PWD E-Bulletin

 

Issue 71 AUGUST 2011 - ISSN 2202-0705

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

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Are you a Member of PWD?

Do you believe that everyone is born equal and has the right to fully participate in community life, gain employment, get an education, receive health services, be free from violence and abuse and participate in political, cultural, social and recreational activities? Would you like to join a global movement of people fighting for the rights of the world’s most marginalised community?

If you’re not yet a member of PWD then check out the Membership section of our website. Membership doesn’t cost much, can be done via mail or email, and will ensure that your voice is heard in the processes that affect your life. Join Today!

Disability Rights Defenders

Whether you are a member of not, another significant way to support PWD is to become a Disability Rights Defender. Disability Rights Defenders help change lives by making a significant financial contribution to support the work of PWD through regular, monthly, tax-deductible donations. Regular donations help us pursue essential projects, such as systemic and legal advocacy projects, assist with conducting members’ and stakeholders consultations, enable us to work with Disabled People’s Organisations in the Pacific and in providing information and training to people with disability and their associates. If you’d like to know more about the Disability Rights Defender Program, click here.

Contents

New South Wales News

Other State and Territory News

National News

International News

The Inside Story

PWD Media Releases

PWD Training Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities

Upcoming Events

About PWD

Privacy Statement

Contact Us

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New South Wales News

NSW Ombudsman’s special report - More than board and lodging: the need for boarding house reform

The NSW Ombudsman’s special report to Parliament, More than board and lodging: the need for boarding house reform, released on August 17, draws on work by the Ombudsman since 2002, which has identified serious concerns about the safety, health, welfare and rights of the residents of licensed boarding houses and the adequacy of the system that is meant to protect them. In his report, the Ombudsman highlights how he has “repeatedly found critical failings on the part of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) to fulfil its responsibilities to monitor licensed boarding houses and ensure their compliance with requirements.”

The report also identifies how ''It is of particular concern that many issues we have identified in our most recent investigation and review work are consistent with those we initially identified nine years ago,” and that “The current legislation governing licensed boarding houses and the standards expected in such facilities are inadequate to protect already vulnerable residents from harm and violations of their fundamental human rights.”

This report is a further timely reminder of the need for the NSW Government to learn from this documented experience and expedite the much needed reform of the licensed boarding house sector. 

The report is available on the Ombudsman’s website www.ombo.nsw.gov.au  or can be read via this link: More than board and lodging: the need for boarding house reform.

PWD issued a press release in relation to the report, which can be read at Ombudsman’s Report a Damning Indictment of Licensed Boarding House Monitoring and Reform.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/shocking-abuse-and-neglect-revealed-in-boarding-houses-across-nsw-20110816-1iwbk.html#ixzz1ViRNMVJA

The press release issued by the Ombudsman’s office can be read here.

PWD received substantial media attention following the release of the report, with PWD’s President Jan Daisley quoted a Sydney Morning Herald story on 17 August –Shocking abuse and neglect revealed in boarding houses across NSW.

PWD’s Executive Director Matthew Bowden also spoke out publically on the release of the report, appearing on radio interviews on 2UE, ABC Radio National, 2SER, and ABC Radio Central West.

PWD welcomed a press release issued by the University of Western Sydney, which quoted Dr Gabrielle Drake, a researcher and lecturer from the UWS School of Social Sciences who completed a PhD study in 2010 on the deinstitutionalisation of boarding houses for people with mental illness and disability. This media release claims that boarding houses are “archaic and should be abolished.” Dr Drake appeared on ABC Radio National on 18 August discussing her work around boarding houses and her reasons for advocating their closure. Click here to listen to Dr Drakes interview from ABC LifeMatters.

Given the strong support PWD has received in response to our letter writing campaign and updates around Grand Western Lodge, we would also like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to everyone who has added their voice and weight to a call for action around Grand Western Lodge and broader boarding house sector reform. If this strong and persistent advocacy had not been in place, these residents would not have been afforded the opportunity for relocation and the safety and justice they deserve and the urgency for sector reform would have continued to go unnoticed.

PWD has a strong commitment to both individual and systemic advocacy in licensed boarding houses and will continue to prioritise this work. We will continue to provide updates of our progress on this work via email updates, our website www.pwd.org.au and this E-Bulletin.

Latest developments with Grand Western Lodge

PWD has been extremely busy this month in our boarding house advocacy, and are pleased to report some substantial developments have been made since July. There has also been a flurry of media activity covering this advocacy and PWD has welcomed the new public attention on these usually invisible issues.

