Issue 73 November/December 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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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 (DRD)
There is now a NEW way to support PWD – Disability Rights Defenders can now sign up online! Click here to set up a regular donation to PWD and automatically become a DRD.
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. Click here for more information about the Disability Rights Defender Program
PWD recently made a submission to the NSW Attorney General and Justice's review of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 which is being undertaken to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives.
Since this Act’s commencement there have been several reviews examining legal frameworks and support mechanisms to protect victims and enable effective domestic violence responses as well as the development of state and national strategic plans to implement these responses. These will also be examined as part of the statutory review.
PWD has undertaken a number of projects over recent years which have focused the right to freedom from violence and abuse, with a key focus on people with disability living in residential service settings experiencing domestic and personal violence. These projects as well as our experience in supporting people with disability through our individual advocacy services have informed our submission to this review.
Key issues raised in PWD’s submission include:
For more information contact Sonya Price-Kelly, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PWD participated in the recent pilot Access Tour of Sydney Town Hall for the City of Sydney Council. The Council currently runs tours of Town Hall and is piloting ways in which to make the tours more accessible for people with a range of mobility and other access needs. PWD joined other people from the disability sector on the tour and provided detailed feedback to the Council on improving accessibility of the tour and other ways to promote the social inclusion of people with a disability in their local community. The first of these tours was launched on International Day of People with a Disability (IDPwD).
PWD recognises the key role that Local Government plays in providing opportunities for people with disability to access and participate in their communities and we continue to work with all levels of government to promote the inclusion of people with disability.
For further information on consultancy and training services that PWD provides to Local Government, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email email@example.com
PWD is a member of the NSW Disability Network Forum (the Forum), which was established in June 2011 by the NSW Government.
The Forum is made up of non-government, non-provider peak representative groups, whose primary aim is to promote the interests of people with disability. The Forum‘s aim is to provide a new avenue to build capacity within and across all organisations and groups so that the interests of people with disability are advanced through policy and systemic advocacy.
Since its inception, the Forum has developed formal Terms of Reference and a priority issues list. This has included discussion and input to NSW Inquiry into Transition of Students with additional and complex care needs, comprising initial and supplementary submissions and appearance at the Inquiry Hearing. The Forum has also participated in several presentations and consultations, including COAG Reform Council on Disability Reform agenda and National Disability Services NSW on the Disability Industry Development Fund.
In October, the Forum discussed the National Disability Strategy and its impact on progress for people with disability. The Forum strongly advocates the inclusion of people with disability and representative organisations in the development of policy and practice improvements, particularly at this time of rapid reform.
In October there was also a preliminary workshop on Decision Support Resources under the NSW Government’s ten year plan, Stronger Together 2, which explored what these resources should cover, safeguards and what could be needed. The Forum resolved to continue this discussion as more information became available.
Finally, the Forum participated in a Commonwealth consultation on disability aids and equipment by a consultant referred by EnableNSW. The Forum focused on consumer needs and feedback but also provided some structural input to the consultant.
The Forum can be contacted through the secretariat located at NCOSS. Christine Regan is the Forum Coordinator, ph 92112599 ext 117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Val Kors (Wed – Fri) ph 92112599 ext 123 or email email@example.com
Readers will be aware that PWD has been playing an active role in In Control Australia and In Control NSW since 2008. In October Steve Dowson, a UK self-directed support practitioner made a return trip from the UK to Australia and did some face-to-face training on “support brokerage” in Sydney on October 17. This session was very well attended, and people learnt about the principles behind providing independent, specialist advice and assistance to people with disability and families, with imagining the possibilities of a good life, gathering information about the resources required, planning and negotiating for those resources and assisting people to make the choices and decisions that come with managing support and living an inclusive life in the community.
Steve had previously visited in May this year and had given keynote addresses at the National Disability and Carer Congress in Melbourne and at the In Control BiG Event in Sydney.
Whilst Steve was in Sydney he also facilitated a workshop at PWD on the nature and complexity of decision-making, and the various roles that need to exist to provide support to these processes. The session was attended by a number of non-government organisations, representative organisations of people with disability, and Government officers. Steve also had the opportunity to discuss the importance of an independent decision-support role in a self-directed support environment, directly with the NSW Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. Andrew Constance MP and the NSW Shadow Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. Barbara Perry MP.
Following the visit members of In Control NSW put together a resource document on decision-making support, which outlines the various tasks which need to be addressed and the type of resources that are needed to assist people to make decisions and choices for themselves. This paper is available at the PWD website here.
For more information contact Michael Bleasdale, Executive Director, Leadership Team on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to find out ways to reduce your power use and save money off bills?
If you’re a NSW resident and have a Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs card or are an energy utility hardship customer or a social housing tenant, you may be eligible to receive a free in-home power assessment and a free Power Savings Kit from the NSW Government.
