and recommended the adoption of assessment frameworks such as the ICF in our submission to the Productivity Commission earlier this year.

If members are interested in being involved in this research, please contact Michael Bleasdale at or by telephone on (02) 9370 3100, as soon as possible.

Return to contents

Remembering Angus Downie and John Stott: Architects of accessible transport for Australia

On 1 December 2010, the Australian Human Rights Commission honoured the memory of Mr Angus Downie and Mr John Stott, who both passed away recently.

“Angus Downie and John Stott deserve a great share of the credit for the improvements in accessibility of public transport in Australia in recent years” said Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes.

In 1994, Angus Downie produced the landmark report, Target 2015 – A Vision for the Future: Access to transport in Australia for All Australians, for the federal Government’s Disability Advisory Council of Australia.

“As the chair of the Advisory Council at the time, I can say that Angus’ report was a superb piece of work, combining comprehensive research and effective advocacy," Commissioner Innes said. "It not only gave us a road map for the future, it started the cart rolling down the road to access for all of us.”

Mr Downie went on to serve as a disability expert in the development of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport under the Disability Discrimination Act and continued contributing to development of accessible transport for years beyond that.

John Stott led the taskforce which negotiated and wrote the Standards. Then, as head of Sydney Buses, he went on to put his own Standards into practice.

"John won instant respect from everyone involved in developing the Standards - for his fairness and decency, his clear thinking and strong leadership and his determination to achieve results for the public good" said Commissioner Innes. "John had a lasting commitment to accessible transport – in fact, this week the Commission will be launching a practical guide for accessible bus stop design which he produced for us."

Commissioner Innes noted that accessible public transport was not only essential for economic and social participation by people with disability, but was also of great benefit to an ageing population as well as people with small children.

“As we move into the future, all of us as a nation, and each of us as individuals, will have more and more reason to be thankful for the work of Angus Downie and John Stott and of the people who worked with them," Commissioner Innes said.

PWD would also like to pay our respects and tribute to these pioneers of the disability rights movement.

Return to contents

Australian Aid and People with Disability

The Government marked International Day for Persons with Disabilities with the release of its first report on AusAid's work overseas to improve the lives of people with disability.


Ten percent of the world's population - an estimated 650 million people - live with disability and 80 per cent live in developing countries, mostly in Asia and the Pacific region.


The report, entitled Development for All: Achievement Highlights, reveals early successes being made and comes two years after Australia launched its first disability strategy for the aid program.


Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said people with disability are benefiting from increased access to Australia's aid program, including through education and scholarship programs, more access to public infrastructure, and stronger disabled people's organisations.


Click here to read the full media release.


Development for All: Achievement Highlights is available at:


Return to contents

Call for Immigration Cases relating to people with disability applying for residency or refugee application acceptance

This call is distributed on behalf of the following organisations:


Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Canberra Multicultural Community Forum

Federation of Ethnic Community Councils

National Ethnic Disability Alliance

People with Disability Australia

Settlement Council of Australia


The above organisations met with Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen in mid-November 2010 to discuss the report and recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration Inquiry into migration with disability.


The meeting demonstrated that there is a window of opportunity to convince the Government to change the current process and parameters for assessing people with disability when applying for migration or refugee acceptance to Australia.


The organisations now need to present the Government with as many cases as possible – those that have been rejected on the basis of the applicant with disability and those with a member of the family with disability.


They also want to hear about the cases that you know about where the application has not yet been lodged, i.e. prior to rejection.


All cases require consent from the applicant.


The information can be sent to where the information is collated and passed on to the Minister’s office.


This call is open until 31 January 2011.


For any queries contact Sibylle at 0407 878 933.

Return to contents


Passengers 'left on planes and forced off flights' – Sydney Morning Herald

An article which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 18 November 2010, has highlighted the failure of airlines to meet a July deadline to submit plans on how to improve treatment of disabled passengers.

“The disability commissioner, Graeme Innes, says people have been left on planes for 45 minutes until cleaners have found them because staff have failed to assist them to disembark. Others have been lost in terminals or bumped at check-in because of limits on assistance dogs per flight,” the  article reported.

“Mr Innes blamed staff cutbacks and called for the government to step in and regulate to stop airlines ignoring the needs of disabled passengers.

Airlines were breaching the Disability Discrimination Act, Mr Innes said and called for tougher aviation safety laws.

''I don't think airlines are taking this stuff seriously enough. I think that the government needs to regulate .They have had 17 years to get this stuff right, but they are still not getting it right,'' he told the Herald.”

Click here for the full article at the Sydney Morning Herald website

Return to contents

Report: Access to Electronic Media for the Hearing and Vision Impaired

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes welcomed the release of the final report into Access to Electronic Media for the Hearing and Vision Impaired by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Conroy.


“I am delighted to see the release of this report and the Government’s commitment to implement all 22 of its recommendations,” said Commissioner Innes. “These recommendations give us a roadmap for improvements in access to electronic media over the next three years and I look forward to working with Government, industry and the community to implement them.”


The report sets out a number of actions, government will pursue in relation to improving access to TV, Cinema, DVD and internet downloads for people who are Deaf or have a hearing impairment and people who are blind or have low vision.


