PWD E-Bulletin

 

Issue 67 January-February 2011 - ISSN 2202-0705

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Contents

New South Wales News

Other State and Territory News

National News

International News

The Inside Story

PWD Media Releases

Conferences and Workshops

About PWD

Privacy Statement

Contact Us

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New South Wales News

Self-Directed Supports and Individualised Funding

As readers will know, PWD has been associated with In Control Australia for the past three years, and has been part of the events and submissions organised by that group in NSW and nationally.  We were heavily involved in the writing of In Control Australia’s submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into disability care and support, which was presented in August 2010.

Self-Directed Supports and Individualised Funding: NSW State Election

PWD is supporting the campaign by In Control NSW, led by Family Advocacy, to gain commitments from political leaders in the lead-up to the election for the implementation of self-directed supports to all those who wish it in NSW.  ADHC’s policy, Stronger Together 2 has made a commitment to make available individualised funding approaches from 2011/12, with all people in receipt of service funds able to have these individualised and portable by 2013-14.  A commitment to this aim, together with more detail about what choice individualised funding will deliver, needs to remain priorities for those of us lobbying for greater self-determination by people with disability in their personal supports.

The In Control campaign priorities are:

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; and

     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.

Currently In Control Australia is working to get a meeting with the Leader of the Opposition, Barry O’Farrell, to give him insight into what people with disability and families in NSW want and need.

They have asked that people with disability and families send emails to him, to recommend that he meet with representatives of In Control, and that he remains strongly committed to achieving this transformation of the disability service system.  In the email it is suggested that you:

     Start by thanking him for the Coalition commitment to funding for Stronger Together 2 and Mr O’Farrell’s commitment to a more personalised approach to service delivery.

     Tell him about your own circumstances, and the way in which current service provision restricts opportunities.

     Tell him what you might do if you had control over the resources allocated for your supports.

     Finish by letting him know that people will need help with information, planning, advocacy and support coordination in order to enjoy the benefits of personalised self-directed support and that it is critical that the assistance is independent of government and service providers.

Contact Barry O’Farrell: lop@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Leader of the Opposition
Parliament House
Macquarie Street SYDNEY NSW 2000

If you want assistance in writing to Barry O’Farrell, email belinda@family-advocacy.com. Belinda has asked that you keep her informed of any responses from the Leader of the Opposition.

The PWD contact for this is Michael Bleasdale on michaelb@pwd.org.au

Self-Directed Supports and Individualised Funding: In Control Australia Sydney Event

Topic: Self-Directed Support: making it work
Date: Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 May
Time: 10am to 5pm
Venue: Ryde-Eastwood RSL

Confirmed keynote speaker at this stage is Steve Dowson from the UK, who has almost two decades of international experience of the implementation of self-directed supports for people with disability.

The event ‘Self-Directed Supports: making it work’, will be an opportunity for people with disability, families, advocacy groups, service providers and administrators to discuss how the promise of self-directed supports and individualised funding can be practically achieved.

The event will be structured as a dialogue amongst the various parties who will be impacted by the option to have support funds allocated to individuals, including people with disability, carers, advocates and peak body representatives, service providers and administrators. 

Much of the focus to date has been upon how current disability service providers will need to adapt and change, to meet the demands that a user-led system will place on them.  A successful new system will need all participants to learn new skills and develop confidence in dealing with each other in new ways.  A good many questions and uncertainties remain for all and this event is designed to directly address these concerns and to aim toward practical solutions, through discussion and the presentation of successful evidence from other jurisdictions.

The two-day event will feature speakers from overseas and across Australia, where individualised arrangements have been successfully applied.  The focus will be on identifying the detail of the arrangements and applying this to solving some of the real and perceived problems that have been raised to date with the broader application of self-directed supports to people with disability.  A variety of topics will be discussed in structured workshop sessions, including:

     Decision-making and choice: assisting individuals to take control of their lives;

     Understanding choice within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability;

     Housing and accommodation;

     Guardianship and self-directed supports;

     Purchasing goods and services outside of the specialist disability service sector;

     Assessing for eligibility, and to identify required resources;

     Person-centred planning; and

     Circles of support.

Cost of attendance will be minimal for people with disability and carers of people with disability, to ensure maximum participation by those people who will be affected by the changes foreshadowed in Stronger Together 2 and the Productivity Commission’s Interim Report on disability care and support.

If you are interested in taking part in this event, either as an audience member or as someone who has something to contribute as a speaker or a panel member, please contact Michael Bleasdale on michaelb@pwd.org.au

The final and confirmed dates, venues and further details will be made available shortly, through this publication, but also on the In Control Australia website at www.in-control.org.au and through email bulletins from various networks and agencies.