PWD is working with the Office of Environment and Heritage to help promote the Home Power Savings Program, with PWD participating in the NSW Home Power Savings Forum held on 23 November. By taking part in the program, you’ll get a visit from an energy expert who will:
While at your home, the energy expert will also install a power savings kit, worth around $200 that contains devices such as a standby saver power board, energy efficient light globes, a shower timer, draught-proofing, a thermometer and more.
The program is completely free and can help participants save an average of $265 a year off their bills.
Eligible households can call 1300 662 416 today to join the program or visit www.savepower.nsw.gov.au/freehelp for more information.
If you’re not eligible for the program, the Save Power website provides a range of tips and resources to help you become more energy efficient. Topics covered include efficient heating, cooling, refrigeration and lighting. Some of the information is available in languages other than English. Visit www.savepower.nsw.gov.au
A Sydney- based researcher, Karen Jordan, is looking for volunteers to take part in an upcoming research project about the experience of violent relationships by people with disability.
You will be eligible to participate if you:
Karen is seeking a number of women with physical disability to assist the research team in conducting a study about your experiences with violent or hurtful relationships and what kind of help you received.
Karen is a postgraduate student from the University of Sydney. Her research will inform social work practice and education about better ways to support women with disability who have experienced violent relationships. Karen herself is a woman with disability.
You can register your interest through calling Karen on (02) 9351 4712 and leaving your name and contact details with a safe time to call back. Karen will contact you to explain in more detail about the study and to see if you would like to participate.
If you are a student with a disability – or the parent, teacher or carer of a student with a disability – the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission would like to hear from you.
The Commission is inviting people to have their say as part of research into the experiences of students with disability in Victorian schools.
They are keen to hear from students, parents and educators about what works and what could be improved when it comes to the education of students with disability in Victoria. There are several ways you can participate:
For more information, click here to go to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission website
AQA Victoria has worked with a consortium of health and community providers to develop and launch a new website SpinalHub. This site aims to bring together useful resources about acute spinal cord injury, rehabilitation, community resources along with user generated content and social networking features to connect people and share ideas and experiences.
SpinalHub.com.au is a community website for people with spinal cord injury in Victoria and throughout Australia. It is a joint initiative of several organisations in Victoria who have an interest in supporting the spinal cord injury community.
In operating SpinalHub the collaborators aim to:
The site is designed to grow with the input from the organisations involved and people with spinal cord injury posting content, making comment and suggesting topics. It is a great example of how like-minded organisations and people with SCI can create something bigger and better than any one of them could do on their own.
PWD welcomes the news that Marlon Noble, an Aboriginal man with intellectual disability, will be released from a WA prison after spending ten years in custody despite having never been convicted of a crime. Click on the following links to read these stories: Justice still a long way off for Marlon Noble and Marlon Noble will be released.
Mr Noble’s case became known in March 2011, when WA media reported that he had been in prison on a custody order for the past decade. Mr Noble had been charged with the sexual assault of a minor, but due to his intellectual disability he was deemed at the time ‘unfit to plead’ and hence ‘unfit’ to stand trial.
The presiding judge at the time then placed Mr Noble on a custody order and he was sent to prison for an indeterminate time and without ever having had a trial. He was 19 at the time.
In August 2011, it was further revealed that five men with intellectual disability have 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 Mr Noble.
PWD is a member of the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign (ADJC), which is a national campaign addressing the incarceration of people with cognitive impairment in jails and psychiatric institutions as a result of being found ‘unfit to plead/mentally impaired’ under legislation.
There is more information about the ADJC in the National Section of this E-Bulletin here or click here to visit the ADJC website.
The Lost Generation refers to a group of people with intellectual disability who have been institutionalised for most of their lives and have little or no connection to their community. The concept for the Lost Generation Project was borne out of a four year partnership between DADAA Inc (Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts) and the Disability Services Commission’s Accommodation Services Directorate (DSC ASD).
'Findings: The Story of The Lost Generation Project' is a 30-minute documentary evidencing the model and impacts of the award-winning community arts and cultural development initiative called The Lost Generation Project. The documentary had its Canberra launch at the National Gallery of Australia on Tuesday 15 November 2011, as part of the third International Arts and Health Australia Conference and Perth launch on Wednesday 30 November 2011.
The paper written by Professor Charlie Fox, 'Children with Intellectual Disabilities and Their Families: A Brief Western Australian History' gives a brief account of what life has been like for people with intellectual disability and their families, from the days of the 'Fremantle Lunatic Asylum' to more recent times www.disseminate.net.au/files/webfiles/LostGenerationHistoryFamilies.pdf
The following web pages provide further information about The Lost Generation Project and links to short films and interviews:
Information about the Lost Generation Project is also included on the Shut In Campaign website at www.shutin.org.au
The Medical Heating and Cooling Concession is a new energy concession that will be introduced by the South Australian Government, commencing on 1 January 2012.