The Government recommendations include:

      A move towards 100% captioning on free to air TV between 6 am and 12 midnight by 2014

      Establishing captioning levels for subscription TV following further discussion

      Amending the Broadcasting Services Act to better address captioning for both free to air and subscription TV

      Strengthening the power of ACMA to investigate complaints

      Improving access to emergency service announcements

      Trailing audio description on the ABC

      Providing online information for consumers on access features of set-top boxes


The report is available at


Click here for the full Media Release from the Human Rights Commission.


Return to contents

International News

Former Australian Parliamentary Secretary for International Development to Join Disability Rights Fund as Ambassador

Former Australian Parliamentary Secretary for International Development, Bob McMullan, is joining the Disability Rights Fund in an ambassadorial role.


Mr McMullan, who spearheaded the development of Australia’s Development for All strategy, which explicitly includes persons with disabilities in Australia’s international development program, will support DRF to link development and governmental representatives to DRF grantees, furthering DPO visibility and inclusion.


“Mr McMullan’s decision to join DRF in this role underscores Australia’s commitment to inclusion of the 650 million people with disabilities around the world, particularly those in the developing world who live in situations of extreme poverty,”  stated DRF’s Director Diana Samarasan.


Click here to read the full press release.

Return to contents

Disability Rights Fund announces new grantees

On Human Rights Day, 10 December 2010, the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) announced funding decisions from its second 2010 funding round.


“A total of $1.3 million has been gifted to 66 disabled persons’ organisations in 11 countries,” said DRF Co-Chair, William Rowland, who is former President of the World Blind Union. With these latest grants, total giving of the Fund to organizations in the Global South and Eastern Europe since 2008 exceeds $4.7 million.


DRF supports the human rights advocacy of DPOs in the Global South and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union, utilising the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD). DRF grantees advance the rights of persons with disabilities at the country level.


This round of grants have been awarded to DPOs in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Ghana, Nicaragua, Peru, Uganda, and the Pacific Island countries of the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Grantees were selected after a competitive review process, which included a review by the DRF Steering Committee, a committee composed of donor representatives and people with disabilities from the Global South.


Click here for more information and the full list of grantees.


Return to contents

Recording Initiatives in Scotland

Colleagues of PWD in the south of Scotland have just launched their Christmas CD/DVD, ‘Christmas and Friendship’.


Produced at Cree Studio, all aspects of the short film production involved people with autism or learning disabilities who go to the Council's Activity & Resource Centre in Newton Stewart. The film features local families and scenes of Newton Stewart in addition to the work of the studio and recording in progress.


Initially funded by The People's Postcode Trust, the studio was opened in March this year by Galloway singer Mona Stewart. Since then it has expanded rapidly to include the wider community and now regularly involves seventeen young people and delivers music workshops for local schools, providing a recording base for professional musicians and learning opportunities for anyone who just wants to try making music or short films for the first time.


Councillor John Dougan, Chair of Social Work Services Committee, said: “This is a very special project run from the Council's Activity & Resource Centre to improve the lives of people with learning disability and to help them develop their creative film and music skills.”


The CD / DVD Christmas and Friendship is available to download from


For more information contact Beverley Bell on 0141 427 9425 or

Return to contents

The Inside Story

PWD Annual General Meeting

On Saturday 27 November 2010, the PWD Board conducted a very successful member’s event and AGM.  A large number of members and guests participated in both events and enjoyed refreshments afterwards.

At the AGM the members voted on a number of changes to the Constitution. 


These changes are:


Resolution 1:

It was resolved that the following (amended) Point (i) be added under Clause 23.1 of the Constitution:


(i) The President and any other Board member may only be absent for four consecutive months with Board approval.  At the end of the four-month continuous absence of the President an election is to be called. For a Board member the Board is free to co-opt into that vacancy if they wish.


Resolution 2:

It was resolved that the following new Clause (41.3) be inserted under Section 41 Elections of the Constitution:


41.3 Each year the Board shall appoint two (2) independent people to assist those who request assistance with their nomination and/or their voting forms.


Resolution 3:

That Clause 17.2, point (a) and (b) of the Constitution to be amended to read:


(a) will attend all Board meetings;

(b) will have the same rights as any elected Board member;

was defeated.


Resolution 4:

It was resolved that a new (amended) paragraph be added to Clause 8.5 of the Constitution that reads:


An employee of the Association shall not be eligible to nominate for the Board or President until a period of one year has lapsed since their employment ceased.


Resolution 5:

That a new (amended) sentence be added to clause 43.2 of the Constitution:


Once a Director has held office for two (2) consecutive terms, the Director will not be eligible to serve on the Board as Director or President for one year.

was defeated.

At the AGM, the Returning Officer announced the new Board members for 2011.


These are:


      Jan Daisley – President

      Joe Mannix – Treasurer

      Peter Cassar – interim Vice President

      Sheila King – interim Secretary

      Robert Manga – Director

      Irene McMinn – Director

      Willie Prince – Director

      Samantha French – Director

      Mary-Anne Bath – Director


After the AGM, the Board members met to discuss the Interim Executive that would be in place until the first Board meeting to be held in February 2011. 