An article by Adele Horin titled ‘Grand Western Lodge left with one resident’ appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 16 August, which contained the latest developments in the relocation of residents from Grand Western Lodge. As reported in this article, it is PWD’s understanding that the final group of 25 residents were relocated to alternative supported accommodation late last week following emergency hearings of the Guardianship Tribunal where the use of Section 11 of the Guardianship Act and coercive legal powers to remove residents forcibly (if required) were granted.

As you know PWD began to alert ADHC and NSW Police to allegations of serious risk of harm to residents of Grand Western Lodge in June 2010. It has taken over a year for ADHC to take effective action in response to these allegations.  For the residents concerned, we hope that ADHC’s current action will now mean that they are afforded the safety and justice they deserve. PWD understands that an active Police investigation of allegations of violence and abuse is in progress.

Report on needs of residents in unlicensed boarding houses

PWD welcomes a report released on 1 August by Baptist Community Services NSW & ACT – LifeCare and the University of Wollongong, which looks at the needs of residents in unlicensed boarding houses. Click here to download the report.

This report highlights the range of unmet needs experienced by residents in unlicensed boarding houses in the Sydney and Illawarra regions.

In the report, boarding house residents identify a lack of social relationships, meaningful activities and mental health issues as areas of significant unmet needs. Further, unfulfilled basic needs including access to food, appropriate accommodation and health care limits residents’ capacity to engage and make decisions in everyday life and adds to the vulnerability which they face.

Other findings include:

   The majority of boarding house residents experience high psychological distress.

   Almost one-third had problems with mental health issues and alcohol at the same time.

   Residents had few meaningful activities to engage in and limited existing social networks or capacity to create one.

   There is often limited opportunity to cook, store or eat food in a boarding house environment and residents reported little choice in ways to access food.

   Many residents experienced poor physical health and many of prescribed medication.

Article: Housing options for people with intellectual disability

PWD welcomed the article by Professor Christine Bigby, Let’s wise up on housing options for people with intellectual disability, published on 3 August, which discussed issues around choice, inclusion, deinstitutionalisation and housing and support options for people with intellectual disability.

The article appeared in The Conversation and ABC’s Ramp Up website and coincided with a forum on housing and support options in which Professor Bigby spoke about her views and the rationale behind them.

PWD welcomes this discussion on housing and support options, and the inclusion of research-based analysis on the benefits of community living vs. institutionalised living.

Survey about NSW Police Complaint System now open

A confidential online survey on perceptions and experiences of the police complaints system in NSW has just been launched by Community Legal Centres NSW (CLCNSW) together with Charles Sturt University (CSU).

The results will be used to inform improvements to the current system. The project is being conducted by Community Legal Centres NSW together with Professor Jane Goodman-Delahunty at Charles Sturt University and will take 10-20 minutes to complete.

The survey is open to client advocates in the community and social sector (for example, youth workers, disability advocates, domestic violence support workers and others), as well as lawyers.

The researchers are interested in your views whether or not you are familiar with the police complaints system. As well as people with police complaint experience, they also need respondents with no experience of the police complaint system, to allow a comparison within the results.

To find out more, and to participate in the survey, please visit http://www.csu.edu.au/faculty/arts/agsp/research/complaints-survey/

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Other State and Territory News

Victoria: Closing institutions for people with intellectual disability

A recent news story which appeared on ABC News Online has drawn new attention to the three remaining large institutions in Victoria with the clear message that it is in the interest of residents to have the institutions closed.

PWD, as part of the national Shut In Campaign, has long been advocating for the closure off these three remaining institutions - Colanda House in Colac, Sandhurst in Bendigo and Oakleigh in Melbourne.

The news story - Different times, same concerns: closing institutions for people with intellectual disabilities (15 August) – asks the question of what the future hold for Victoria's three remaining institutions which accommodate people with intellectual disability and looks at how deinstitutionalisation worked in the past.

Click here to read the full story at ABC News Online.

Western Australia: Jail used to house people with disability

PWD is disturbed to hear reports of five men with intellectual disability having spent a total of 30 years in WA prisons without having been convicted of the crimes alleged against them. An investigation has found inmates being held under similar circumstances to Marlon Noble, whose plight was exposed by The West Australian this year.

A news story on this issued appeared in The Australian on 11 August (Jail used to house disabled for years).

This situation is in breach of Australia’s human rights obligations, including those rights contained in The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

These new revelations are being addressed by the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign (ADJC), which is supported by PWD. More information on the ADJC can be found in this part of the PWD website.