It will provide additional financial assistance to people on low or fixed incomes who require medical heating and cooling in their home to prevent or reduce the symptoms and impact of multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinsons disease or a number of other qualifying medical conditions. The concession will assist people who incur high electricity costs because of their medical need to use air conditioners or heaters on a frequent and/or prolonged basis to prevent the worsening of their symptoms.
To receive the concession applicants will need to provide certification from their regular medical practitioner or a specialist confirming they require frequent and prolonged use of heating and/or cooling appliances in their home to maintain their health.
The concession amount will be $158 per year (i.e. the same amount as the current energy concession) and will increase to $165 on July 1 2012. It will be available to eligible applicants in addition to the current energy concession.
It will be applied quarterly to electricity accounts in the same way as the current energy concession or provided as an EFT payment or cheque.
The concession will be backdated for eligible applicants in the first year to 1 July 2011.
The Medical Heating and Cooling Concession will be administered by the Department for Families and Communities.
Initial applications for the concession will commence from 1 January 2012.
Like the energy concession, the Medical Heating and Cooling Concession will be available to assist with energy bills for the principal place of residence of people who:
Applicants will be assessed for eligibility based on their income type as confirmed by Centrelink. Further details of the Medical Heating and Cooling Concession will be available in due course.
On 24 October 2011, the Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Women and Minister for Employment Participation visited PWD to announce our success in receiving funding under the Federal Government’s Community Action Grants to prevent violence against women. The funding announcement was also made in the presence of the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Federal Member for Sydney and Minister for Social Inclusion.
The funding will enable PWD to research, develop and design a training package on domestic violence aimed at women with an intellectual disability and service providers/staff who work with women with intellectual disability. The package will aim to increase awareness and provide guidance on prevention and effective response to domestic violence experienced by women with intellectual disability.
PWD is working in collaboration with the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability and Dr Sally Robinson from Griffith University to manage this project. While at PWD, both Ministers took the opportunity to meet PWD Board members and staff and to learn more about our advocacy, information, training and complaints handling activities.
A news story on the day of the announcement, Disabled women vulnerable to abuse highlighted the critical importance of projects that aim to address violence against women with disability.
For many years, PWD has undertaken a number of advocacy and research initiatives to address the high incidence of violence against women with disability. We welcome increasing government and non-government commitment to the inclusion of women with disability in mainstream domestic violence prevention and response initiatives.
To further this commitment, PWD has recently become an official Community Partner of the White Ribbon Foundation – Australia’s campaign to stop violence against women.
The partnership provides greater opportunities for both our organisations to work on projects and initiatives that aim to reduce the incidence of violence against women with disability. PWD will provide more information on these initiatives as our partnership progresses.
Individuals can support Australia's campaign to stop men's violence against women by swearing the White Ribbon Oath.
PWD fully supports the action taken by Ms Sheila King to challenge Jetstar’s ‘two wheelchair policy’ in the Federal Court. Ms King, a wheelchair user and PWD Board Director, alleges that Jetstar’s policy does not comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). The case commenced at Monday 31 October 2011.
“The Disability Discrimination Act has been in force for 20 years and it is completely unacceptable that people with disability are still treated like second class citizens by a national airline. Ms King’s fight is not for personal gain; it is a fight to achieve a change in Jetstar policy for the benefit of all passengers who use wheelchairs,” said PWD President Jan Daisley in PWD’s Media Release issued on October 31.
In 2008, Jetstar stopped Ms King from accessing a flight because the flight already had two passengers that required wheelchair assistance. Ms King was forced to rebook on another airline at greater cost as there were no other Jetstar flights to her destination.
“Like everyone else in the community, people with disability need to fly for work and leisure purposes, to visit family and friends and to participate in a range of events and community activities. Yet Jetstar’s ‘two wheelchair policy’ seeks to limit people with disability from enjoying full and equal participation in the economic, social and culture life of Australia”, said Ms Daisley in the media release.
Sheila King took part in an interview about her case, which appeared on ABC’s Lateline program on 31 October. Click here to see the interview and access the transcript here.
Joanna Shulman, CEO of Redfern Legal Centre and one of the lawyers assisting Ms King with her case, also had a piece published on ABC Online site “The Drum” - David and Goliath battle over disability discrimination.
PWD Member Julia Haraksin appeared in the Federal Court on 17 October at the commencement of her case against Murrays Australia Ltd. Ms Haraksin has filed a disability discrimination complaint against Murrays Coaches after she tried unsuccessfully to book a seat on one of its coaches last year to attend a conference.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), who is representing Julia, argues that Murrays have violated the Disability Discrimination Act, which gives the Attorney-General the power to set a mandatory standard for accessible public transport.
PIAC reports that they were pleased with how the first day went, with Murrays conceding they discriminated against Ms Haraksin and breached the Standards in August 2009. However, there remains a dispute about whether the Court has jurisdiction to consider Ms Haraksin’s claim that Murrays were in ongoing breach of the Standards and what the Court can and should order that Murrays do.
