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Issue 78 May/June 2012 - ISSN 2202-0705

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New South Wales News

Boarding House reform long overdue


On 10 May the NSW Government announced reforms to the Boarding House sector, making a commitment to deliver greater protections to some of the state's most vulnerable residents.

Minister for Disability Services, Andrew Constance, said reforms will be included in a Draft Exposure Bill that will be provided to key stakeholders for feedback, before legislation is introduced to Parliament later this year. Proposed changes include:

  • The introduction of a registration system for NSW boarding houses
  • Occupancy rights for residents
  • Standards for boarding houses
  • Increased penalties for non-compliance with the regulations
  • Increased powers of entry

The following day the NSW State Coroner, Magistrate Jerram revealed damning findings arising from the inquest into the deaths of six people with disability living in a licensed boarding house at 300 Livingstone Road, Marrickville stating “there can be no question that the six who died at 300 Hostel between June 2009 and August 2012 were uncared for, poorly treated medically and neglected’.


The findings highlighted, yet again, the need for the NSW Government to step up its obligation to recognise, protect and fulfil the human rights of people with disability living in the licensed boarding house sector.


PWDA welcomed the announcement for boarding house reform and will be providing feedback on the Draft Exposure Bill and measures necessary to ensure that people with disability are afforded the right to housing and support that is equal to that of the rest of the community.


PWDA also applauded the Coroner’s recommendations for the introduction of a regulatory body separate to ADHC, which would be enacted with powers to monitor, prosecute and arbitrate disputes between boarding house operators and residents, as well as the call for mandatory reporting of all suspected or identified breaches of legislation governing boarding house compliance.


ADD link the Media Release by Minister re Boarding House Reform announcement

To download the full PWDA Media Release responding to the Coroner’s findings, please click here.


PWDA was interviewed by ABC Radio, 2UE and 2GB in relation to this case. Please click here to read the ABC Radio Transcript online.


For more information on the case and the Coroner’s recommendations, please click here to visit a Sydney Morning Herald article published on 12 May.


For more information about Boarding Houses or if you have an interest in the upcoming reform agenda, contact Sonya Price-Kelly, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


PWDA Training: Disability Awareness


In mid-May, PWDA successfully delivered Disability Awareness training for Burwood Council staff. The training was held over multiple sessions across 3 days, providing essential information to over 100 staff working in a range of areas, including managers, frontline customer service, library and swimming pool staff, as well as depot workers.


Course content was specially developed for this training based on discussions with the Council so as to provide participants with a comprehensive introduction into disability, legal obligations and rights, as well as respectful communication. For this purpose, specific case scenarios relating to participants’ work area were provided, enabling them to brainstorm and rethink ways in which they could better respond in certain situations, and make their work environment or service delivery more supportive and inclusive of people with disability.


The training has received very positive feedback both from participants and Council staff involved in organising the training, and PWDA has received further enquiries from other Councils interested in potentially running Disability Awareness trainings for their staff.


If you are interested in finding out more about PWDA’s training options please contact us on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


PWDA Training: Sexuality and Human Rights


Also in mid-May, PWDA successfully delivered its 2-day Responding to Sexual Assault training to Wesley Mission staff. The course aims to challenge myths surrounding sexual assault and people with intellectual disability, build participants’ capacity to support victims of sexual assault, as well as explore ways to decrease the vulnerability of people with intellectual disability to this crime.


As part of its Boarding House Project, PWDA has also delivered a number of trainings on Human Rights, Sexuality, Abuse and Neglect to residents of licensed boarding houses in Sydney’s Inner West and Hunter region.


PWDA is anticipating a total of 10 roll outs of this training in the before September to provide the opportunity for all residents to attend To complement the training provided to residents, PWDA also organised a workshop for ALI providers and boarding house caseworkers earlier in the year about Disability, Sexuality and Responding to Abuse and Neglect of Boarding House Residents, where staff attending were given a background about the course to be provided to residents.


If you are interested in finding out more about PWDA’s training options please contact us on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


Review of the National Disability Strategy - Draft NSW Implementation Plan 2012-2014


The National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (NDS) outlines a ten year plan to improve the lives of Australians with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. The NSW Government has drafted an ‘Implementation Plan’, outlining how NSW will meet the objectives of the NDS.


PWDA has joined with other disability advocacy and peak organisations on the NSW Disability Network Forum to provide a joint response to the draft NSW Implementation Plan. In addition, we will be preparing a written submission. PWDA will keep members updated on the development of the NSW Implementation Plan.