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National news

The Launch of the Productivity Commission Report on Disability Care and Support

The Prime Minister announced on 10 August 2011 that her Government supported a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and released to the public the final report of the Productivity Commission into Disability Care and Support. Regular readers of E-Bulletin will be aware of PWD’s involvement in the various submissions and hearings that contributed to the Interim Report and now the Final Report and of the significant engagement of the sector generally in what is being seen as the best, and possibly last, opportunity we have for significant service reform in Australia.

Future editions of E-Bulletin will deal in more detail in the findings and recommendations of the Final Report, but it is important to note here that whilst the support of the Prime Minister (accompanied at the media conference by Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas) is welcome, it in no way commits this Government to any firm action.  The timeframe for implementation, a source of frustration for many, not only postpones the full rollout of the new system until 2018, but effectively places the responsibility for legislation and funding in the hands of future governments. 

Peak organisations like AFDO have been lobbying MPs from all side of politics to ensure support for the new NDIS goes beyond party loyalties, so there is a greater chance of it being implemented, with the funding it requires and in the form of a system that focuses on the individual, equitably across all States and Territories.

The initial progress of NDIS requires consideration of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations by the various State and Territory heads at COAG.  It is heartening to note that the initial conversation has already taken place, with the first hurdle – the reluctance of Western Australia to sign up to a national scheme – apparently overcome. See http://www.theage.com.au/national/pm-and-premiers-agree-on-national-disability-scheme-20110819-1j2ee.html. 

It would appear at this early stage that such agreement might come at the cost of the optimal, national model recommended strongly by the Productivity Commission.  Many individuals and organisations, including PWD, are strongly opposed to States and Territories retaining responsibility for the administration of funds for disability supports because of the failure of the systems they have overseen since 1993.

PWD has raised concerns about the process of deliberation from here and the opportunities that people with disability and carers and organisations of and for people with disability will have in determining the detail of the new NDIS.  The 10 August announcement did include broad details of a Select Committee, which is to be drawn from representatives of the State and Territory disability services administrations and also of an Advisory Group, which should enable people with disability and their representative organisations to have some input.  Until the detail of these are known, PWD will reserve comment on the adequacy of these initiatives to truly enable the expertise that people with disability and their families have about required support and the way in which services should be delivered, to be heard and incorporated into the detail of the NDIS.  PWD will continue to work with other peaks and organisations to ensure that we do have a voice and that we make a solid contribution to the design and planning of the new system.

One area which we believe will continue to be neglected, both in the development of the NDIS and in the various State initiatives which will continue to roll out in the meantime, is the development of skills and capacity of people with disability themselves and their families, to be in a position to demand supports that will contribute to positively to an inclusive life and to manage those supports.  The Productivity Commission has talked about the role of Disability Support Organisations (DSOs) but there is no clear idea of how those organisations are going to form and deliver the important support that is required.  One thing is clear from international examples – these organisations need to be independent of both government and of service providers and in Australia this would appear to point to a need for the emergence of a new sector from the current disability advocacy and peak sector.  Given the need for independence this new sector must emerge largely on its own terms and not according to the tender specifications of a government department.  This remains one of the most significant and immediate challenges for PWD and other peak bodies and one which we must progress whilst the NDIS is being debated by governments (see http://www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2011/08/11/3290888.htm).

In conclusion, there is much to be optimistic about, given the early release of the final report, the support of the current Government and the support in principle from the State and Territory Governments at COAG.  But the new NDIS will not, indeed cannot, be handed to people with disability and their families on a platter.  If it is to be the truly demand-led system that we need, people with disability and their families need to be the loudest voice throughout this period of design and planning.

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  

The Final Report of the Productivity Commission is available at http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/disability-support/report

Changes to Job Capacity Assessments and DSP regulations

As of 1 July 2011, several changes have come into effect with a significant impact on DSP recipients and DES clients:

The previous Job Capacity Assessment (JCA) program for people with disability has been replaced by uniform Employment Service Assessments (ESAts) for jobseekers. Applicants for the DSP will now undergo a Medical Condition ESAt, highly similar to the previous JCA process, which assesses their capacity to work and the most appropriate service for them based on medical evidence of disability, injury or illness. Medical Condition ESAts will continue to be delivered by health and allied health professionals.

New, stricter compliance arrangements have also been implemented for DSP recipients. Under the new rules, failure to attend an appointment or activity with Centrelink or a DES provider without prior notification will result in an automatic suspension of payments. Payments will be restored with full back pay upon agreement to attend a further meeting. Failure to attend this next appointment will also result in a suspension of payments until the recipient attends another further appointment – in this case without full back pay.

Suspension of payments will be automated once DES providers indicate in their client Participation Reports that a client has not turned up for an appointment. Providers will however continue to have the option of exercising discretion in taking alternative action to re-engage clients and choosing not to submit a Participation Report.