On International Day of People with Disability, the Shut In Campaign released its second Bulletin and launched its fourth Vodcast.
The Bulletin draws attention to the fact that there are still people with disability living in institutional accommodation in Australia today. It contains information about progress to close institutions for people with disability in Australia.
The fourth Vodcast provides the perspective of John Le Breton, CEO Greystanes Disability Services, who has been involved in closing institutions and supporting people to live in the community for many years. To view the Vodcast, click on the following link: http://sites.google.com/site/shutinaustralia/vodcast
Shut In calls on governments to take immediate action to close all residential institutions accommodating people with disability, including those operated by non-government and private sectors and allocate and provide the resources necessary for people to move to individualised community based housing and support options that will support their inclusion and participation in the general community.
To read the full bulletin, please click on the link below: www.pwd.org.au/documents/pubs/Shut-In-EBulletin2011.html
For more information, and to see the series of Vodcasts, visit the Shut In website www.shutin.org.au or contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email email@example.com
In recognition of International Day of People with Disability, the Australian Government has announced the recipients of the National Disability Awards. This year, the announcement was made on 22 November at the Awards function held in Canberra.
The Awards, hosted by Minister Jenny Macklin and Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, celebrate the significant achievements of people with disability and workers in the disability sector.
The awards were presented by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who said that the awards recognised outstanding Australians who have made a real difference to the lives of people with disability. The winners of the 2011 National Disability Awards are:
PWD congratulates all the winners and extends particular congratulations to Frank Hall-Bentick, winner of the Minister’s Lifelong Achievement Award. Frank is a key figure in the national and international disability rights movement and has worked tirelessly for over thirty years for our rights.
The following statement was issued by Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes for International Day of People with Disability 2011, to recognise the important contribution made by disability advocates Kim Walker, Robert Jones and Max Murray.
Kim Walker is a Life Member of PWD and has participated in many PWD projects and consultations. Kim is a fierce supporter of the Shut In Campaign, and provides her perspective on institutions in a Shut In Vodcast. PWD congratulates Kim on this deserved accolade and shares Commissioner Innes’ praise of her work. PWD also congratulates Robert Jones and Max Murray for their achievements.
Graeme Innes, Disability Discrimination Commissioner 's statement: "Not everyone who deserves an award gets an award. So, on International Day of People with Disability, I acknowledge the contributions and achievements of three individuals who have improved the lives of people with disability in Australia: Kim Walker, Robert Jones and Max Murray.
Kim Walker has worked tirelessly for the rights of people with disability, and to promote a greater understanding of the issues and lived experience of disability. She has been a strong advocate for people with an intellectual disability for over 22 years. She has worked for many organisations, including Self Advocacy and the Intellectual Disability Rights Service, where she worked as a Community Educator for 17 years. She also served on the Board of the NSW Council of Intellectual Disability, and has been a member of the Disability Council of NSW and People with Disability Australia. She has helped many people with disability understand and stand up for their rights. She has campaigned tirelessly for deinstitutionalisation, and the rights of people with complex needs.
Robert Jones and Max Murray represented the interests of people with disability throughout the negotiations of the Premises Standards, as members of the Building Access Policy Committee. While many people with disability contributed to the Premises Standards development, Robert Jones and Max Murray must be recognised for their dedication to making it happen. Their skill, and tenacious advocacy, led to many significant improvements from which future generations of Australians will benefit.
The commencement of the Premises Standards on 1 May was one of the most significant developments in the disability field this year. The Premises Standards will have an important effect on the accessibility of new and upgraded buildings for all Australians. Their implementation will ensure far greater opportunities for people with disability to participate in the social, cultural and economic life of our community as equal citizens.
All Australians, with and without disability, owe these three people a debt of gratitude for their work.”
In August 2011, the Productivity Commission released its report from its inquiry into lifetime care and support for people with disability. The report is a comprehensive document describing the purpose and the nature of a new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). There is bipartisan support for the introduction of a NDIS and the Australian Government is moving quickly to design the new system.
It is critical that people with disability remain informed about how the system will be designed and be an integral part of that design as well as all aspects of implementation of the new system.
PWD, along with other representative and advocacy organisations have been working collaboratively to ensure that people with disability are at the centre of decision-making with regards to the NDIS, and not just consulted as an ‘interested stakeholder’.
One of the features of the new system, according to the Productivity Commission Report, will be the role of independent support agencies, separate to both government and service providers, referred to as Disability Support Organisations (DSOs).
In October this year, In Control Australia, of which PWD is an active member hosted a seminar in Melbourne. A number of cross-disability peaks and advocacy organisations were invited, to discuss what kind of support might be provided by these DSOs and to begin to think about where this expertise, independent from both service provision and government, may emerge from in Australia.