As all Board members were not available after the AGM, it was decided conduct nominations and elections for the Interim Executive by email. However, the role of Treasurer was considered to be immediately required and to remain consistent throughout 2011.  Therefore the Board voted Joe Mannix as the PWD Treasurer for 2011. 


The outcome of the email election for the Interim Executive (Vice-President and Secretary) has now been completed and Peter Cassar has been elected Interim Vice-President and Sheila King has been elected Interim Secretary. 


We warmly welcome these members to the Board. 


Jan Daisley, President, People with Disability Australia

Return to contents

PWD Forum on Disability, Welfare and Employment

Journalist, presenter and radio personality Julie McCrossin brought her signature flair to MC PWD’s Forum on Disability, Welfare and Employment, which took place directly before PWD’s AGM on Saturday 27 November 2010.


Panel Members at the event were:

      Tim Littlejohn – IBM Australia

      Susan Colbert – CEO Australian network on disability (AND) formerly the Australian employers network on disability

      David Abello – Social Policy Researcher, University of New South Wales


The speakers discussed a number of issues, including proposed changes to the eligibility criteria for the Disability Support Pension, incentives and support systems we need that would enable more people with a disability to enjoy the benefits of a working life, and key concerns and opportunities. Discussion was lively and included significant audience input.


PWD again streamed the Member Event live over the internet, so again members who were unable to attend on the night were still able to watch the event and hear from all the speakers.


Everyone who attended the event received snacks and drinks and went into the draw to win a Lucky Door Prize, which we are now hoping to make a permanent fixture at our events. Congratulations to all those who won a prize!


Thank you for all members who attended the event, and the panellists for giving up their time to provide so much insight into these important issues.

– Daphnee Cook, Communications and Membership Development Manager

Return to contents

Farewell Sharon Lee and Rhonda Perkins

This month PWD farewelled Sharon Lee, former Information and Liaison Officer for CRRS and Hotline and Rhonda Perkins, who was filling in for Alan Grimsley as Manager of the PWD Fraser Coast office.


Sharon commenced her service with PWD in February 2009 as a Resolution and Referral Officer with the CRRS/Hotline. In September 2009, Sharon was appointed to the role of Information and Liaison Officer, CRRS/Hotline where she was instrumental in the establishment of the new Hotline and CRRS websites and finalisation of the Hotline ATSI brochure. In the period leading up to her resignation, Sharon was working with designers to revamp Hotline/CRRS promotional material and on alternative formats to make information about these services more accessible.


Sharon’s creativity, integrity and commitment to social justice will be missed by PWD. PWD wishes Sharon every success in the future.


PWD will regretfully lose Rhonda Perkins, who has been a wonderful asset to PWD in the absence of Alan Grimsley for the past six months. PWD would like to thank Rhonda for stepping into the role for this time and acknowledge the valuable contribution she has made to the organisation in a short period of time.

Return to contents

Welcome back Alan Grimsley

PWD welcomes back Alan to our Fraser Coast Office, after six months of leave, who returned to work on 1 December. Alan has been sailing around the Pacific, on an enviable voyage of discovery and exploration. We are very pleased to have him back in the office and look forward to hearing his stories!


Return to contents

Logan recruitment

Following Jenny Speed’s resignation, Tracey Moffatt has been in a temporary Advocate role working out of our Logan office. This week the Manager position will be advertised, with the aim to fill in a permanent capacity from mid-December.  Support for Cath Hall in our Sunshine Coast office will be provided by the Logan based Manager.

Return to contents

FaHCSIA Disability Services Act 1986 Audit

FaHCSIA conducted a Section 14K Disability Services Act (1986) audit in September which occurs every five years as a condition of our funding agreement for Individual Advocacy. On this occasion they audited four of our offices – Redfern, Sutherland, Sunshine Coast and the Fraser Coast.  A large amount of material demonstrating our compliance to the Standards was forwarded for a desk review that was completed before the on-site visits.

On 28 September they visited the Redfern office and conducted a range of interviews with advocacy staff, Board members and a selection of Individual Advocacy clients. They also audited client files. The audit included reviewing minutes from the last two Board and Executive meetings.   

On 29 September they visited the Sutherland office, but here only interviews with staff and clients occurred and client files were audited.

Audits were also conducted in Queensland at the Maryborough office on 17 September and the Sunshine Coast office on 20 September.

In October I received the audit report and was told each site had been found to be compliant with the Disability Services Standards and very positive comments were made about the feedback from PWD’s clients and observations about the quality of support provided to our clients. 

I want to congratulate and thank everyone involved directly and indirectly with the audits and acknowledge the fantastic work that happens across the team that is reflected in the outcome of the audit.

– Matthew Bowden, PWD Executive Director

Return to contents

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

Return to contents

PWD Media Releases

3 December 2010

      People with disability at risk of violence in licensed boarding houses

      Closure of Institutions – a reality or another broken promise?


Return to contents

Upcoming Events

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


Return to contents

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.

Return to contents

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.

Return to contents

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

Return to contents