Progress for Licensed Boarding Houses in NSW

In 2010 the Youth and Community Services Regulation for all licensed boarding houses accommodating people with disability came into force. To assist Licensees, Licensed Managers and staff of licensed boarding houses in understanding and interpreting the new Regulation, the Department of Ageing, Disability and Homecare (ADHC) has developed a Licensed Residential Centres Compliance Practice Guide.  This Compliance Practice Guide is now available via ADHC’s Website – click here to read a copy.

PWD welcomes the release of this important document as it not only provides guidance for the application of the Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010 to operators of licensed boarding houses but will also greatly assist service providers and others involved in supporting people with disability living in this sector. The need for clarification and interpretation of requirements expected from licensed boarding houses has been a key lobby point for PWD for some time.

Importantly these Guidelines also clarify the guidelines and practice approach Licensees, Licensed Managers and staff of licensed boarding houses should use to address issues of abuse, referring them to the ADHC Abuse and Neglect Policy and Procedure; the ADHC Behaviour Support Policy; and Interagency Protocol for responding to Abuse of Older People as a minimum standard of practice around responding to abuse and neglect issues.

The lack of policy and practice guidelines for licensed boarding houses around domestic violence and abuse generally, was a critical issue and key advocacy component of PWD’s 2009/2010 Disability and Domestic Violence Project and associated report ‘Accommodating Violence’ published last year. Clarification that licensed boarding houses should refer and use these existing policies for guidance on preventing and responding to abuse and neglect issues addresses the void in policy in this area for the first time.

ADHC have also made a commitment to produce this guide in Easy English and formats accessible by people with disability living in licensed boarding houses in the near future.

Click here for more information about the Disability and Domestic Violence Project.

For more information contact Sonya Price-Kelly, PWD’s Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email at sonyapk@pwd.org.au

Disability Discrimination Legal Centre (DDLC) Conference: Creating equal rights for people with a disability – a push for an Equality Bill encompassing Anti-Vilification protection for people with disability.

In October 2010, Commonwealth Attorney-General Robert McClelland, announced that he would be putting out an Equality Bill, which will merge all Commonwealth discrimination legislations into a single Act.  This was one of the commitments made in the National Human Rights Framework.

DDLC want to ensure that people with disability are adequately protected by the new legislation as well as ensuring it encompasses protection for people with disability against vilification. Currently, people with disability are not protected against vilification.

Vilification is complex and has varying definitions in both Commonwealth and State and Territory legislation. However, the general definition of vilification is conduct that incites hatred towards and/or serious contempt of others on a particular ground.

Speakers at the conference include Dr Mark Sherry (Ohio, USA), Australian Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes and more.
Click here to download a Conference flyer

The conference will take place on 18 April 2011 at UTS Aerial Function Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.  Aerial UTS is approximately 30 minutes generous vehicular travelling distance from Sydney Airport and 10 minutes’ walk from Central Train Station. The venue is also well serviced by bus routes on nearby Parramatta Road.

If you are an individual attending NOT on behalf of an organisation, the cost is AUD $50.00. If you are attending ON behalf of an organisation or company, the cost is AUD $100.00.

For more information contact Fiona Given, Policy Officer  at DDLC on  fgiven@ddlcnsw.org.au or fax (02) 9310 7788 or
click here to visit the DDLC webpage ‘Equal-rights-for-people-with-a-disability 

Free smoke alarms for people with hearing impairments

The NSW Government announced on Tuesday 22 February, they are committing $2 million to provide free smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose, said the scheme would provide financial support to purchase specialised smoke alarms which use flashing lights or vibrating under pillow pads to supplement the standard sound of an alarm.

Mr Primrose said that specialised smoke alarms for people who are deaf or hard of hearing would usually cost between $400 and $650.

Mr Primrose said that the scheme was in response to a joint proposal developed by the Deaf Society of NSW and Fire and Rescue NSW and was part of a series of cost-of-living initiatives recently announced by the Premier, Kristina Keneally.

“The $2 million cost of the scheme will be spread over three years and will enable an estimated 3,500 households to benefit from the scheme,” he said.

“The free smoke alarms scheme will be administered by the Deaf Society of NSW.”

Click here to read the full press release

2011 Mardi Gras

PWD members, staff and supporters marched together with the slogan “Sexual Rights Now!” to promote the sexual rights or Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (GLBTI) people with disability in the 2011 Mardi Gras, held on Saturday 5 March.

It was a fantastic opportunity for PWD to speak out about injustice and inequality and the fact that the gender and sexuality of people with disability is so very often ignored or rendered invisible.

The theme of this year’s parade was “Say Something” and PWD said, shouted and sang for the rights of all people with disability.

We had about 40 people participating in the PWD entry, which included a contingent from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (formally the Spastic Centre) and members of Touching Base (an organisation that works on improving access to the sex industry for people with disability).

PWD’s entry took the form of two convertibles decked out in blue and silver, and a rolling/walking/dancing group of people in PWD T-shirts and glittery blue cowboy hats. It truly was a memorable occasion.