Steve Dowson from the UK attended the seminar and was able to provide some examples of where this type of support has worked very well internationally, as well as how self-directed supports and individualised funding delivered without any type of assistance has led to people purchasing the same kind of services as they received previously.
This was very much a preliminary conversation, but those attending have agreed to share their discussion with the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Jan McLucas, as well as other representative and advocacy groups.
On 14 October, the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin and Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, announced the members of an Advisory Group to work with all governments in laying the foundations for reform of the system of disability care and support.
The new appointees to the Advisory Group are Dr Ken Baker, Dr Lorna Hallahan, Ms Joan McKenna-Kerr, Mr Brendan O’Reilly and Ms Fran Vicary, who will join Advisory Group Chairman Dr Jeff Harmer AO, Dr Rhonda Galbally AO and Mr Bruce Bonyhady AM. Click here for more information about Advisory Group members
Part of the Advisory Group’s role is to talk with people around the country about work to guide the foundations for an NDIS, as well as drawing on expertise from the disability sector and outside through expert workig groups to consider particular elements of reform
While PWD recognises the need for a range of expertise on any such Advisory Group, we are concerned about the lack of a representative voice of people with disability on this group. Any new scheme for people with disability must have mechanisms to ensure that people with disability are central to design and implementation of the new scheme. This is in line with Australia’s obligations under Article 4 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
PWD joined with the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and the Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) in writing to Minister Macklin and Parliamentary Secretary McLucas about our concerns and to invite them to participate in a meeting of representative and advocacy organisations on 22 November 2011.
Since 2010, AFDO, PWD and DANA have worked closely together to bring representative and advocacy organisations together to discuss views and formulate positions on key aspects of an NDIS. The completion of the Productivity Commission inquiry and commitments from the Australian Government for implementation of the NDIS prompted us to conduct another forum in Canberra on 22 November.
The forum had a broad agenda of information exchange about what progress was being made on designing the new system and in particular what was being done by representative and advocacy groups.
A key theme that was expressed throughout was the day was the concern about how little engagement there had been to date with the disability peak and advocacy sector and that the voice of people with disability was not apparent in whatever decisions have already been made about the architecture of the NDIS.
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Jan McLucas attended the forum and provided a briefing about the activities taking place at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and within the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). Forum participants also had the opportunity to raise their concerns and issues with the Senator.
The Forum participants have committed to continue to work together on key design and implementation elements of the NDIS, and to make outcomes of this work known to Minister Macklin and Parliamentary Secretary McLucas.
PWD will provide further information on this work as it progresses. In the new year, we intend to progressively post information and resources about self-directed support and aspects of the new NDIS on our website or provide links to central repositories of information.
On 3 December 2011, International Day of People with Disability, the Australian Government announced the establishment of a new agency to lead the work to design the launch of a NDIS.
The new agency’s work will build on the foundation reforms agreed by the Commonwealth, States and Territories at the meeting of the Select Council on Disability Reform in October. Work to deliver the foundation reforms is now underway. The agency will also oversee new projects that identify practical ways to prepare the disability sector and workforce and people with disability, to move to a new ways of delivering disability services.
The Gillard Government will provide $10 million for projects that examine how to deliver individual, personalised care, with the aim of ending the crisis-driven approach that is still often applied.
Throughout 2012, the Gillard Government will work closely with State and Territory governments, people with disability, their families and carers, service providers and the disability care and support workforce on the critical design and development work that is needed for a launch.
The new projects aim to give the disability workforce, service providers and people with disability the opportunity to work with government on the development of a launch of an NDIS.
While PWD is pleased that the Australian Government wants to move quickly to achieve improvements to disability care and support, we remain concerned that people with disability do not appear as central to reform, but merely one of a number of stakeholders.
PWD will continue to advocate strongly, work collaboratively and inform people with disability on the NDIS as it progresses in 2012.
For more information about the NDIS and PWD, contact Michael Bleasdale, Executive Director, Leadership Team on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Therese Sands, Executive Director, Leadership Team on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email email@example.com
In the last edition of E-Bulletin the various measures introduced by the Commonwealth Government to reduce the numbers of people on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) were discussed. The largest of these measures, the implementation of the updated Impairment Tables to assess eligibility for the DSP, will commence from 1 January 2012. Some information about the make-up of these new tables is available at the FaHCSIA website.
Since the draft version of the new tables was released in July, there has been some opportunity for consultation and a number of amendments and clarifications have been made following the concern of individuals and peak organisations about their failure to capture the difficulties that some people have in functioning. Major revisions have taken place with the table that describes Intellectual Disability functioning, but although PWD is on the DSP Advisory Committee, these changes have not been viewed.
Peak and advocacy organisations remain concerned that the impact of changes will be that significant numbers of people with disability will be forced onto lower, inadequate payment whilst they look for work and that the prospect of finding suitable work has not significantly improved over the past two years.