To avoid a suspension of payments, DSP recipients must notify Centrelink or DES providers in advance if they have a reasonable excuse for not being able to attend a pre-scheduled appointment. The criteria for ‘reasonable excuse’ have also been tightened.

Under current transitional arrangements, any requirement notified before 4 July 2011 will be treated as under previous rules, even if the requirement itself should fall on or after 4 July 2011. Any requirement notified on or after 4 July 2011 will be treated under the new rules.

The introduction of these new rules and possible confusion surrounding the co-existence of two systems in a transitional period is expected to increase the amount of complaints received by the CRRS.

More detailed information about the new employment services assessments and compliance rules are available from relevant sections of the DEEWR and FaHCSIA websites.

DEEWAR website
http://www.deewr.gov.au/Employment/Programs/Pages/ESAt.aspx

FaHCSIA website
http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/guides_acts/ssg/ssguide-3/ssguide-3.1/ssguide-3.1.13/ssguide-3.1.13.10.html

New rules for DSP recipients

There are a number of changes being made within Australia’s social security system, which impact on recipients of the Disability Support Pension and require people with disability to undergo the same job seeking requirements as other unemployed people.

On 1 September new recipients of the DSP, who are deemed not to have a “severe impairment”, will be required to undertake job-seeking and job-preparation tasks for a period of at least 18 months before they actually receive the full benefits of the DSP.  Instead of receiving the payment that the DSP provides, they will receive the Newstart Allowance, which gives people $128 a week less than the DSP.  This amounts to a reduction of benefits for some eligible DSP recipients of around $10,000 over the course of 18 months.

This change has come about as a result of measures announced in the May 2011 Budget, and passed by the Federal Government in June 2011 (the Family Assistance and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2011 – see http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/C2011A00052).  This now requires a person to “participate in a program of support” for a period of no less than 18 months within a 36 month period.

PWD has been invited by FaHCSIA to participate with other peaks on an advisory group that is looking at how these measures can be implemented fairly.  Whilst the idea of encouraging people on the DSP to look for work is in line with the goals of employment participation which PWD and other groups of people with disability support, the move to reduce significantly their benefits whilst they do this is clearly just a cost-savings measure.  If the statistics on the employment of people with disability in the general workforce were indicating a significant improvement, then this would not be such an issue.  But as things stand, the likely outcome will be that a large number of people will be placed on a lower benefit for a period of time, before finally getting access to the DSP.

The Welfare Rights Service have analysed the additional loss of benefits that will accrue to those people who are forced onto Newstart. The table below provides a comparison between the two benefits:

Table 1: DSP & NSA: a comparison, August 2011

 

Payment Features

Newstart Allowance (single)

($pw or %)

DSP

(single)

($pw or %)

Rate

$237

$365 (inc. supplement)

Earnings free area

$31

$75

First taper rate

50%

50%

2nd threshold

$125

N/A

Second taper rate

60%

N/A.

Payment stops when earnings at

$442

$804

Payment taxable

Yes

No

Assets cut-out (homeowners)

Nil payment at $181,750

Pension cuts out at $673,000

Assets cut-out (non-homeowners)

Nil payment at $321,750

Payment cuts out at $808,000

Pensioner Education Supplement

Not eligible

$31.20

Liquid Assets Waiting Period

1 week wait for every $500 in savings over $2,500; max. 13 weeks

Not applicable

 

(Welfare Rights Service)

PWD, along with other peaks, will continue to monitor the impact that these changes will have upon new eligible recipients of the DSP.  If readers of E-Bulletin have any accounts of what life is like under these new rules, we would be happy to receive them and publish them.

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

New Impairment Tables

There is certainly a lot happening at the moment, in relation to changes to rules for job-seekers with disability, for new DSP recipients and now with the revelation of the new Impairment Tables, in their draft form.  The review of these tables has come about as a result of the 2009-2010 Better and Fairer Assessments Budget measure and is likely to significantly impact on the numbers of people with disability deemed eligible to receive the DSP.

The purpose of the Impairment Tables is to measure the capacity of a person to work and allocate a score to their impairment, which may enable them to receive the DSP and other entitlements.  There was widespread acknowledgement that these tables were in need of revision, as they were largely medically- and diagnosis-based and not reflective of contemporary views of disability.  A process of review was established, a committee appointed, and report produced.  This was released publically at the end of July 2011 and all the details are available at http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/disability/payments/Pages/review_dsp_impairment_table.aspx

The new tables are due to come into effect at the beginning of 2012.  Future editions of E-Bulletin will provide a more in-depth analysis of the impact they may have upon future claims for the DSP and also upon those current recipients whose claim to the DSP is likely to reviewed against the new criteria.  Initial analysis has revealed some areas of concern about the lack of account taken of social and environmental factors, when determining a person’s ability to rely on work for their income.  There remains a great deal of concern about the requirement for people with disability to seek work and face the multiple barriers that we know exist and ultimately have a very negative experience prior to eventually getting access to the DSP.