Thanks to everyone who participated and those who assisted with buying craft supplies, designing and ordering banners and t-shirts, writing slogans, painting placards, sticking sequins onto hats, driving cars and just generally being supportive.

To see photos from the event, click here to visit our Facebook album.

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Other State and Territory News

Queensland: PWD Launches new advocacy service in Mount Isa

PWD officially launched the PWD Mount Isa and Lower Gulf Communities Individual Advocacy Service on 24 February 2011. The service will provide short to medium term, non-legal, issue-based advocacy support to people with disability who have serious and urgent issues.

The service was officially launched at the Mount Isa Civic Centre by the Hon. Betty Kiernan MP, Queensland State Member of Parliament for Mount Isa. PWD President Ms Jan Daisley, Secretary Peter Cassar and Executive Director Matthew Bowden were also present at the launch, along with the PWD Mt Isa staff, Valerie Brown (Manager, Individual and Group Advocacy) and Dennis Willetts (Advocate).

The PWD advocates based in Mount Isa will provide individual advocacy to rural and remote communities including Mount Isa, Boulia, Doomadgee, Burketown, Gregory, Kajabbi, Dajarra, Urandangi, Normanton, Karumba, Cloncurry and Camooweal. The work will include regular visits to people with disability who are accessing specialist disability services and people living in nursing homes. The advocates will be outreaching support to people with disability who are homeless and people in police custody.  An important part of the role is relationship building with Aboriginal elders and community leaders.

The PWD Mount Isa and Lower Gulf Communities Individual Advocacy Service is funded under the Australian Government’s National Disability Advocacy Program, which is administered by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).  FaHCSIA  provides over $16 million to help people with disability to overcome barriers which impact on their daily life and participate fully in the community.

The PWD Mount Isa office is located at Unit 3/24 West Street, Mount Isa. People wishing to request advocacy support from PWD can do so by ringing the free call number: 1800 422 015.

Click here to read the full PWD Media Release from the Launch.

Queensland: Disability taskforce for Queensland flood recovery

Following on from her announcement of a business taskforce, Prime Minister Gillard announced on Thursday 3 February 2011, she had appointed a 30-member taskforce to aid the recovery of flood-ravaged Queensland. Its members would be people with disability.

"Their intimate and common-sense experience of living well within a context of high vulnerability, limits and dependence, is exactly that experience which Queensland and the nation needs right now", said Ms Gillard.

"The goldmine of disability experience can pay high social dividends indeed. For example, we will rebuild these 28,000 destroyed homes" she said. "In doing so we will take nature's lessons as to where to build and where not to. We will think of better ways to protect ourselves from future floods. But most of all, sustainable building will also mean homes that are designed to support people over their lifetimes. Regardless of disability or ageing. Having this many homes to rebuild is a golden opportunity to start implementing our 2020 target for all new housing in Australia to have universal design access. This will be good for all Australians. Let a lotus flower grow in the mud of this disaster."

For more information on the announcement, click here to read the story on ABC’s Ramp Up website.

Adelaide: Online survey of visitors to Adelaide with limited mobility and other impairments

Disability Consultancy Services (DCS) has been contracted by the Adelaide City Council to update their Adelaide Access Guide. They are now asking for help in completing a short online survey of visitor information needs. Even if you are not planning on visiting Adelaide, DCS would like to hear about your needs in relation to any city you might visit. The survey should take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.

The survey can be found at:
https://mypatch.wufoo.com/forms/visitor-information-interstate-travellers/  

People living with disability are life experts on the topic of access and mobility which is why DCS want to involve you in gathering information for the guide. 

The updated guide will provide user friendly information about the city for visitors with limited mobility and other impairments. It will include information on transport, services and facilities, places of interest and events. User-friendly maps of the Adelaide area, complete with easy to follow references will also be included.

If you want to use alternative methods of participating, DCS are happy to get feedback via telephone, post or National Relay Service. Contact Marty Cielens at Disability Consultancy Services on (0427) 829-730 or email cielens@designplanet.com.au to discuss options.

Note - The current version of the Access Adelaide Guide can be viewed online at www.cityofadelaide.com.au/get-around/disability-access.html

ACT: The Radiance Dance Project 2011

The Radiance Dance Project is a 40 week inclusive community arts project open to women with and without disabilities in the ACT region using the mediums of creative dance and movement theatre and culminating in two public performances. It is an annual project offered each year since 2005 by independent community arts worker Morgan Jai-Morincome with co-facilitator Min Mae and funded in 2011 through ArtsACT.

The project values difference as a rich source of creative material and promotes a broad definition of dance accessible to all people. No specific skills, abilities or experience are required to participate. It is an opportunity for women from diverse backgrounds to come together and create, collaborate and connect.

Participants in general range in age from 20's through to 60's. They come from diverse backgrounds experiencing a wide range of disability types and no identified disability at all. Participants are in employment, unemployed, retired and attend because they want to experience the wealth of benefits this project offers individuals and community.