For more information about PWDA’s, participation on the NSW Disability Network Forum, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


City of Sydney Pedestrian Wayfinding Stakeholder Consultation


The City of Sydney Council is currently developing a ‘Pedestrian Wayfinding Strategy’, which will allow people to confidently find their way around Sydney and get to public transport and other key destinations. The project will involve the design and development of a range of signage and mapping options.


PWDA has been invited to participate in the Stakeholder Reference Group that has been set up, which includes key stakeholders from across the transport, tourism, hospitality and disability sectors. The purpose of the Reference Group is to seek guidance and feedback on the emerging directions and ideas developed by the project team, and to ensure broadest representation of the needs of the community are included in the development of the pedestrian wayfinding strategy.


The first meeting of the Reference Group included an overview of the City of Sydney Public Domain Planning Directions, including project objectives and outcomes and background research and evaluation.


PWDA will continue to participate in the Reference Group during the development of the strategy, which will continue during 2012. For more information about PWDA’s input to the development of the City of Sydney Pedestrian Wayfinding Strategy and to provide input and ideas, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


NSW Transport Action Plan – Focus Group


Transport for NSW is currently revising their Disability Action Plan and on 24 April 2012, PWDA hosted a focus group meeting in collaboration with Transport for NSW to hear the key priorities for people with disability in accessing public transport in NSW. The discussion focussed on changes to public transport services that would be helpful to people with disability, including: customer service, 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. This input highlights issues from the perspective of people with disability and will be used to develop future strategies and actions for the ‘Transport for NSW Disability Action Plan’. 


PWDA will continue to provide input to development of the NSW Disability Action Plan as a member of the NSW Transport Access Advisory Committee and will also be providing a submission on the draft NSW Long Term Transport Plan, due for release in mid-2012.


For more information about PWDA’s, participation on the NSW Transport Access Advisory Committee and for input to the written submission, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


New Centre for Disability Research and Policy


On 24 April 2012, the University of Sydney announced the establishment of a new Centre for Disability Research and Policy, for a five year period. The Centre will be hosted within the Faculty of Health Sciences, with active collaboration from the Faculty of Medicine; Law; Arts and Social Sciences, as well as the Menzies Centre for Health Policy Research, the Centre for Disability Studies, and other academic centres both locally and internationally.


The Centre’s work will involve five streams including Disability and disadvantage; Disability Services; Disability and Development; Disability and Mental Health; and National Disability Insurance Scheme. These streams will be led by Professors from the Faculty of Health Sciences and related research teams. The stream leaders are inviting interest and engagement from researchers working in related areas, and encouraging Faculty of Health Sciences staff to share their work and its alignment with the aims of the Centre.


For more information, please visit the Centre for Disability Research and Policy

NSW Government Living Life My Way – final consultation stage

The final stage of the NSW Government’s Living Life My Way Person Centred Approaches consultations is now underway.

These consultations are taking place to find the best way to implement person centred supports and individualised funding in NSW. Consultations are scheduled in a range of locations across NSW and are an important opportunity for people with disability, their families and carers to have a say in the future of services and supports.

The Ethnic Child Care, Family and Community Services (ECCFCSC) will be hosting seven consultations with people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in June.  Sessions will be conducted in a number of community languages and each will be run by a bilingual facilitator.

For more information on all remaining consultations, including dates and languages available, please click here.

For those who cannot attend an information session, ADHC is also accepting written and verbal submissions up until 15 June. A written submission form can be obtained by emailing:

Alternatively, you can print and post your submission to this address:

Manager, Person Centred Approaches, Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Family and Community Services
Level 5, 83 Clarence Street, Sydney NSW 2000. A verbal submission can also provide the Person Centred Approaches Team by calling 1800 605 489.

PWDA will be providing feedback to ADHC through a written submission. If you are interested in providing input to the written submission, contact Sonya Price-Kelly, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

Housing NSW – The ‘Rent Start Bond Loan’ Initiative


Housing NSW has released new information about the ‘Rent Start Bond Loan’ initiative, through which Housing NSW provides financial assistance for eligible clients to help them set up or maintain a tenancy in the private rental market. Under ‘Rent Start’, Housing NSW may be able to assist you with a loan of up to 75% of your rental bond to establish a tenancy in the private market. The loan is interest free and repayable to Housing NSW. Any payments you make can be returned to you at the end of the tenancy if there is no claim made by the landlord or real estate agent.


You are eligible for a Rent Start Bond Loan if:


  • you are eligible for social housing
  • you have less than $3000 in cash assets
  • you are able to sustain a tenancy in the private rental market
  • rent for the property you wish to rent is not more than 50% of your household’s total gross weekly income.


An information kit can be found at this link.


