PWD E-Bulletin

Issue 76 March 2012 - ISSN 2202-0705

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Disability Rights Defenders


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. If you’d like to know more about the Disability Rights Defender Program, click here.


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New South Wales News

Inquest into the deaths of six people with disability living in a licensed boarding house


PWD was shocked and appalled by evidence heard at an inquest at Glebe Coroner’s Court from 12-16 March 2012, into the deaths of six people with disability over a fourteen month period at Sydney licensed boarding house, 300 Livingstone Road, Marrickville. The Inquest again raises serious questions about the competence of NSW Department of Family & Community Services - Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) in fulfilling its clear legislative responsibility to monitor licenced boarding houses and ensure the safety, health, rights and freedoms of residents.


In response to the information revealed during the inquest, which remains  ongoing, PWD issued a media release on 16 March 2012 calling on the NSW Government to start making real reforms in the boarding house sector. This media release was endorsed by the NSW Consumer Advisory Group – Mental Health Inc., the Australian Centre for Disability Law, Dr Gabrielle Drake, and the Tenant’s Union of NSW.


PWD is funded by ADHC to provide advocacy services to people with disability living in licensed boarding houses in NSW, and strongly advocates for the rights of the residents to live lives free from abuse and exploitation. Please click here to read more about these services. Last year PWD brought critical attention to allegations of abuse and exploitation of residents at another NSW licensed boarding house, which resulted in the majority of those residents being removed and placed in alternative accommodation (these allegations remain subject to Police investigation).


Further highlighted by this Inquest is the inadequacy of health services and health practitioners working with people with disability living in licensed boarding houses. These issues have also been repeatedly reported on by the NSW Ombudsman in its reviews of the deaths of people with disability living in licensed boarding houses over many years, and again little action has been taken to rectify the situation.


PWD and its supporters are now calling on the Minister for Disability Services to acknowledge the circumstances of the deaths of Shaneen Batts, Ilona Takacs, Dorothy Hudson, Ian Birks, Donald MacKellar and Mohammed Ramzan, and to immediately plan for the closure of all licensed boarding houses for people with disability in NSW, and for the relocation of residents into safe housing in the community with appropriate individualised support.

Click here to download the full PWD Media Release issued in relation to this case.


The Inquest has received a substantial amount of media coverage, including the story Serious issues at boarding house where six died: inquest which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 12 March and this story in the Inner West Courier on 15 March: Call to reform Marrickville boarding houses.

Temporary Exemption to Age Discrimination Act granted by the Human Rights Commission

PWD was pleased to learn that Temporary Exemptions to the Age Discrimination Act was granted by the Australian Human Rights Commission and Anti-Discrimination Board to the Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) to prevent people with disability under the age of 18 from living in licensed boarding houses in NSW.


In a submission written in response to ADHC’s Application for Exemption, PWD advised the Commission that it “fully supported” the Application, and agreed that licensed boarding houses are not safe or suitable places for persons under 18 years of age. In its submission PWD stated that the relevant considerations in relation to the Application were the rights outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability (CRPD). PWD particularly noted Article 7 (children with disabilities) and Article 23 (respect for home and family) of the CRPD which specifically address the rights of children with disability.


The Tenants Union of New South Wales also supports the Temporary Exemption, expressing this view in their response to the Application and arguing that boarding houses are not suitable places of accommodation for minors. In its submission, the Tenants Union argued that “all too often, (licensed boarding houses) reproduce the segregation, exploitation and abuse of the large institutions they were meant to replace”, and that they believe that there is no place in the future of our housing system for these institutionalising places.


The temporary exemptions granted in both cases were subject to special conditions, are outlined below:

The ADB granted an exemption to remain in force for one year (until 24 October 2012) subject to the following condition:

·         ADHC is required to advise the Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales, every six months from the date of this Exemption Order, over the year period specified in the order, of the number of persons under the age of 18 years that are screened by the Screening Tool and deemed unsuitable to become residents in a licensed residential centres in New South Wales.

The AHRC also granted the exemption for one year, specifying that ADHC has a period of time to devise a scheme to ensure the improvement of conditions within licensed boarding houses. To this end, ADHC must advise the Commission of the steps that it has taken during the exemption period to ensure greater compliance with the YACS Act and YACS Regulations and the improvement of conditions within licensed boarding houses generally and the exemption is granted subject to the following conditions.


1.      Within 14 days of the date of conclusion of the exemption period, ADHC must advise the Commission:


a)    of any measures taken by the Applicant during the exemption period to ensure that operators and proprietors of licensed boarding houses comply with the requirements of the Youth and Community Services Act 1973 (YACS Act) and Youth and Community Services Regulation 2010 (YACS Regulations);

b)    of any measures taken by the Applicant during the exemption period to reduce the level of violence or abuse experienced by residents of licensed boarding houses;

c)    of any measures taken by the Applicant during the exemption period to improve the accommodation and services provided to residents of licensed boarding houses; and

d)    of any allegations of abuse, neglect, misconduct or breach of the YACS Act or YACS Regulations within a licensed boarding house. In relation to each alleged incident, the Applicant is required to advise the Commission: what was alleged, in which licensed boarding house the event is alleged to have taken place and what, if any, action the Applicant took or is taking to address the alleged breach.