Radiance is an award winning community arts education program for adults unique to Canberra and continues to be a leading example of social inclusion through the arts.

When: Wednesdays 10am-12.30pm
Starts Wednesday 7 February for 40 weeks (excluding ACT school holidays)
Where: Majura Community Centre Hall, Rosevear Place, Dickson
Cost: Free (support worker/ carer and transport costs need to be met by participants using these services). Participant places are subsidised by project funding. There may be some small costs associated with clothing for performance.

Enrolment is essential as places are limited.

For more information, please contact Morgan Jai-Morincome
Tel: 62951601 or 0400 455 965
Email: enquiry@expressivearts.com.au

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National news

Universal Periodic Review – Results and Recommendations

Australia appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (HRC) Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 27 January 2011.

The Universal Periodic Review is a 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. This is the first time Australia has been reviewed by a HRC Working Group, which is made up of HRC members.

For the UPR, reports were prepared by the Australian Government, the Australian Human Rights Commission and an NGO Working Group. 

PWD is on the NGO working group that prepared the NGO report to the UN for its review of Australia.  We also participated in lobbying activities prior to the UPR, such as developing lobbying sheets on key issues for people with disability and presenting these issues to representatives of foreign missions in Canberra.  The key issues for people with disability included throughout the NGO UPR report include:

     Domestic incorporation of human rights treaties including the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) through a national Human Rights Act;

     The establishment of a national Children’s Commissioner to oversee implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and CRPD rights relating to children;

     The legislative prohibition of non-therapeutic sterilisation of children, regardless of disability, unless there is a significant threat to life or health; and the prohibition of non-therapeutic sterilisation of women with disability without full and informed consent, unless there is a significant threat to life or health;

     Measures to ensure that people with disability can make an independent, secret ballot and participate fully in electoral processes; and

     Removal of the exemption of the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to the Migration Act 1958.

Over the course of the review a number of countries requested further information about the forced sterilisation of children and women with disability in Australia. PWD collaborated with Women with Disabilities Australia to provide this information to the NGO delegation.

Members of the Human Rights Council made a number of recommendations to Australia that addressed many of PWD’s issues including:

     Comply with the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women concerning the sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities (Denmark); Enact national legislation prohibiting the use of non-therapeutic sterilisation of children, regardless of whether they have a disability and of adults with disability without their informed and free consent (United Kingdom); Repeal all legal provisions allowing sterilisation of persons with disabilities without their consent and for non-therapeutic reasons (Belgium); Abolish non-therapeutic sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities (Germany);

     Continue its laudable measures to address the plight of persons with disabilities, in particular through pursuance of the draft National Disability Strategy and share its experience in this regard (Botswana);

     Complete as soon as possible a general framework of measures to ensure equality of chances for people with disabilities (Republic of Moldova);

     Enact comprehensive legislation which prohibits discrimination on all grounds to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights by every member of society (South Africa);

     Strengthen the federal legislation to combat discrimination and ensure an effective implementation with a view to a better protection of the rights of vulnerable persons, in particular children, persons in detention and persons with disabilities (Morocco); and

     Take firm measures to end discrimination and violence against women, children and people from vulnerable groups so as to enhance a better respect for their dignity and human rights (Viet Nam).

Click here to read all the Human Rights Council recommendations, grouped by theme

Click here to learn more about PWD’s participation in the NGO Working Group.

The Australian NGO delegation has prepared a summary of the proceedings. Click here to read this summary. They have provided an update on each of the thematic areas identified by the NGO working group.  PWD will continue to advocate for the UPR recommendations to be implemented.

For more information contact Therese Sands, Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email thereses@pwd.org.au

Full-time Commissioners set to boost efforts to overcome discrimination

PWD welcomed the announcement on the Thursday 27 January that Australia will soon have a full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner and a full-time Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

A press release issued by the Australian Human Rights Commission said that having two full-time Commissioners would enable the Commission to focus more comprehensively on protecting the rights of Australians who experience discrimination on the grounds of race or disability.

Commission President, Catherine Branson QC said the importance of having these Commissioners on a full-time basis was illustrated by the facts that about 50 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have one parent born overseas and 21 per cent of Australians have disability.

“Current Disability and Race Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, has done an excellent job leading the Commission's work in both of these areas with his work developing coordinated responses to the threats posed by cyber racism and his efforts in developing the National Dialogue on Universal Housing Design – Strategic Plan, being among his most significant recent achievements," Ms Branson said. 

The new Commissioners are expected to take up their posts with the Australian Human Rights Commission early in the new financial year.

Commissioner Innes will continue in his role as both Race and Disability Discrimination Commissioner until he steps into the Disability Discrimination Commissioner role on a full-time basis. Commissioner Broderick will continue as Commissioner responsible for Age Discrimination until the appointment of the Age Discrimination Commissioner. 

Click here for more information and to read the full Press Release from the Human Rights Commission.