In 2012, PWD and other representative organisations will be seeking to collate information from people who are now on the Newstart allowance after being rejected for or losing their DSP. This information will assist in highlighting what life is like on these lower payments. We will also be looking at how people are progressing in their quest to gain employment.
PWD’s representative on the DSP Advisory Group is Michael Bleasdale, Executive Director, Leadership Team who can be contacted on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PWD has a long history of advocating for the closure of institutions. We have strongly opposed the redevelopment of institutions in NSW, arguing that such redevelopment is contrary to the NSW Disability Services Act and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
In pursuing this issue, we have recently taken the step of lodging a complaint under the CRPD. Before a CRPD complaint can be made to the United Nations CRPD Committee, all domestic remedies must be exhausted. This means we have needed to first lodge a complaint with the Australia Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
CRPD complaints to the AHRC must be made against the Commonwealth. In summary, our CRPD complaint alleges that the Commonwealth has breached CRPD articles 5, 14, 19 and 28 with regard to the funding of NSW to provide residential facilities to people with disability by:
PWD is now awaiting a response from the Commonwealth, but we have conveyed our view that we would like this to be an opportunity to work towards action by the Commonwealth that demonstrates leadership in the area of community living for people with disability in Australia.
For more information contact Matthew Bowden, Executive Director, Leadership Team on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email email@example.com
On 10 November 2011, a complaint was lodged by the Victorian Disability Discrimination Legal Service (DDLS) to the Australian Human Rights Commission challenging systemic discriminatory practices of the Australian social security system and alleging breach of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).
“The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) has been highlighting for more than a decade that the current exemption of the DDA from the Social Security Act 1991 is unjust and increases pressures on individuals with disability that in turn can lead to worsening of their physical and mental health,” said Sibylle Kaczorek, NEDA Executive Officer, in a media release issued on 10 November.
“The DDLS argues that the 10 year waiting period which is justified by the exemption of the DDA from the Social Security Act in fact breaches Article 25 of the CRPD, which guarantees the right to access the highest attainable standard of health’ said Ms Kaczorek.
The DDLS is further arguing that the exemption ‘breaches Article 28 Adequate Standard of Living and Social Protection especially as it relates to point A, that people with disabilities can get necessary services, equipment and help for disability related needs.’
A story appeared on ABC Radio on 4 November which discussed the current discriminatory nature of Australia’s migration laws, which prevent people with disability from migrating to Australia.
PWD has discussed this issue in Ebulletin 68 and been part of the campaign to change discrimination in migration law and practice in Australia. We actively support the concerns held by the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) over the Federal Government’s stance on skilled migrants with disability and the assertion that it is time for the Australian Government to demonstrate its acceptance of human rights for people with disability and to get rid of barriers that prevent the skills shortage from being addressed.
The ABC story featured an interview with Brandon Ah Tong, Policy and Public Affairs Advisor with Vision Australia and Senator Sue Boyce, Liberal senator for Queensland.
The transcript for the story is available on ABC Radio Online - Disabled migrants still not welcome
ADJC Position statement on the inappropriate incarceration of Aboriginal people with a cognitive impairment
On 28 October, the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign (ADJC) launched its position statement on the inappropriate incarceration of people with a cognitive impairment.
The statement calls for Australian governments to develop and implement legislative and service frameworks to address the needs of Aboriginal alleged offenders with cognitive impairment, including:
The ADJC also seeks the end of the widespread and unwarranted use of prisons for the management of unconvicted Aboriginal persons with cognitive impairment.
To read the full statement, visit the ADJC page on the PWD website www.pwd.org.au/systemic/adjc.html
On 22 November, Minister for Education, Peter Garrett announced that Auslan (Australian Sign Language) will be included in the National Curriculum. This announcement was welcomed by representative organisations, including PWD and Deaf Australia.
“We believe every deaf child has the right to communicate in the way that suits them best and for many deaf children, this means being bilingual in both English and Auslan,” said Karen Lloyd AM, Executive Officer of Deaf Australia, in a media release issued on 23 November.
“This announcement brings us one step closer to realising this goal for young deaf Australians and will change how Auslan and deaf people are perceived by a new generation of Australians, both deaf and hearing,” said Ms Lloyd.
The curriculum recognises the connection between young people learning their native language and achieving a secure acceptance of their own identity and helping them to develop a wider recognition and understanding of their language and culture. Many bilingual deaf Australians often identify with Auslan as a native language and find it more effective to communicate and learn using Auslan. This does not exclude the value of English, but further emphasises the need for bilingual learning.
Australia was represented at the DPI World Assembly by a delegation of ten Australian people with disability brought together by People with Disability Australia (PWD) and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO).
Both AFDO and PWD share a proud history of working towards the achievement of human rights for people with disability both domestically and internationally and this Assembly was an opportunity to continue our commitment to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) throughout all Australian jurisdictions and in the international arena.