2.      ADHC must maintain its Prioritisation and Allocations policy which provides that children at risk of homelessness and some children at risk of harm are among the Applicant’s ‘highest priorities, requiring an immediate response.’


Click here to go to the Human Rights Commission Website to learn more about the Temporary Examption.

NSW Disability Network Forum – Update

PWD is a member of the NSW Disability Network Forum (DNF), which was established in June 2011 by the NSW Government.


The membership of DNF is open to NSW:

·         State-wide non-government non-provider organisations, representing people with all types of impairment (cross-disability) and / or people with specific types of impairment, as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992;

·         Specific non-government advocacy organisations and information providers which are committed to the purposes of DNF.

The purpose of the NSW Disability Network Forum (DNF) includes:


a) To develop a better understanding by disability peak organisations in NSW of new and emerging trends and developments affecting public policy and service delivery for people with disability.


b) To consider feedback from people with disability through Forum members and other mechanisms, on the adequacy, scope, range, availability and quality of disability service supports, mainstream sectors and the community at large.


c) To advance debate and discussion on these issues with a view to influencing and enhancing the policy development process and advising Government and others on disability policy directions, or policies impacting on people with disability, within NSW and nationally.


d) To make representations with and on behalf of people with disability in NSW to Government, and present a co-ordinated front in campaigning on issues of significance for people with disability.


e) To work together to promote a better understanding in the broader community of people with disability.


f) To develop and advance positions of common interest, understand where and why differences occur and how those differences can be addressed


g) To provide a safe place for robust discussion.


h) To work collaboratively and represent combined voices in the interest of people with disability.


i) To strengthen the role of peaks, advocacy, information services both individually and as a collective.In December 2011, PWD joined other DNF members to develop a submission to the National Disability Strategy Implementation Plan. This submission was given to the NSW Government - Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) as part of a NSW response, and also sent directly to the Hon Jenny Macklin, Minister for Disability Reform, and Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers. This submission is now available on the NCOSS website – click here to download the submission.


In February 2012, the DNF received a comprehensive briefing from Family Advocacy on the Supported Living Fund seminars for prospective applicants across NSW. Members were provided positive and constructive feedback on the presentation before roll out in February. Click here for more information on this session. PWD also presented a workshop to the DNF on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities providing comprehensive information about CRPD, its development, importance and application. 


The NSW Disability Network Forum can be contacted through the secretariat located at NCOSS.  Christine Regan is the Forum Coordinator, ph. 92112599 ext. 117 or email or Val Kors (Wed – Fri) ph. 92112599 ext. 123 or email

Auslan world first for Survey Monkey

A world-first online survey using Survey Monkey, written in English accompanied by videos of sign language consultants translating each question into Auslan (Australian Sign Language) has been created by Accessible Arts NSW.


“As part of the Deaf Arts Access Project, Accessible Arts designed a survey to explore the experiences and participation of artists and audience members who are deaf,” said Naomi Malone, Project Officer at Accessible Arts, in a media release issued on 15 March 2012.


The Deaf Arts Access Project examines the limited opportunities for people who are deaf who want to attend and participate in the arts. It will culminate in a consultative Arts meeting to be held at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta on at Saturday 12 May 2012 to gather findings and devise strategies to improve access for people who are deaf. The Deaf Arts Access Project Survey has now been online for six weeks and has engaged approximately 60 people to date.


Please click here to take part in the Deaf Arts Access Survey, which is open until Sunday 1 April 2012. For more information, please contact Naomi Malone at

Participate in 'Living in the City' - Research on the Built Environment

PWD is hosting a series of focus group meetings in collaboration with a PhD research student at the University of Sydney, Lesley Lewis, who wishes to recruit people to take part in action research about the built environment here in Sydney.  The first of these focus groups will take place at the office of PWD, 52 Pitt Street, Redfern, at 3pm on Friday 13 April 2012. There are still spaces available for people who wish to participate. Lesley is looking for 10 to 20 people with disability who would like to be involved in a focus group associated with this PhD research project. The focus group meetings will be facilitated by Lesley, who would like to hear what you think needs to change to make living in the city better, more comfortable, more secure and more varied for people with disability. Lesley University of Sydney project Supervisor is Dr Kurt Iveson, Senior Lecturer at the School of Geosciences and the Associate Supervisor is Professor Patricia O’Brien, Centre for Disability Studies, University of Sydney.


Involvement in the focus group is voluntary, with food and drinks being provided. Lesley is interested to hear from people who would like to join the group as they meet once a month for 10 to 12 months, to share ideas, make new friends and learn to develop confidence and skills in expressing your opinion about matters that are important to you.


The meeting room is on the ground floor at the PWD office and is wheelchair accessible. Participants are welcome to bring along a support person, family member or advocate to the meetings, to make sure they are comfortable and relaxed, and to help with communication if that is necessary.


People from PWD and IDEAS will be in attendance at every meeting, to mentor the members of the focus group and be there if participants need to talk about matters raised by the group.


If you are interested in joining these focus groups or for more information contact Gyongyi Horvath on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email, or Diana Palmer, Manager-Advocacy at IDEAS on (02) 9211 1300 or email

NSW Government Living Life My Way – Launch of the final consultation stage

The NSW Minister for Disability Services, the Hon Andrew Constance, will be hosting an event on Tuesday 24 April 2012 to launch the final stage of the NSW Government’s Living Life My Way Person Centred Approaches consultations, and the discussion paper that will be the basis of these consultations.  People with disability, their families and carers are invited to attend this launch.