FaHCSIA is holding an information workshop in Sydney on Monday 12 September to discuss the findings of the report and PWD hopes to attend this.  Several disability and other peaks are in the process of organising a meeting to share our common concerns and understandings of the impact of the changes to be made.  E-Bulletin will report on these analyses in future editions, and also welcomes questions and comments from readers. 

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

PWD supports the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign

PWD is proud to support the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign (ADJC), a national campaign addressing the incarceration of people with cognitive impairments in jails and psychiatric institutions as a result of being found unfit to plead / mentally impaired. The ADJC is campaigning on this issue across Australia.

PWD is hosting the ADJC webpage on the PWD site which can be viewed at http://www.pwd.org.au/systemic/adjc.html

The campaign is being run in recognition of the significant number of Aboriginal people with cognitive impairment currently being held in maximum security prisons, despite not having been convicted or sentenced for a crime that would require them to be held in such a facility.

This situation is in breach of Australia’s human rights obligations, including those rights contained in The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

The Campaign has already received significant media attention, including a recent story which appeared on ABC Radio NT

4 August 2011 - Mentally impaired Aborigines held in Territory jails – ABC News Online, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-04/20110804mental-prisons/2824386

A disability advocacy group says at least seven Indigenous people who are severely mentally impaired are being held in maximum security prisons in the Northern Territory because there is nowhere else for them. The Aboriginal Disability Justice Group has launched a campaign to raise awareness of legislation introduced in 2002 which allows mentally ill patients to be locked up indefinitely under custodial supervision orders.

National Shut In Campaign: Call for Endorsements

The National Shut In Campaign (www.shutin.org.au) is seeking endorsements from Individuals and Organisations to help pressure Australian governments to close institutions and secure housing and supports that enable people with disability to live in the community in the same way as everyone else.

Shut In is a human rights campaign, underpinned by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It hopes to end the continuing congregation, segregation and isolation of people with disability in institutions, and ensure people with disability are properly supported in ways which promote their full inclusion in the community.

The Shut In Campaign is calling on Australian Governments to:

   Allocate and provide the resources necessary for people with disability who are currently living in government funded, operated or licensed institutions, to move to individualised community based housing and support options that will support their inclusion and participation in the general community.

   Significantly increase the availability of social support services necessary for persons with disability to live in and be a part of the community (such as personal care, domestic assistance and daily living skills support), with these services subject to explicit, measurable targets.

   Stop the redevelopment of ‘contemporary’ institutions as replacements of older style institutions and congregate style accommodation. Although these facilities are modern and in many cases new developments, by their very size, style and the fact that they congregate people with disability, they continue to segregate and isolate persons with disability from their non-disabled peers in contradiction to Article 19 of CRPD.

The Shut In Campaign is seeking endorsements to strengthen the voice of this grassroots movement and to show Governments that voters care about the human rights of people with disability and are prepared to act to have these rights upheld.

Endorsements can be made by replying to this email, or writing to info@shutin.org.au with your name (Individual and/or Organisation), a contact email, and a postcode. For more information on the campaign and how to endorse it, please visit www.shutin.org.au   

Endorsements will be published on the Shut In website, as well as used to support publications or position statements made by the Shut In Campaign.

PWD would like to encourage readers to visit the Shut In website and read the Shut In Position Statement on Housing and Support for People with Disability http://www.pwd.org.au/documents/pubs/PS1108-SHUTIN.doc, so you can consider whether yourself and/or your organisation can endorse the campaign.

Launch of ‘Prepare for take-off - Air Travel Tips for people with disability’

Believed to be the first of its kind in Australia, a 16-page ‘Prepare for take-off - Air Travel Tips for people with disability’ was launched on 21 August at Perth Airport’s International Terminal by Disability Services Minister Helen Morton.

This booklet will be a useful resource for travellers with disability wishing to minimise the hassle involved with travelling by air.

The information contained in the booklet was compiled from the real-life experiences of air travellers with disability, their families, friends, travelling companions and carers and contains information encouraging travellers to do their homework before making bookings; what travellers need to tell the airline; travelling with medication; travelling with mobility aids; security screening; check in; and getting on and off the plane.

The booklet was produced jointly by the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability (MACD), the Disability Services Commission and People With Disabilities (WA) Inc.