The ten delegates to the Assembly were:
Participation at the DPI World Assembly provided the opportunity to share best practice human rights advocacy and raise awareness of human rights Issues affecting people with disability, within Australia and at the regional and international level.
Participation by people with disability from Australia at this Assembly has increased our collective understanding of best practice promotion of human rights and advocacy, while increasing international awareness of human rights issues affecting people with disability in Australia.
The DPI Assembly provided the opportunity for Australian representative organisations – referred to internationally as Disabled Peoples Organistions (DPOs) - to network and further build our capacity to promote the CRPD compliance within Australia.
The Assembly topics focussed on practical strategies for achieving ratification and implementation of the CRPD. Parallel Topics included:
The Australian delegates made a number of successful presentations focused on CRPD implementation and monitoring in Australia, with topics covering the NGO process for reporting on CRPD to the United Nations, rights to inclusion for people with intellectual disability, rights to community living, HIV and disability rights and rights of people with psychosocial disability. Further details of these presentations and key outcomes are listed below.
The Australian Delegation highlighted the following key areas for further development:
You can download the final ‘Durban Declaration’ and Assembly presentations from www.dpi.org.au. A full copy of the Australian Delegation Report will be available on the PWD Website shortly.
To read more about the World Assembly, including the day by day updates from the delegates, visit www.pwd.org.au/dpi-worldassembly2011.html
For further information about PWD input to the World Assembly, please contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pacific Disabled Persons Organisation (DPO) Fund has been established by the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) with funding from the New Zealand and Australian Agencies for International Development (NZAID and AusAID). The purpose of the Pacific DPO Fund is to improve the lives of persons with disability by supporting the organisational development and project work of Pacific Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) .
PWD has supported the establishment and administration of the Fund through active participation in the Pacific Disability Forum and is currently represented on the Funds Committee. PWD is one of three elected members from the PDF. The third round of funds has recently closed and PWD will be working with the PDF and other Committee members to assess applications from Pacific DPOs.
Further information about PWDs participation and support for the Pacific Disability Forum and Pacific Fund Committee, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email email@example.com
For further information about the Pacific DPO Fund, contact:
On 31 October, PWD hosted a delegation from South Korean Rehabilitation Services and provided presentations on PWDs work and the broader disability advocacy sector in Australia.
PWD receives a number of requests to host foreign delegations, which is an opportunity to share good practices and the challenges facing people with disability in our respective countries. Hosting delegations from the disability sector is also a way in which PWD supports international cooperation, which is an area covered by Article 32 of the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
For further information about PWDs hosting of foreign delegations and requests to visit PWD contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC) Practitioner’s Group Meeting, 10 November 2011
PWD participated in the Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC) ‘Practitioners Interest Group’ meeting where organisations involved in international development programs came together to discuss disability-inclusive practices and practice.
PWD was the only Disabled Person’s Organisation (DPO) at the meeting, so it was an opportunity to highlight the work that PWD has done in supporting DPOs in Asia and Pacific, our role on the Pacific Disability Forum and other capacity-building projects.
It was also an opportunity to emphasise to the group how critical it is to make contact with organisations of persons with disability in any development project to ensure people with disability are genuinely included in decision-making about development programs.
For further information on the consultancy, training project work that PWD provides in the area of disability and development, please contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email email@example.com
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) met for its sixth session from 19-23 September 2011, to review Spain’s progress in CRPD implementation and to adopt the list of issues for the review of Peru. Key themes of Spain’s review included the role of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the national legal framework, the restricted legal capacity of persons with disability and the issue of reasonable accommodation.
Reasonable accommodation was a major theme in the Committee’s recommendations. Despite its explicit incorporation into Spanish law, the Committee found the denial of reasonable accommodation was not systematically recognised as discrimination in practice. The Committee observed that the decision to provide reasonable accommodation was made conditional upon the severity of a person’s disability. It also observed that there was a general lack of understanding of the concept of reasonable accommodation by public and private actors, including what constitutes ‘accommodation’ and what can be considered ‘reasonable’.
Consequently, the Committee said that Spain fails to respect several provisions under the CRPD, including the prohibition of discrimination, the right to education and the right to live in the community. Click here to download the full Report from the Committee.
On 9 November 2011, the Australian High Commission to Fiji announced five disability support organisations would be receiving funding worth FJ$235000 under Australian aid infrastructure and capital grants to increase their outreach.
The organisations which are benefitting from the Australian funding include the Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation, Counterstroke Fiji, the United Blind Persons of Fiji, the Psychiatric Survivors Association of Fiji and the Spinal Injury Association of Fiji.
Australia’s Acting High Commissioner to Fiji, Ms Judith Robinson handed over vehicles, office equipment and medical equipment to the successful recipients of the AusAID grant. Click here to read more about the funding
Women with disability are among the most vulnerable when it comes to gender-based violence, yet support services for them in Fiji are severely lacking, according to a media release issued by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) on 16 November.