The aim of the launch is to highlight the upcoming consultations, which will seek the opinions of people with disability, their families and carers on the proposed approach that has been developed in response to feedback from the summit and the consultations in 2011.This twelve-month consultation process began in July 2011 with the Living Life My Way summit and continued with extensive statewide consultations between August and December 2011.


The report on the outcomes of these consultations is now available on the ADHC website – click here to access the report.


The launch event will take place at the Allphones (formerly Acer) Arena, Sydney Olympic Park, Acer Arena, Sydney Olympic Park. Click here for more information.

Outsourcing Community Service Delivery – Inquiry

The NSW Government is currently carrying out an Inquiry to investigate and report on the contracting out of service delivery, such as housing, disability and home care services from the Government to the non-Government sector.


The Inquiry will focus on the extent to which this process is appropriately managed, that probity and accountability mechanisms are in place to monitor service providers and to ensure that organisations are delivering quality services to their clients. The Inquiry will also consider strategies to assist local providers to improve service delivery and to increase cost effectiveness.


The inquiry was established on 22 February 2012 and is being conducted by the NSW Legislative Assembly Community Services Committee.


The Committee is currently calling for submissions, the closing date for which is 27 April 2012.


Click here to visit the NSW Parliament Website if you would like to learn more about this Inquiry or make a submission.

NSW Transport Long Term Transport Plan

As reported in PWD’s February E-Bulletin, The NSW Government has recently announced its plans for its State Long Term Transport Master Plan with the release of a Discussion Paper on 27 February 2012. Transport For NSW is seeking feedback on this plan.


There are a number of ways in which people with disability can have input into the consultations including attending forums, completing online feedback or making written submissions. We encourage people with disability with experience of NSW’s transport system to contribute to this process.


Click here to see the list of the advertised dates and locations of regional forums.


PWD will be having input into this process in a number of ways:

·         Our attendance at the Transport for NSW’s Sydney Consultation forum on 3 April; as well as

·        Our membership of the NSW Transport Access Advisory Committee.

We also plan to make a written submission to this process in Mid-2012 when the draft NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan will be released for comment.  


If PWD Members have examples from your own experience that you would like highlighted through PWD’s representation at the Sydney forum or via the Advisory Committee contact Sam French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

Focus Group on ‘Transport for NSW Disability Action Plan’

PWD is hosting a focus group meeting in collaboration with Transport for NSW to hear about some of the key priorities for people with disability in accessing public transport in NSW related to customer service. The discussion will focus on changes to public transport services that would be helpful to people with disability, including: information services; complaints handling; problems that exist for people with disability moving between different forms of transport in a single journey; and suggestions for improving the safety of people with disability during their journey on public transport. The focus group discussion will provide input from the perspective of people with disability to the development of strategies and actions for the ‘Transport for NSW Disability Action Plan’. 


Please note that physical access matters related to transport infrastructure will not be the focus of this discussion as Transport NSW is addressing the inaccessibility of some transport infrastructure through a 10 year funding program. 


The focus group details are:

Date: Tuesday 24 April 2012

Time: 2pm – 4pm

Venue: PWD Office, 52 Pitt Street, Redfern


The meeting room is on the ground floor at the PWD office and is wheelchair accessible. Involvement in the focus group is voluntary, with food and drinks being provided.


Places are limited so those who are attending need to register their interest and advise us of any participation and accessibility requirements by contacting Sam French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


PWD is also a member of the NSW Transport Access Advisory Committee, so if you are unable to participate in the focus group, but would like to provide comments on this and other transport matters, please forward your comments to Samantha French.

Training workshops for disability services

The NSW Ombudsman’s office recently released two new training workshops specifically tailored for the disability services sector: Handling serious incidents in the disability sector and Implementing a quality complaints management system in the disability sector.


Handling serious incidents in the disability sector focuses on how to respond to serious incidents of abuse and neglect that may arise in a disability service setting.  Implementing a quality complaints management system in the disability sector focuses on the essential elements of a quality complaints management system. It is tailored for the disability sector and based on current legislative and industry requirements, quality assurance frameworks and the Stronger Together 2 priorities for person-centred approaches to service delivery.


Both workshops form part of the NSW Ombudsman’s training calendar for Feb-June 2012, along with a range of other workshops developed for the community and disability services sector.


To learn more about these training workshops, please click here to visit the NSW Ombudsman’s website.

Police Disability Advisory Council reconvenes with new members

In a Media Release issued on 1 March 2012, the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) announced the ten new members of the NSWPF Disability Advisory Council (DAC).


The members are Leanne Dowse, Paule Jarvis, Karen Jordan, David Kleinhelrer, Linda Maidens, Craig Maynard, Peter A Simpson, Jordanna Smith, Mike Sprange, and Steve Widders. The ten new members will attend meetings, participate in working groups, provide on-call advice and assist with community consultations over a three year term on issues affecting people with a disability who are in contact with the criminal justice system. NSWPF DAC meet for the first time on Wednesday 22 February 2012.