Click here to download the booklet.

Carbon Tax and people with disability: Update

As we reported in July’s E-Bulletin, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities Jan McLucas has provided information on how people with disability would be assisted in order to cope with the increases in living costs which will arise from this tax.

The Federal Government has sent out this further information to clarify these changes:

Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment increases

People who receive the Disability Support Pension or the Carer Payment will be eligible for household assistance that at least offsets the expected average price impact under a carbon price.

Pension payments will increase by an amount equal to 1.7 per cent of the maximum rate. This will be an increase of up to $338 for singles, and $255 for each member of a couple.

Assistance will be automatic and will start before the carbon price with an advance payment in May-June 2012 which will provide assistance to cover the first nine months of the carbon price. Fortnightly payments will increase from March 2013.

For more information on these changes, click here to visit the Clean Energy Future website.

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International News

Inclusion International’s Global Study on Article 19

PWD welcomes the Global Study on Article 19, a campaign being run by Inclusion International to discover what living independently and being included in the community really means as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This includes how the implementation of Article 19 looks like around the world in different people's lives and what needs to be done to make living independently and being included in the community a reality for everyone.

The campaign has just launched its new website (www.iilivinginthecommunity.org) which is designed to keep participants engaged, as well as up-to-date with the latest campaign activities.

If you know of any articles, reports or other publications that may be useful for the study, please email them to Raquel (r.gonzalez@inclusion-international.org), along with a brief summary/description of the article.

Historic Victory against Segregation in Serbia

Disability Rights International's partners in Serbia, the Mental Disability Rights Initiative (MDRI-S), in late July succeeded in pressuring the European Union to back down from funding the reconstruction of six institutions for people with disabilities in Serbia.

The €5.1 million ($7.3 million USD) project has now been redrafted to support the creation of community services that allow children and adults to leave institutions and live in the community with choices equal to others.

For the first time ever, disability rights activists have organised to demand that the European Union enforce their rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and succeeded. 

To read the full story, click here to visit MDRI-S’s website.

Commonwealth People’s Forum drafting committee convenes to write Civil Society Statement

The drafting of the Civil Society Statement this month has signalled the next stage of the journey towards the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) in Perth, Western Australia, in October. The Civil Society Statement will be the culmination of a series of regional consultations that took place earlier this year, where civil society organisations, including PWD, met to discuss important topics in their own regions.

For more information on the consultations and PWD’s involvement, click here to read the article which appeared in the May E-Bulletin

The CPF will be another key opportunity for civil society organisations such as PWD to make a real impact on the agenda of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.  It provides an important platform for people around Australia and the wider Commonwealth to come together to discuss development issues affecting not only themselves but many of the Commonwealth’s 2 billion citizens.  It will be important for leaders attending the CHOGM to hear and listen to the voice of Commonwealth people.

Click here for further information or to register for the CPF.

Meeting to discuss disability inclusive development

A press release issued by the Pacific Disability Forum on 3 August has stated that strengthening the partnership between governments and organisations for people with disabilities in the Pacific region will be one of the issues to be discussed at the 2nd Government Focal Points for Disability meeting to be held in Nadi, Fiji 10–12 August 2011.

“Pacific Islands Forum Leaders strongly support the promotion of an inclusive, barrier-free, and rights-based society for people with disabilities in the region and at their Meeting in Vanuatu last year affirmed the need for disability inclusive development in all government programmes,” says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

“The 800,000 people living with disabilities in the region are among some of the poorest and most vulnerable and face many barriers to full participation in society and it is imperative that their plight is taken into consideration in whatever development initiative is undertaken in the region by governments, development partners and the civil society.”

For more information, visit the PDF website at http://forum.forumsec.org

DRPI launches new website

Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI) has launched their new fully accessible website. You can view the interactive accessible website here: http://drpi.research.yorku.ca/accessibility

On the main page http://drpi.research.yorku.ca/ you can read the latest news headlines about DRPI and global events, you can stay up-to-date on what is happening in disability rights monitoring.

The website also has a number of publications and resources - including monitoring reports, training guides and tools for monitoring disability rights – which can be accessed at  http://drpi.research.yorku.ca/resources

PWD becomes an Australian Partner Organisation with the AYAD program

This month PWD has partnered with The Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program to support a Communications and Marketing Officer assignment in Fiji.

The AYAD program sends young Australians aged 18-30 on short term volunteer assignments (3-12 months) throughout Asia, the Pacific and Africa. These assignments are part of the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, an Australian Government AusAID initiative.