Update: National Disability Insurance Scheme 

The campaign for a NDIS is gaining momentum and its strategic direction is being led by the employment of a National Campaign Director, John Della Bosca and also several State Coordinators. 

This is a well organised and well-resourced campaign outfit.  PWD has met with the NSW State Coordinator, Daniel Kyriacou, who has expressed commitment to grassroots organising and inclusion of people with disability at the heart of the campaign.  The ultimate aim is to secure guaranteed funding for disability supports across Australia through some kind of insurance levy.

The website of NDIS is at www.ndis.org.au The current campaign, “Every Australian Counts” highlights the relative disadvantage experienced by people with disability.  PWD has expressed some concern over the way some of the issues and imagery is portrayed and will endeavour to provide constructive input into the campaign to ensure that the message of relative disadvantage and barriers remains, but the notions of individual lack and burden are removed.

For more information, contact Michael Bleasdale, Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email michaelb@pwd.org.au

Update: Productivity Commission inquiry into disability care and support

The draft report from the Productivity Commission inquiry was released on 28 February 2011.  The Productivity Commission is calling for submissions about the draft report by the end of April 2011.

This is a substantial report, reflective of the 603 submissions that the Commission received on this topic.  PWD is undertaking initial analysis of the report and we will provide further information about the report shortly. 

We are also working with the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and the Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) to hold a meeting in Canberra on 9 March 2011 to discuss the views and response from disability representative and advocacy organisations.

The final report from the Productivity Commission is due out at the beginning of July 2011 and PWD will continue to assist members to participate in consultations and submission writing as required.  More information will be provided shortly.

For more information about the Inquiry, go to the disability sector website or to the Productivity Commission website.

For more information contact Michael Bleasdale, Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email michaelb@pwd.org.au

Australia Day Honours

PWD was very pleased to see a number of prominent disability rights advocates receive Australia Day Honours on Tuesday 25 January 2011.

Uncle Lester Bostock, Chair of the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and First People’s Disability Network Australia, and life member of PWD was awarded an Order of Australia. His award recognises a lifetime of achievement as a pioneer of Aboriginal media in Australia as well as in more recent times as an advocate for the human rights of Aboriginal people with disability.

PWD Board Director Joe Mannix received the honour of being awarded an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to the community through advocacy roles with a range of disability and social welfare organisations

PWD would also like to congratulate Helen Campbell, who won a Medal (OAM) in the General Division for service to the law and to the community of Redfern. Helen has been PWD’s returning officer for many years and has a longstanding commitment to community issues and social justice.  Currently she is CEO at Womens’ Legal Service NSW.

Senior Australian of the Year 2011 was very appropriately awarded to Professor Ron McCallum, the first totally blind person to have been appointed to a full professorship at an Australian university.

Professor McCallum was the foundation Professor in Industrial Law at the University of Sydney and from 2002 he served five years as Dean of Law. He has fervently pursued equal rights for working people across the globe and was the inaugural President of the Australian Labour Law Association from 2001 to 2009. He is currently Chair of Radio for the Print Handicapped of New South Wales Co-operative. The organisation operates radio 2RPH, which reads out newspapers and magazines over the air for blind and other people who have difficulty reading print. He is also one of two Deputy Chairs of Vision Australia and one of twelve members of the first monitoring committee for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He was appointed inaugural Rapporteur of this committee and is now the Chair. Ron has also recently been appointed to the Federal Government’s National People with Disabilities and Carers Council.

PWD congratulates the tireless work of these individuals and their ongoing commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of people with disability.

ACOSS 2011 National Conference – Funds available for people with disability to attend

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) 2011 National Conference ‘Building a fair Australia in tough economic times’ is taking place this year from 29–30 March 2011 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The ACOSS Conference is the pre-eminent welfare sector conference, bringing together national and state organisations providing services relevant to improving disability specific services and improving the accessibility and responsiveness of generic community services. The ACOSS Conference will address both areas through its diverse program.

Elements of the conference program will be focused exclusively on disability specific issues, such as reform of the Commonwealth-State/Territory Disability Agreement to make it a strategic planning tool.

PWD Executive Director Michael Bleasdale will join other representatives from organisations all over the country to present information and lead discussion around these topics.

ACOSS has secured funding through the FaHCSIA National Disability Conference Funding Program to support people with disability to attend the National Conference. Subsidies are being offered to assist in areas such as:

     travel

     interpreter services

     provision of conference information in accessible formats

     disability support workers

ACOSS invites your application which is to be submitted by 14 March 2011. To get an application form or learn more about the funding, please contact ACOSS on telephone 02 9310 6200 or fax 02 9310 4822 or email conference@acoss.org.au

ACOSS will notify you after 19 March of what assistance they can offer.

PWD join wide public backlash to Business Council’s attack on the DSP

PWD was dismayed by calls from the Business Council of Australia’s President Graham Bradley on 14 February 2011 for a reduction to the budget allocated to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and called on the Council to rethink its approach to getting people with disability into the workforce.