Naomi Navoce, the Gender and Youth Officer at the Pacific Disability Forum, attended the National Network Meeting on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Suva and spoke of how many women and girls with disability never report attacks to authorities because of stigma, fear and difficulties of access.
“Violence against women with disabilities is one of the sensitive issues. There are girls and women with disability out there who are living silently in fear because they are victims of violence and abuse,” said Ms Navoce in FWCC’s media release.
The National Network Meeting was organised by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre to enable those working in the area of eliminating violence against women to share their knowledge and to work more cohesively and effectively.
The four-day meeting was organised by the FWCC, and gathered some 100 delegates including representatives from the Fiji Police Force, Social Welfare Department, Legal Aid Commission, Provincial Councils as well community, disability representatives, faith-based organisations and women’s groups from diverse locations such as Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Naitasiri and Serua, and the Western Division.
Where has the year gone? Hasn’t it just flown by?
I would like to thank the Board for all the hard work they did this year and for their support. I wish Joe Mannix all the very best as he completes his second term on the Board and I would like to extend the Boards’ gratitude for his hard work as Treasurer for 2011 - all the very best to you Joe!
The AGM was a success and I welcome our three New Board Members Heidi Forrest, Faye Druett and Craig Wallace into the fray for the next two years; likewise Mary Anne Bath and Peter Cassar who were re-elected for their second term.
As a member of the Australian Delegation to the Disabled People’s International (DPI) World Assembly in October I was very proud of the way AFDO and PWD worked together and made their presentations very informative, powerful and well received. The whole experience of participating at DPI was awesome and a real eye opener as it demonstrated how we in Australia compare to other countries around the world regarding disability issues. We always complain about our lot, but believe you me, we are much better off in more ways than one than other people with disability living in poorer countries. But this doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels regarding UNCRPD and NDIS.
On 24 October I received a ‘Law and Justice Volunteer Award’ from the Law and Justice Foundation, this made me feel very humble and proud. I wish to thank my nominator and all who were in support.
In closing I like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year, and I look forward to seeing you all at our New Office in 2012.
Jan Daisley, PWD President
Following the 2011 AGM, the new Board met to nominate and elect a new Treasurer until the 2012 AGM and an interim Vice-President and interim Secretary until the first Board meeting in February 2012.
The following Board members were elected into these positions:
On 24 October, PWD Executive Director Michael Bleasdale, President Jan Daisley and Secretary Peter Cassar attended the NSW Law and Justice Foundation Awards Night. At this prestigious event, Jan Daisley was announced as the joint winner of the Law and Justice Volunteer Award. She received a trophy and was invited to speak to those assembled.
PWD is extremely proud of Jan’s achievement, which was for her voluntary work with PWD over the past 30 years and in the sector more broadly. The program that was distributed at the function described Jan’s activism against discriminatory treatment in institutions, stating that:
“Through her work, many people with disability have been empowered to access support and services that enable them to participate fully in the community. Jan’s expertise and leadership has gained the respect of ministers and senior public servants and she respectfully represents the views and needs of people with disability.”
The Board is looking for PWD members who are interested in providing personal accounts of their positive and negative experiences of access. Access to transport, the built environment, information and communication, the internet and telecommunications or any other access issues of importance to you could be valuable to share.
The personal stories will be used by the Board for the first 2012 edition of Link Up, which will focus on Accessibility.
If you would like to provide a story, please contact Therese Sands, Executive Director, Leadership Team on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email firstname.lastname@example.org
14 October 2011: Australians with disability participate in World Assembly
31 October 2011: Jetstar’s ‘two wheelchair policy’ challenged in federal court
1 December 2011: World AIDS Day: Let’s talk about accessible Sex Ed
PWD is currently reviewing its training 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 two-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 one-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.
Click here to read further information on our website. Alternatively, contact PWD Training: Telephone: (02) 9370 3100 Email: email@example.com
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
20-21 February 2012: Melbourne, VIC International Conference on Human Rights in Closed Environments at Monash University Law Chambers. Click here for more information
12 – 14 March 2012: Bangkok, Thailand Disability-Inclusive MDGs and Aid Effectiveness Conference at the UN Conference Centre. Click here for more information
14-17 March 2011: Auckland, New Zealand Promoting actions on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in the Pacific Region at the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) Regional Conference on Disability 2011. For more information www.pacificdisability.org
24-25 March 2012: Honolulu, Hawaii. Pacific Rim International Forum, hosted by the Centre on Disability Studies (CDS), at the University of Hawaii. For more information contact Charmaine Crockett firstname.lastname@example.org
26-27 March 2012: Honolulu, Hawaii. 28th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability & Diversity "Living to Our Complete Potential". For more information contact: email@example.com or www.pacrim.hawaii.edu
17-21 September 2012: New Delhi, India. TRANSED 2012: The 13th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled People. Click here for the call for abstracts
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
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