PWD will be supporting a Communications and Marketing Officer assignment in Fiji. To apply for this assignment visit www.ayad.com.au/assignments?AyaCode=33RPGO-A02

PWD encourages you to apply or pass this link on to anyone interested in applying. Applications are due 9 September 2011. Application details are available on www.ayad.com.au

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The Inside Story

Vale Robert Farley

The Board and staff of PWD were deeply saddened by the news of the death of Robert Farley on 28 August 2011.  Robert served as President of PWD from 2006 to 2010, during the period when Australia signed and then ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  He made a significant contribution to the rights of people with disability, not only through the positions he held at PWD, but also with the Disability Council of NSW.  He provided advice to NSW Ministers for Disability Services through his tenure as Official Community Visitor and was very involved in the disability community of the Newcastle and Hunter region serving on the Board of Disability Services – Port Stephens Inc.

PWD owes a debt of gratitude to Robert’s determination to promote the human rights of people with disability. The achievements he made in the disability services and human rights sectors will not be forgotten.

Robert was a lifelong participant in the arts, publishing short stories and having his plays performed on stage.  He won literary awards and enjoyed painting.  Those of us who had the privilege of knowing Robert will miss him greatly and our thoughts are with his family.

From the President

Hi All,

This year is certainly getting away and there is still a lot to do before the AGM. I am very pleased with the present outcome regarding Grand Western Lodge in Millthorpe. The staff have put a lot of time and energy into advocating for the residents and at times it was very difficult, but their sheer determination and persistence paid dividends. Congratulations to all involved on a job well done. 

All at PWD including the Board were pleased to hear that the NDIS may soon become a reality. A lot of hard work went into it by many people and hopefully when it is finally introduced all people with a disability will benefit and experience a quality of life equal to all citizens. It has been a long time coming and the announcement was very satisfying to all who have worked so very hard on this project.

Now we can set our sights on the future and more immediately the DPI World Congress in South Africa in October and a successful presentation by our delegation, but there will be more about this in future editions.

Jan Daisley, President PWD

Research and Development Update

PWD is currently engaged in a number of research and development projects focussed on deepening the understanding of issues relevant to people with disabilities in Australia and internationally. The PWD Research and Development working group, made up of representatives from across PWD departments, aims to meet monthly to review the requests to participate or contribute to research, to provide placement opportunities for students, to assist with finding people with disability to participate in research and to act as members of oversight committees on research related projects.

Michael Bleasdale, Damien Anderson and Emmie Hallett are currently engaged in a research project team with the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW, to assess the reasons for and the risks of using two workers in a community setting. This project is due to be completed in December 2011 and will provide ADHC with recommendations, training packages and guidelines on the appropriate use of two workers in home care.

The Disability Inclusive Research Collaboration (DIRC) is organising a conference to be held in June 2012 which will bring together researchers, people with disability, advocacy and service organisations, international experts and governments agencies to explore all aspects of disability inclusive research. The conference is themed “Transforming rights into reality:  Rethinking paradigms, practices and possibilities” and a funding grant has been secured to support Australian people with disability to participate.

Because it is essential that a conference such as this be organised by, not just for, people with disability, DIRC has approached PWD to facilitate the steering committee. The committee is made up of representatives from a range of disability advocacy groups across Australia and has already begun to set the agenda for the conference and is planning an accessible, experiential, dynamic and practical program that will allow those who conduct research and those who benefit from it to really begin discussing the nuts and bolts of what tomorrow will be for people with disability in Australia.

We are always interested to hear from people about their ideas for research and also from people who are keen to partner with PWD or other disability groups in inclusive research.  PWD is hoping to provide opportunities for researchers with disability to learn and practice their craft. Our increasing collaborative arrangements with various Australian universities allows for these possibilities to come to fruition.

If you are interested in any aspect of research for people with disability, please contact Emmie Hallett on emmieh@pwd.org.au

Emmie Hallett, PWD Projects Manager, CRRS and Hotline

PWD runs a successful City2Surf

On Sunday 14 August, a keen group of PWD staff and supporters took part in the 2011 City2Surf.

The team – consisting of Matthew Bowden, Mark Lee, Johnny Lee, Sean and Selena Lee, Melissa Kym, Julie Dardel and Daphnee Cook – all completed the course in what was surely a record-breaking time for PWD.

The greatest success was that together we managed to break through our fundraising goal, and raise $5,255 – a wonderful effort.

Thank you to everyone who participated on the team and donated to the cause.

Daphnee Cook, Communications and Membership Development Manager

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PWD Media Releases

16 August 2011: Ombudsman’s Report a Damning Indictment of Licensed Boarding House Monitoring and Reform

10 August 2011: Let’s work together towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme

2 August 2011: Shut In Campaign Releases Position Statement on Housing and Support

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PWD Training Opportunities

PWD is currently reviewing its trainings on offer and making changes to its existing training packages.