PWD joined ACOSS and other disability rights advocates, including Senior Australian of the Year Ron McCallum, to condemn the statements made on ABC Radio’s AM Program.

PWD was interviewed by ABC Radio to speak on behalf of the organisation about our very strong views on the statements.

Click here to read PWD’s Media Release in response to the comments.

Click here to read the ACOSS Media Release.

Click here to read the original comments made by the BCA President.

Click here to read the follow-up statement from the BCA.

National Shut In Campaign launch

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 www.shutin.org.au

For more information about Shut In, contact Daphnee Cook on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email daphneec@pwd.org.au

Launch of the Shut In Vodcasts

Alongside the launch of Shut In, PWD launched the first of a series of Vodcasts calling for the closure of all institutions.

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

The powerful Vodcasts are available at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ShutInAustralia 

More vodcasts will be released throughout March.

Australia represented at UN Commission on the Status of Women

On 19 January 2011, Elaine Butler, Christina Ryan and Jahna Cedar were chosen to represent the Australian community at this year’s United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Ms Butler has been a member of Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE), a group that provides advocacy on behalf of women to decision makers in educational institutions.

“Ms Butler’s work as an educator, researcher and advocate will allow her to make an excellent contribution to the Commission’s theme this year; Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work,” Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, said in a press release.

Ms Ryan is the general manager of Advocacy for Inclusion, a community organisation which advocates for the rights of people with disability in the ACT region, as well as a member of Women with Disabilities Australia.

In acknowledging the high calibre of applications from Indigenous women, the Australian Government’s Indigenous Leadership Program chose to support Ms Cedar’s participation as an Advanced Leadership Opportunity.

Ms Cedar is a 26-year-old Indigenous woman and mother of two who lives in South Hedland, Western Australia, where she runs a consultancy business which provides human resources advice and training.

This year’s session, the Commission’s 55th meeting, took place from 22 February 22 to 4 March.

PWD congratulates Christina Ryan for her significant lobbying efforts to ensure the issues and concerns of women with disabilities were included in proceedings.

Click here for more information and the full media release.

National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Children

PWD was pleased to see Minister for the Status of Women Kate Ellis and Attorney General Robert McClelland announce on 15 February, the endorsement of Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022.

The National Plan is a single unified strategy that brings together government efforts to reduce violence against women. The National Plan is the first of its kind to focus so strongly on prevention, including building respectful relationships amongst young people and working to increase gender equality to stop violence from occurring in the first place.

Women with disability are mentioned broadly in the context of the Plan and also specifically in a note on Social Inclusion.

Key actions under the National Plan include:

     Supporting local community action to reduce violence against women;

     Commitment to support the inclusion of respectful relationships education in phase three of the Australian Curriculum;

     Provision of telephone support for frontline workers such as allied health, child care and paramedics to better assist clients who have experienced violence;

     New programs to stop perpetrators committing acts of violence and national standards for perpetrator programs;

     Establishing a national Centre of Excellence to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies to reduce violence against women;

     A Personal Safety Survey and National Community Attitudes Survey to track the impact of the new action plans every four years;

     Encouraging young people to develop healthy and respectful relationships through the continuation of ‘The Line’ campaign and respectful relationships program; and

     The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the impact of Commonwealth laws on those experiencing family violence.

Click here to read the full plan.

Click here to read the full Media Release from the office of Kate Ellis MP.

PWD joins Human Rights Commission welcoming National Disability Strategy

PWD joins the Australian Human Rights Commission in welcoming the endorsement of a National Disability Strategy by the Council of Australian Governments.

In a Media Release issued by the Commission, Federal Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes said, “In adopting this Strategy, Australia’s governments – Commonwealth, State and Territory, and local – have acknowledged that people with disability in Australia are too often denied their basic human rights and the chance to live their life to its full potential – they are too often discriminated against, shut out and isolated.”

Commissioner Innes said Australia’s governments had now committed to changing this.

“I applaud our leaders for making this commitment,” Commissioner Innes said. “It is a commitment made in international law through the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

Click here to learn more about the National Disability Strategy.

Click here to read the full Media Release from the Human Rights Commission.

CROC Reporting – Voices of children with disability

Are you under 18? Want to have your say about children and young people's rights in Australia? Then the Children’s and Youth Law Centre want to hear from you!

Non-Government Organisations who work with children and young people in Australia currently have the opportunity to report to the United Nations on whether Australia is meeting its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC), which it ratified in 1990.

PWD is a member of the Child Rights Taskforce, a coalition of organisations committed to the development of child rights in Australia.  The Taskforce is engaged in the preparation of an NGO Report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Taskforce is jointly convened by UNICEF Australia and the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre (NCYLC) and a Steering Committee has been established for the reporting process.

There is now an online survey to allow children and young people up to the age of 18 to have their say on a range of issues that are covered by CROC. As an added incentive for kids to complete the survey, NCYLC are offering a 32GB iPod Touch to one of the lucky survey participants.