Further information about the Disability Advisory Council will be available on the NSW Police Force website or by contacting  


Click here to read the full media release from the NSWPF.

Study exploring ‘transition experiences’ of adults with disability

A Northcott study is exploring the ‘transition experiences’ of adults with disability (aged 40–65 years) living in New South Wales.


The research team is interested in collecting transition stories of people who have a disability. It can be any kind of transition (for example, moving house, changing jobs, retiring, changes due to getting older, etc.) and the person can have any kind of disability that developed or existed before the person was 18 years of age. The limitations are that the person should be aged between 40 – 65 years and he or she currently lives in New South Wales.


The researchers are encouraging stories to be recorded online, using the project survey. Click here to access the survey and record your experiences. A potential participant can also ask a proxy – such as a carer, relative, or friend - to complete the survey on his or her behalf.


Story telling could be conducted also via phone or a face to face interview. Potential participants can call Dr Orit Ben-Harush at 0266805680 or email: to arrange a story telling via one of these options.


The results of the study will be provided to the NSW Government Department of Ageing, Disability, and Home Care (ADHC).

Click here for further information about the study from the Northcott website.

Researching the Support Needs of People with Younger Onset Dementia and their Families

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) are surveying people with younger onset dementia and their families and carers in order to understand their service and support requirements and identify appropriate service models for them. This study is funded by the NSW Government - Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC).


There are separate versions of the survey for people with younger onset dementia and their families/carers, who are NSW residents only. These can be filled out online or as a printed copy. Full instructions for completing the survey are on the webpage provided. The surveys will be available until 10 April 2012.


Click here to learn more about the survey from the SPRC website. For more information about the research or a printed copy, please contact Jo-Ann Brown at Alzheimer’s Australia NSW on or (02) 8875 4636.

Nominate for the NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards

The NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards are an initiative of the State Government in partnership with National Disability Services (NDS) NSW. They offer an opportunity to recognise and reward excellence and innovation demonstrated by the people and non-government community based organisations working in the disability services sector.

The Minister for Disability Services, The Hon. Andrew Constance MP, launched the inaugural NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards at the NDS NSW Annual State Conference in February 2012.

The awards are committed to showcasing innovation and best practice in the services sector. The nominations will be considered against transparent criteria through the judging process. To ensure the quality and integrity of the awards, there may not be a winner in every category, or there may be more than one winner. Each nomination will be considered on its individual merit. Nominations close on Friday 20 April 2012.

If you would like to nominate an organisation or individual for an NDS Industry Innovation Award or want to learn more about the awards, click here to visit the NSW Disability Industry Innovation Awards webpage. A number of accessible versions of all material are available.

Digital Switchover Taskforce Update

As reported in previous PWD E-bulletins, between 2010 and 2013, Australia is switching off the analog TV signals and converting to digital-only TV. The next stage will commence on 5 June 2012 where areas of Southern and Central NSW, ACT and Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) will be converted.  Households that do not have a digital set-top-box or digital TV on that date will no longer be able to watch free-to-air TV.


The Digital Switchover Taskforce is aware that many people in the community, such as older persons, people with disability or those with low incomes, may need particular assistance to convert to digital TV.


The mySwitch tool on the Digital Ready website, enables residents to find information about the digital TV services they should expect to receive at their location and advice on how to get the best digital TV reception, including information about local transmitters.


The Australian Government is also providing practical and financial assistance to help eligible households switch to digital TV. Two assistance schemes are currently available; the ‘Household Assistance Scheme’ and the ’Satellite Subsidy Scheme’


For more information about the switch to digital TV, and the two assistance schemes, visit or call the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13.

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Other State and Territory News

Western Australia: Draft Mental Health Bill 2011

PWD supports the concerns raised by a number of organisations about the draft West Australian (WA) Mental Health Bill 2011, which was launched on16 December 2011 and which includes the proposal that children as young as 12 could consent to treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy, psychosurgery and sterilisation without parental permission.


In response to the release of the Draft Bill, PWD made a brief submission addressing the issue of sterilisation raising our strong objections to the non-therapeutic sterilisation of persons with disability proposed by this Bill. Such measures we believe are a particularly egregious form of human rights abuse, and one that impacts particularly on girls and women with disability. As detailed in previous E-Bulletin editions we have long called for comprehensive law reform to provide effective guarantees against such abuse which is why we are highly concerned about the proposed measures outlined in this WA Bill which allows for the sterilisation of persons with mental illness including children.


PWD strongly believes that children with disability have the same right as children without disability not to be sterilised and to maintain their bodily integrity. In failing to develop legislation which prohibits sterilisation of any child unless there is a serious threat to heath or life, the Western Australian Government is continuing to deny girls with disability their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The proposed measures outlined in the draft Bill also represent clear breaches of Australia’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD). Concerns relating to Australia’s compliance to CRC was raised some four years ago by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which encouraged Australia to prohibit the sterilisation of children, with or without disability.


PWD Organisational Member People with Disabilities WA (PWDWA) also made a submission to the Mental Health Commission, with the principal recommendation that Part 12, Division 3: Sterilisation Procedure be removed from the Mental Health Bill (WA) 2011, a stance which PWD wholly endorses.