In the 2011/2012 financial year, PWD will no longer be issuing a training calendar with fixed trainings but instead will be providing a training brochure detailing the training options on offer. In addition, we will also be marketing customised training packages that can be adapted to meet the needs and interests of individual organisations and/or services.

We will continue to offer our 2-day Responding to Sexual Assault training which aims to challenge myths surrounding sexual assault and people with intellectual disability, build capacity of staff to support victims of sexual assault, as well as decrease the vulnerability of people with intellectual disability to this crime. Also available is our 1-day Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) training which provides a discussion of the development of the CRPD, the rights enshrined in it and the practicalities of implementing these rights, as well as information about its available complaints process.

PWD will continue to provide Disability Awareness training, however in a new, flexible format with core and optional supplementary modules. Core modules will provide a general introduction to disability awareness, exploring the concept of disability, the myths and facts surrounding it, as well as respectful language and communication. Supplementary modules will include customised components that incorporate information, case scenarios and examples applicable to the context in which the training is delivered.

PWD will continue to focus on developing and delivering training in its expertise areas of abuse and neglect as well as disability and human rights. In addition, we remain open to discussing the development of specific trainings based on interest.

Further information is available from our website.
Alternatively, contact PWD Training:
Telephone: (02) 9370 3100
Email: training@pwd.org.au  

Volunteer Opportunities

Would you like to use your skills and experience to volunteer in a developing country?

The Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) Program sends young Australians aged 18-30 on short term volunteer assignments (3-12 months) throughout Asia, the Pacific and Africa. These assignments are part of the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, an Australian Government AusAID initiative.

PWD will be supporting a Communications and Marketing Officer assignment in Fiji. To apply for this assignment see www.ayad.com.au/assignments?AyaCode=33RPGO-A02  

PWD encourages you to apply or pass this link on to anyone interested in applying. Applications are due 9 September 2011. Application details are available at www.ayad.com.au  

Please note the AYAD Program reserves the right to withdraw this volunteer assignment at any stage of the selection process.

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Upcoming Events

7-8 September 2011: Sydney “Our Broadband Future” 2011 ACCAN National Conference. For more information http://accan.org.au/conference

 

5 October – 15 November 2011: Online Australia Wide Human Rights Education Associates (HREA): E-learning Course: The Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
For more information www.awid.org/eng/Library/E-learning-Course3

 

6-8 October 2011: Brisbane Amnesty International Conference, Human Rights Conference: Change the World. Royal On The Park, Brisbane. 
For more information http://hrc.amnesty.org.au

 

10-13 October 2011: Durban, South Africa Disabled Peoples' International 8th World Assembly. For more information www.dpi2011.co.za/en/home  

 

12-14 October 2011: Brisbane Jobs Australia Conference – Conference With a Soul.
For more information www.cnet.ngo.net.au/content/view/53730/452/

 

26-28 October 2011: Stanwell Tops, NSW SPARK Festival 2011 Creative Arts Festival for people with disability run by JunctionWorks. Early bird bookings now open. Click here for the early bird flyer.

 

4-6 November 2010: Parramatta, NSW International Human Rights Education Conference Educating for Human Rights, Peace and Intercultural Dialogue
For more information
www.humanrightseducationconference2010.com.au

 

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

 

17-18 November 2011: Adelaide FECCA Conference 2011 – Advancing Multiculturalism Australia’s Pre-eminent Multicultural Conference. For more information www.fecca.org.au

 

25-28 November 2011: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia “Accessible Tourism Promotes National Development” For more information www.beautifulgate.org.my/pro-icat/

 

27-30 November 2011: University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.  Disability Studies: Every Body In, Inaugural Conference.  Patricia O’Brien and Tom Shakespeare are keynotes.  For more information www.otago.ac.nz/disabilitystudiesconference/

 

29 November to 2 December 2011: Melbourne.  State of Australian Cities. For more information http://soac2011.com.au/

 

7-9 December 2011: Hunter Valley, NSW “Accessing the Future: Instruct, Inspire, Include” Inclusive Technologies and Learning Disability in Education and Employment Conference. For more information http://biturl.net/ndco-atf

 

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 www.valid.org.au

 

12-14 March 2012: Bangkok, Thailand Conference on Disability-Inclusive MDGs and Aid Effectiveness. UN Conference Centre. For more information www.conferencealerts.com/seeconf.mv?q=ca18msm3

 

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

 

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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/donations.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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