To access the survey, please click here www.surveymonkey.com/s/childrights   

Click here to learn more about CROC and children’s rights.

Members Sought for Preventative Health Advisory Council

Individuals with expertise in preventive health have been invited by the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, to express their interest in joining a new national advisory council to tackle chronic disease.

“Keeping people healthy and out of hospital is a key focus for the Gillard Government and we want to bring together the best expertise in the country to tackle chronic disease”, said Ms Roxon in a Media Release issued by the department.

The Agency which began on 1 January of this year, is an independent statutory authority created to lead the fight against preventable diseases through preventive health initiatives targeting obesity, along with alcohol, tobacco and other substance abuse.

The Advisory Council will consist of one member from the Australian Government, one or two members from state and territory governments, and between five and eight non-government experts. Members will be appointed by the Minister, in consultation with the Australian Health Ministers Conference.

For more information, click here to visit the Department of Health and Ageing- Preventive Health Advisory Council.

PWD’s Daily Media Roundup now available online

PWD compiles and releases a Daily Media Roundup each weekday. This Roundup comprises of news stories that come online over a 24 hour period that discuss disability-related issues, as well as broader social justice issues such as homelessness, discrimination and human rights.

The Daily Media Roundup is a simple means to stay on top of issues being discussed in the media which might be relevant to disability activists and people with disability in general.

Click here to access the Roundup.

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International News

Vale Andy Lynch - a great loss to the Pacific

PWD Australia mourns the loss of a strong and influential advocate for the rights of people with disability in Vanuatu and the Pacific.  Andonia Piau-Lynch, known to all as Andy, was national coordinator of Disability Promotion and Advocacy Vanuatu (DPA) and she worked tirelessly and passionately with DPA members to ensure the rights of people with disability were respected, protected and fulfilled.

PWD sends our deepest condolences to Andy’s husband, John and her children and all her family, friends, to all DPA members and supporters and to the broader Pacific Disability Forum members, friends and supporters.  You can read more about Andy’s significant advocacy here.

     Influential disability rights advocator dies

     Pacific campaigner Andy Piau-Lynch death

Sterilisation of women with disability – debate in the UK

A judge in the UK has ruled that a court has not been presented with enough evidence to decide whether a 21-year-old pregnant woman with disability should not be forcibly sterilised to stop her having any more children.

Had the UK Court of Protection given the go-ahead, the operation would have been carried out at the same time as her child was delivered by Caesarean section on 16 February 2011.

The judge said he shared the anxiety of P's mother, but concluded that the evidence "does not permit the determination" of the issues. A preliminary hearing will now be heard in April

Read more:

     Court to rule on bid to sterilise woman with learning difficulties

     Mother's legal plea to sterilise her daughter remains unresolved

PWD will monitor this debate to ensure that any decision complies with the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).  

Disability Rights Fund Releases 2011 Request for Proposals

The Disability Rights Fund (DRF), a grantmaking collaborative between donors and the global disability community which supports the human rights of persons with disability, has just announced its first 2011 grants round, “Securing Rights.”

Grantmaking in this round will be targeted to disabled persons’ organisations (DPOs) in four countries where DRF is currently working, Indonesia, Mexico, Ukraine and selected states in India, as well as one new country, Lebanon.

The broad objective of the Fund is to empower DPOs in the developing world and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union to participate in ratification, implementation and monitoring of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD).

Interested organisations are urged to review the full eligibility criteria and application details posted at the Fund’s website www.disabilityrightsfund.org/grantmaking  

Any questions on the proposal process should be directed to info@disabilityrightsfund.org

The deadline for applications is 24 March 2011.

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The Inside Story

From the President

“Here we are well into February, and I think it’s time I informed everyone about the makeup of the 2011 Board of Directors.

Sheila King and Willie Prince from Queensland , Mary-Anne Bath from Western Australia; Samantha French, Irene McMinn, Peter Cassar, Joe Mannix and Robert Manga, all from Sydney NSW. We have co-opted Craig Wallace from Canberra in the ACT.

At our first Board meeting on 5 February, Robert Manga was elected Vice-President, Peter Cassar was elected Secretary and Public Officer, and Joe Mannix was elected to the position of Treasurer following our AGM last November.

The above Directors will be working as a team in what will be a very busy year, with many exciting things taking place, including our 30th anniversary celebrations later this year.

I would also like to congratulate three Australia Day Honours recipients on their wonderful achievements and longstanding support of PWD - they are Helen Campbell, Lester Bostock, and Joe Mannix. On behalf of the Board of Directors, Staff and Members of PWD, I wish them every success in their future endeavours

Finally, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to the recent announcement that Australia will soon have a full-time Race Discrimination Commissioner and a full-time Disability Discrimination Commissioner. This is wonderful news, and means that after years of having Acting Commissioners and Commissioners with dual roles, we now have a position dedicated towards dealing with the discrimination that people with disability experience on a daily basis.