Another PWD Organisational Member, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) wrote a letter to the Hon Helen Morton MLC, WA Minister for Mental Health, also expressing concern at Part 12 of the Draft Bill, which they argued contravenes many of the human rights instruments to which Australia is a signatory and, most critically, infringes on the fundamental human rights of women and girls with disability to bodily integrity. Click here to read the WWDA submission.


WA's Commissioner for Children and Young People also recommended an overhaul of draft laws, including that electroconvulsive therapy and psychotherapy be banned on anyone under the age of 18. Click here to read a news story about the Commission’s submission.


Click here to learn more about the Mental Health Bill 2011 from the WA Mental Health Commission, including the submissions it received during the consultation period.


Click here to read more about PWD’s stance on sterilisation of people with disability.


Click here to read a news story on the proposed Mental Health Bill – Morton welcomes mental health debate – Sky News Online (published 22 March 2012).

Western Australia: News from WWDWA

Towards the end of 2011, Women with Disabilities Western Australia (WWDWA) received a Disability Support Group Development Grant from the Developmental Disability Council.  Among other things, they will be using this funding to develop a new website for WWDWA Inc., a new logo and professional brochures and facilitate training for the WWDWA Management Committee. With this funding they will also be able to hold Monthly Forums for the first half of 2012.

WWDWA will also now be able to hire Sign Language interpreters for the Monthly Forums for Deaf and Hard of Hearing women. As a largely unfunded organisation, WWDWA hasn't been able to provide this essential service in the past, so they are excited that this grant will enable them to provide it for the next few forums.

WWDWA will also be using some of the funding to have group chats by phone for women with disability who are unable to get to the forums.  To learn more, please email or call on (08) 9244 7463 to register your interest.

Queensland: Breaking Into Law – Disability Education Options

Breaking Into Law: Disability Education Options is a project which works with up to ten people with physical disability referred to the Griffith Law School (GLS) by the Spinal Injuries Association QLD (SIA). It aims to assist participants to enrol in a program to work towards a law degree by adopting a three-prong approach:

·         students gain an understanding of the potential of legal education, familiarity with university life and may enrol on campus in the second semester of the year;

·         post enrolment mentoring and peer support;

·         bursaries to assist with extra costs of disability in education.

There are only limited places available in the program so interested people should email and request an 'Expression of Interest' form if they wish to take part in the project. Potential students must attend 2 preliminary workshops, which will take place in the Brisbane area.

This project is a partnership between Griffith Law School & Employment Options section of the Spinal Injuries Association (Qld).  For more information, click here to visit their Facebook Site.

Queensland: QAI commends LNP on disability-related policies

In a media release issued on 20 March 2012, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) Director Mr Ken Wade commended the Liberal National Party (LNP) on the disability-related policies it announced on Saturday 18 March 2012, including its commitment to establish the Public Advocate as a separate and autonomous statutory authority.

‘The Public Advocate is a watchdog that protects Queensland’s most vulnerable citizens.  A strengthened statutory mandate is promising, but the devil’s in the details’ said Mr Wade in the media release.

Click here to read the full media release from QAI.

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National news

National AusAID Mid-Term Review of ‘Development for All Strategy’

'Development for All: Towards a disability-inclusive Australian aid program 2009-2014' sets out practical approaches to guide the Australian aid program in meeting the needs and priorities of people with disability.AusAID has commissioned a mid-term review of its Strategy for disability-inclusive development, Development for All.  

The strategy focuses on achieving three core outcomes:

    1. improved quality of life for people with disability;
    2. reduced preventable impairments;
    3. effective leadership on disability and development.


And two enabling outcomes:

    1. AusAID skilled and confident in disability inclusive development; and
    2. improved understanding of disability and development.


The strategy runs until 2014. The purpose of this review is to identify what has been achieved so far and to provide information to improve and refine the work undertaken under the strategy for the remaining years and beyond. Click here to read the Terms of reference for the review. Outcomes of the review will be made publicly available to ensure what we learn helps inform the work of other stakeholders.


AusAID is committed to facilitating a wide and inclusive consultation process for the mid-term review which involves consultations in Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Philippines and Cambodia as well as public consultations in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.


In addition, AusAID is calling for submissions from interested organisations and individuals to contribute to the breadth of thinking and consideration in the review. Click here to read the guidance for making contributions. Please note the deadline for written submissions to the review is 30 April 2012.


PWD has participated in the AusAID consultations conducted as part of the review and we will be submitting comments for the mid-term review. PWD Members wishing to provide input can forward their comments to Sam French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

National Disability Insurance Scheme: Update

PWD continues its strong advocacy for a strong and inclusive National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), in which people with disability are at the forefront of the reforms.


As part of this advocacy, PWD has signed on to be part of the National NDIS Rally, which will take place on 30 April 2012. This rally, which is being organised by the Every Australian Counts Campaign, will aim to be the biggest rally of people with disability ever seen in Australia. Click here for more information on the rally and how you can get involved. PWD will be sending out more information via our website and social media sites as the date for the rally approaches, offering members and supporters’ ways in which they can get involved.


PWD was pleased on 15 March 2012 when Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens Whip, ask a number of questions to the Federal Senate on the issue of inclusion and governance of the NDIS. PWD along with other key disability stakeholder groups have growing concerns about the degree to which the direct voice of people with disability is being heard in the NDIS reform process. The Senator’s questions, included whether or not the government acknowledges that” people with disability should be involved right from the beginning of the process of the development of the NDIS?” and inquiring about what actions the Australian government is taking to “ensure that people with disability are intrinsically involved in all aspects of the development and implementation of the NDIS, right from the beginning of the process?”