We welcome PWD Life Member Graeme Innes into his new position as Disability Discrimination Commissioner and look forward to working with him into the future.”

Jan Daisley, President of PWD

Vale Minetta Bowles

On Tuesday 1 March 2011 PWD marked the very sad loss of our long term member and friend Minetta Bowles.

Minetta was well known among members of PWD for her passionate advocacy for the rights of people with psychosocial impairment. She was fiercely critical of institutional forms of housing and spoke openly about her opposition to the inhumane treatments used in the mental health services.

All who knew Minetta would be aware of her devout faith and active involvement in the Anglican church.

A funeral service was held at 10am on Tuesday 1 March at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney and was attended by PWD staff and members as well as Minetta’s friends, neighbours and former colleagues.

Minetta, we thank you for the energy you brought to our organisation and will miss you.

PWD’s Fraser Coast Office - Flood Appeal

People with Disability Australia (PWD) suffered significant losses in the recent Queensland floods, with our entire Fraser Coast Office, based at the Mary River Marina in Maryborough, destroyed. We lost all office furnishings, specialised equipment, including our Teletypewriter and thousands of dollars worth of printed resources and stationery supplies.

In order to recuperate some of the losses, PWD launched an appeal in January, asking PWD friends, supporters, colleagues, members and associates to dig deep to help us bring this essential advocacy support service back to capacity.

PWD’s Fraser Coast Individual and Group Advocacy Manager, Alan Grimsley, appeared in the Fraser Coast Chronicle, speaking out about the damage and the Appeal. 
Click here to access the story in the Fraser Coast Chronicle

The Appeal ended up raising $933.20 – a fantastic effort! Thank you to everyone who made a donation.

Alan is continuing to work under very difficult conditions, making sure this essential advocacy support service for people with disability is available to those who require it.

To donate money please call PWD at 1800 422 015, email to daphneec@pwd.org.au  or download our donation form www.pwd.org.au/donations.html  and send to PO Box 666, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 or fax to (02) 93181372.

PWD Staff donates Kris Kringle to DPO Kiribati

It was decided in 2010 that instead of a traditional Kris Kringle, PWD staff would donate money to Te Toa Matoa, the Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) in Kiribati.

PWD staff raised a total of $315 for this very deserving organisation.

Te Toa Matoa only receives small amounts of project funding and is currently without any office or substantial resources. Kiribati is one of the poorer countries in the Pacific and is seriously endangered by climate change and rising tides. Despite this, Te Toa Matoa is a dynamic organisation which uses song, dance and storytelling to undertake its advocacy for people with disability. 

Farewell Dean Price

PWD was sad to farewell Dean Price, who left the organisation late February. Dean was employed at PWD for over six years and has worked in admin and advocacy (both individual and systemic) during this time. 

His commitment and strategic thinking, particularly in relation to government lobbying and government relations is a loss to PWD, but we wish him well in his next endeavours.

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PWD Media Releases

8 March 2011: International Women’s Day – human rights still not reality for women with disability

 

1 March 2011: Productivity Commission report lays foundation for change

 

24 February 2011: PWD Launches new advocacy service in Mt Isa

 

14 January 2011: Business Council must rethink its approach to people with disability

 

3 December 2010: Closure of Institutions - longed-for reality or another promise to be broken?

 

3 December 2010: People with disability at risk of violence in licensed boarding houses

 

3 December 2010: PWD Vodcast calling on the NSW Government to close institutions

 

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Conferences and Workshops

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 www.pacificdisability.org

 

7 April 2011: Sydney, NSW PIAC Training Workshop - Protecting Human Rights for the Disability Sector. For more information:  call Karen Kwok on (02) 8898 6503 or click here to visit the PIAC website.

 

7 April 2011: Auckland, New Zealand Pacific Regional Conference on Disability 2011, Waipuna Hotel Conference Centre, NZ. Theme: Promoting actions on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the Pacific Region. For more information visit: www.pacificdisability.org/event.aspx?eventId=77

 

18 April 2011: Sydney, NSW DDLC Conference: Creating equal rights for people with a disability – a push for an Equality Bill encompassing Anti-Vilification protection for people with disability. For more information contact Fiona Given, DDLC Policy Officer on fax (02) 9310 7788, email fgiven@ddlcnsw.org.au or visit www.ddlcnsw.org.au

 

2- 3 May 2011: Melbourne, VIC National Disability and Carer Congress, theme is “Make Every Australian Count”.  Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.  For more information visit www.nds.org.au/events/1290993506

 

24 Month Year: Place Title of Event or Conference, Address of Event.
For more information contact Name, phone (xx) 1234-5678, email name@email.com or visit www.website.com.au

 

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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 www.pwd.org.au/donate.html

For information about membership, contact PWD on email pwd@pwd.org.au 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 pwd@pwd.org.au. 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 pwd@pwd.org.au 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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