In response Senator Chris Evans gave his assurance that people with disability “will be centrally involved in the development of the scheme and its design” however noted that he did not “have any specific briefing on the mechanisms for that engagement” and would take that part of the question on notice. Senator Evans also noted that “Minister Macklin is absolutely committed to working with people with disability to make sure the reform serves their needs, because that is what it is all about”.


Click here to read the full Senate Hansard from Thursday 15 March, including Senator Siewert’s questions.

Disability Employment Services Transition Working Group

PWD recently participated in a meeting of the Disability Employment Services (DES) Transition Working Group (the Working Group), held in Sydney on 8 March. The DES Working Group is a consultative forum that consists of representatives from the disability consumer peak industry organisations, employment services industry peak bodies, employment service providers and government departments.


The Working Group provides advice to the Government on strategies for the successful transition of participants and providers that commenced in early November 2012, following the DES-ESS 2013-2015 purchasing process.


The Working Group reports back to the DES Reference Group on the progress of transition arrangements developed for implementation in early November 2012.


Click here to learn more about the Working Group and to read the minutes from the Working Group meetings.

Proposed National Reform Project: Domestic Violence and Women with Disability

The Australian Government has recognised that significant work is needed to address violence against women with disability in order to reduce the unacceptably high levels of domestic/family violence and sexual assault, and the high levels of unmet needs in terms of access to domestic violence, sexual assault and related community support services for women with disability.


The First Action Plan (2010–2013) of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, (the National Plan), includes two key ‘immediate national initiatives’ specifically focused on women with disability.

They are to:

  • Investigate and promote ways to improve access and responses to services for women with disability;
  • Support better service delivery for children, Indigenous women and women with disability through the development of new evidence based approaches where existing policy and service responses have proved to be inadequate.


The Australian Government is proposing to deliver a national reform project ‘Improving Service Delivery for Women with Disability’, which will form one component of the Commonwealth Government’s multi-layered approach to these initiatives.


The Australian Government (through its Safety Taskforce) has proposed that Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA), be engaged to identify and build the evidence base to inform best practice service delivery to address and prevent violence against women with disability.


In early February 2012, PWD joined a delegation from WWDA to meet with the Safety Taskforce and begin the process of planning the national reform Project. The participants at the day long Planning Forum were Annie Parkinson (WWDA); Sue Salthouse (WWDA) ;Margie Charlesworth (WWDA); Carolyn Frohmader (WWDA); Keran Howe (Women With Disabilities Victoria/WWDA); Donna Justo (WWDA/DV Prevention Centre Gold Coast); Therese Sands (PWD/WWDA); Christina Ryan (WWDA/Advocacy for Inclusion); Fiona Smart, Robyn MacDonald and Deborah Tkalcevic (all from the FaHCSIA Safety Taskforce); and Cristina Ricci (Australian Human Rights Commission). Cristina Ricci also facilitated the Planning Forum. Amy Blain, newly appointed Program Manager of the Australian Women Against Violence alliance (AWAVA), also attended a component of the Day.


Click here to read the WWDA Newsletter which has more information on the planning day.

Launch of First Peoples Disability Network (Australia)

On Friday 30 March 2012, the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) (FPDN) was officially launched at Yaama Dhiyaan in Chippendale, Sydney.


The FPDN (Australia) is the new national peak organisation representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability, their families and carers. FPDN membership is made up of existing state networks of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people living in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. As other networks in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania continue to build their capacity they will achieve full membership status.


The FPDN performs Systemic Advocacy, Capacity Building, Research, Education and Training/Community Development, and Individual Advocacy.


The launch was celebrated with traditional dancers, speeches and performances.


For more information on the FPDN, contact Damian on email, telephone (02) 9519 5005 or at 202/3 Gladstone Street, Newtown NSW 2042.

Deaf Australia and Cinema Captioning

Deaf Australia, the national peak organisation for Deaf people in Australia, has released a comprehensive outline of their position with regards to the Federal Government’s Accessible Cinema Rollout Plan.


Included in this position statement is specific mention of Deaf Australia’s position on CaptiView, a Closed Caption Viewing System for hearing impaired movie audiences. Deaf Australia currently regards CaptiView as the best technology available that works with closed caption systems (and audio descriptions for people who are blind or vision impaired) on the market today. This is despite some concerns from the Deaf community regarding the suitability and functionality of CaptiView.


Deaf Australia has been working with the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group (ACAG) to ensure the needs of Deaf Australians are fully included and considered as this plan is rolled out.


Click here to read more about the new CaptiView Closed Caption Viewing System for hearing impaired movie audiences.  

Human Rights Photo Competition

Have you ever wondered what human rights in Australia look like today?


Budding photographers are being invited by the Australian Human Rights Commission to use their cameras to capture those things that remind people of the importance of living in a fair and equal society, and then enter these photos in the Commission’s 2012 human rights photo competition.


The competition has an under-18 category and a category for those 18 and over. Prizes for the winner of each category are a Canon EOS-1100D Digital SLR Camera Single Kits, which will be presented at the Commission’s Human Rights Awards Ceremony, to be held in December 2012 in Sydney.


A selection of the best photos will also be showcased on the Commission’s website and Flickr page.


Click here for details on the competition guidelines and how to submit your photo.  

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International News

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (UN ESCAP) Regional Preparatory Meeting on the New Asian and Pacific Decade, 2013-2022

PWD recently participated in the United Nations Regional Preparatory Meeting on the New Asian and Pacific Decade, 2013-2022, as part of a group of international ‘Civil Society Organisations’ (referred to as CSOs).


The meeting focused on reviewing the draft goals and targets to be included in the “Incheon Strategy” for people with disability in the Asia Pacific. The Incheon Strategy is an action framework for the new Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, which will run from 2013 to 2022. The meeting also promoted the Regional efforts to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) through the ‘Make the Right Real Campaign’  


The following 15 ‘Civil Society Organisations’ (CSOs), were invited to participate at the Regional Preparatory Meeting.

·         Disabled Peoples’ International Asia-Pacific;

·         Inclusion International Asia-Pacific;

·         World Blind Union;

·         World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Asia and the Pacific;

·         World Federation of the Deafblind Asia and the Pacific;

·         World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry Asia-Pacific;

·         Asia and Pacific Disability Forum;

·         ASEAN Autism Network;

·         ASEAN Disability Forum;

·         Pacific Disability Forum;

·         South Asian Disability Forum.

·         Asia-Pacific Development Centre on Disability;

·         Community-based Rehabilitation  Asia-Pacific Network;

·         Digital Accessible Information System Consortium;

·         Rehabilitation International Asia-Pacific.


These CSOs were selected on the basis that they are known to have expertise in participation in UNESCAP meetings and are international organisations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) or a network that represents the interests of persons with disabilities.


PWD participated through its involvement with Disabled People’s International and the Pacific Disability Forum. The 15 CSO’s were required to work collaboratively and provide a unified joint statement on the draft Strategy presented at the meeting. The ‘CSO Joint Statement’ formed the basis for input to the meeting discussions and greatly influenced the revised draft text of the Incheon Strategy. Click here for a copy of the CSO Joint Statement.


Some of the key areas in which the CSO Joint Statement influenced the discussion and which were adopted by the meeting for inclusion in the draft Incheon Strategy were:

·         reference to ‘under-represented groups’, including specific reference to ‘Indigenous persons with disability’;

·         additional goals and targets regarding participation of people with disability in development programs and disaster preparedness;

·         revised specific targets regarding removal of barriers to employment in both private and public sectors;

·         provision of supports to enable independent living;

·         inclusion of targets and actions at local level and for local agencies;

·         inclusion of ‘universal access and design’ principles in creating accessible and enabling environments;

·         specific targets regarding the ratification of the CRPD and its Optional Protocol; and

·         additional goals and targets regarding participation of people with disability in international cooperation.


The ‘Incheon Strategy’ will be finalised at the ‘High Level Intergovernmental Meeting for the New Decade’, which will be held in Incheon, Republic of Korea, 29 October to 2 November 2012.


PWD will continue to have input to the New Decade of Persons with Disability in the Asia Pacific and strategies for implementation of the CRPD in our region. For more information about the Regional Preparatory Meeting go to UN-ESCAP Website


For more information about PWD’s participation at the meeting and other side events, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the regional arm of the United Nations, playing a unique role as the only comprehensive intergovernmental forum for countries and territories of the Asian and Pacific region. Established in 1947, ESCAP today has 53 members and nine associate members covering over 60 per cent of the world’s population (4.1 billion people).


ESCAP is the only United Nations regional entity that has “convening authority” in the Asian and Pacific region.  It is the only United Nations regional body that has a mandate to adopt international treaties, agreements, resolutions and decisions by member States.


ESCAP serves as the regional hub promoting cooperation among member States to achieve inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in the Asian and Pacific region. ESCAP provides the strategic regional link between global, sub-regional and country-level processes. Governments of the Asian and Pacific region, including Australia meet annually at the ministerial level to review and discuss economic and social issues and to set the regional development agenda. The ESCAP annual session is the regional version of the United Nations General Assembly.


ESCAP is headquartered in Bangkok and has four sub-regional offices in the Pacific (Suva, Fiji); North-East/East Asia (Incheon, Republic of Korea); North/Central Asia (Almaty, Kazakhstan); South/South-West Asia (New Delhi).  ESCAP also has five regional institutions in Beijing; Bogor, Indonesia; Incheon, Republic of Korea; New Delhi; and Chiba, Japan. 

ESCAP reports to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

UNESCAP International Conference on Disability – Inclusive MDGs and Aid Effectiveness

PWD recently took part in the United Nations Economic and Social Commission (UNESCAP) Conference on Disability-Inclusive Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Aid Effectiveness, which took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 14–16 March 2012.


This conference was the second in a series of global forums jointly organised by Leonard Cheshire Disability and UNESCAP for Asia and the Pacific. Bringing together Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) such as PWD and the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF), as well as NGOs, UN agencies and academics, the conference offered an opportunity to develop innovative ways to bring disability into the mainstream of international development.


The conference addressed the following topics:


·         Review of international and regional mandates on disability and aid effectiveness;

·         Challenges and good practice in measuring the impact and quality of disability-inclusive development, including implementation and monitoring of the MDGs;

·         Identifying ways to implement disability-inclusive development effectively on the ground and at the policy level.


To access news, speeches, life stories, photos and exclusive interviews with some of the world’s leading players in disability and development from the conference, please visit


For more information on PWD’s participation, contact Sam French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

WWDA Board Member to advise on UNICEF’s 2013 'The State of the World’s Children' publication

PWD congratulates Women with Disabilities (WWDA) Board Member and Associate Professor, Helen Meekosha, on being accepted as a member of the Advisory Board for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)’s 2013 edition of its flagship publication, The State of the World’s Children (SOWC). The 2013 edition will be on children with disability.


UNICEF is the United Nations’ advocacy organisation for children, and is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF also works in emergency relief and on longer term development projects for children, and is the world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries.


UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and HIV/AIDS.


Click here to read more about UNICEF’s work with children with disability.

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The Inside Story

From the President

Another month rolls around. I feel they go by quicker than they used to, but of course, they don’t!


In big news this month, one of the valued members of our Leadership Team, Therese Sands, went off on sabbatical leave until January 2013. She is using this time to undertake a Masters in Human Rights Law at the University of New South Wales. I wish her all the best on behalf of the Board, Executive, Staff and our Members and look forward to her return.

While Therese is away, Systemic Advocacy Manager Sonya Price Kelly will be acting in her position as an Executive Director. I wish Sonya all the best in this exciting new role.


This month I was yet again appalled by news of the circumstances faced by many people with disability living in licensed boarding houses.  The inquest which began earlier this month at Glebe Coroner’s Court into the deaths of six people with disability at a licensed boarding house in Marrickville, once again raised serious questions about the competence of ADHC to fulfil its clear legislative responsibility to monitor licensed boarding houses and ensure the human rights of residents and the questionable quality of care these people receive from some services and medical practitioners. I was hoping that following the publicity around boarding house reform that PWD garnered in 2011 that action on this would be swift, but this has not been the case. This Inquest provides even further evidence that this reform is long overdue.


More has to be done to name and shame those responsible for the standards in these establishments so they are all shut down and the residents supported to moved to more suitable accommodation where they can live a better quality of life free from abuse and neglect.


I personally am opposed to any form of institutionalisation and I know the board and many of PWD’s members also share this view, which is why our organisation spends so much time lobbying for real reforms.


I look forward to hearing some more positive news on this front in the coming year.


Jan Daisley, PWD President    

Tribute to Kim Walker/Carol Pein

TV and radio personality and PWD Disability Rights Defender and Associate Member Julie McCrossin paid homage to disability activist Kim Walker in the March issue of the South Sydney Herald.


In the article, Julie speaks about her personal relationship with Kim, as well as reflects upon Kim’s life and achievements in the disability rights sector.


To read Julie’s article, please visit and visit page 10 of the March 2012 edition.


Click here to read PWD’s tribute to Kim in E-Bulletin 74.

Mardi Gras 2012

Despite the rain, downpours, drizzle and showers, PWD presented a fantastic entry at the 2012 Mardi Gras, which took place on Saturday 4 February. 


PWD had over 50 people in the entry this year, which included PWD staff and members, representatives from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS). PWD also proudly carried the banner from Touching Base, an organisation which links sex workers with people with disability.


PWD’s entry was mentioned in the Sun Herald on 5 February – Mardi Gras Floats Another Hit Record for Kylie – and it was great to see that our entry got picked out in front of everyone else’s to epitomise the spirit of the evening.


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


Thank you to everyone who came along and in doing so raised disability as a key issue in the gender rights debate – had we not been in that parade, there would have been one less voice in the call for equal rights and equality.


Also a big thank you to PWD Executive Director Matthew Bowden and Project Manager Emmie Hallett who did a wonderful job organising our entry this year- it couldn’t have been done without you!”


Daphnee Cook, Communications and Membership Development Manager

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PWD Media Releases

16 March 2012: Six deaths too many: Boarding house reform must happen NOW

30 March 2012: PWD welcomes new representative body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability

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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.


Click here for further information is available from our website.

Alternatively, contact PWD Training phone (02) 9370 3100 or email

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Upcoming Events

19 April 2012: Sydney, NSW How People with Intellectual Disabilities and Their Families Are Building Better Communities, facilitated by John O’Brien and Connie Lyle-O’Brien (US). Click here for more information.


30 April – 1 Mary 2012: Canberra, ACT 4th National Disability Advocacy Conference, Advocating for Inclusion: Advocacy strategies for achieving community living, full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities.


3 May 2012: Surry Hills, NSW NCOSS Sector Development Conference 2012, The Buck Stops with the Board.


18-19 May 2012: Wollongong, NSW Australian Community Children’s Services conference, "Change and Leadership: Who is the ringmaster".  For more information, Click here for more information.


9-11 August 2012: Perth, WA 10th Biennial ECIA Conference and 1st Asia-Pacific Early Intervention Conference ‘Pathways to Participation: Engagement and choice for children’.


17-21 September 2012: New Delhi, India. TRANSED 2012: The 13th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled People.


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About PWD

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

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

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

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

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

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Privacy statement

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

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

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Contact us

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

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

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

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