For more information:


  • Contact your local Housing NSW office or a community housing provider participating in Housing Pathways or;
  • Call 1300 HOUSING (1300 468 746) or;
  • Go to the Housing Pathways website


Assistance in paying NSW power bills


The NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) recently published a fact sheet with information about rebates and financial assistance that is available to eligible NSW energy consumers. If you are struggling to pay your energy bills and you live in NSW, you may be eligible for financial support.


These different supports include:


·         Low Income Household Rebate

·         Medical Energy Rebate

·         Life Support Rebate

·         Home Power Savings Program

·         Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) Vouchers


For more information on any of these programs, call the Home Power Saving Info Line on 1300 662 416 or visit the information page on the NSW Department of Trade website. 


Family Advocacy Conference: The Odyssey


Family Advocacy is holding a conference titled The Odyssey…celebrating achievements, progress and change. The conference will bring together local, national and international speakers who have information and stories to share about people with disability having a good life. It will take place from 9 – 10 August at the Park Royal, Parramatta.

Coinciding with The Odyssey Conference, Family Advocacy will also be hosting a dinner that will both celebrate its 21st birthday. This dinner will celebrate this important milestone as well as provide an opportunity to look back over the past 20 years of advocacy for people with disability in Australia. You don’t need to come to the Conference to attend the Conference dinner.


Kevin Cocks AM, the current Anti-Discrimination Commissioner in Queensland and longtime friend of Family Advocacy, will be the MC for the evening and will navigate us through a night of reflections and fun.


To learn more about the Conference and the dinner event, please visit the Family Advocacy website.


NSW CID Fact Sheet on the NDIS and people with intellectual disability


The NSW Council for Intellectual Disability (NSW CID) have developed a Fact Sheet which outlines the needs of particularly vulnerable groups of people with intellectual disability, who have the potential to be missed in the design of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This includes people with disability who have contact with the justice system, have at risk lifestyles, or who have a psychosocial disability.


The Fact Sheet is designed to inform people who are advocating for an NDIS, and those involved in the design of the NDIS, on how best to include this group of people.


NSW CID has considerable experience in this field and is keen to provide further input to assist the NDIS to be inclusive of the group covered in the fact sheet. For further information, and to access the Fact Sheet, please contact NSW CID on (02) 9211 1611 or visit their website.


Easy English Course coming to Sydney


Scope is a not for profit organisation that provides information, advice, resources and services for people with disability.


Scope has been responsible for the production of numerous documents for the Victorian Government and various Non-Government Organisations, such as the Australian Red Cross.


Scope is coming to Sydney to run a 2 day course on how to produce Easy English documents. The course will take place on 21-22 June, and will be a great opportunity to learn some practical skills around writing in Easy English.


All the information on the course is available on the Scope website.


Free Cultural Intelligence Workshop


Connect Sydney is an initiative by the City of Sydney which aims to build the capacity of community organisations through the provision of free governance training to build their skills. It also aims to provide an opportunity for a wide variety of organisations to network and share their experiences.


In this half-day interactive workshop, participants will be provided with the tools to develop cross-cultural awareness and develop their ability to communicate and connect across cultures through practical, real-life examples.


The workshop will take place on 13 June 2012, between 9:00am and 12:30pm, at Redfern Town Hall, 73 Pitt Street, Redfern. A light lunch will be provided after the training.


Numbers are limited, so if you would like to book in for the training, please contact Michelle Thomas at the City of Sydney on

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Other State and Territory News

Other State and Territory News

Victoria: Possible end of full time Auslan Course


On 21 May 2012, the Kangan Institute of TAFE announced that, due to funding cuts, it planned to close down the only full-time diploma in Auslan in the state.


This announcement has caused widespread concern in the sector and particularly amongst the deaf community, as this Diploma is the only one of its kind still available in Victoria, and the only officially recognised qualification which provides a professional pathway to Auslan interpreting and education.


More information on the announcement can be accessed here, and an analysis piece by Karen McQuigg, a previous student of the Kangan Batman diploma of Auslan course can be accessed here: A swing of the government axe restores the deaf penalty – WA Today.


A petition is now circulating to try to restore funding to the course. To sign the petition, please click on the link below:


Western Australia: State budget to benefit people with disability


The Western Australian State Government budget was announced on 17 May 2012, and contains a welcome initiative to exempt employers from payroll tax when they employ people with disability. From 1 July, businesses would be exempt from payroll tax for wages paid in the first two years of employment of new employees with disability for whom they receive a Commonwealth Disability Employment Services wage subsidy and of who were eligible for any form of Western Australia Disability Services Commission support.


The budget also contains a 10.2% increase in spending on disability services, up $67million in 2012-13.


For more information on the Western Australian budget and how it might affect you, read “WA State Budget 2012: where the money is going” and “Vulnerable to benefit from Budget” from the West Australian, published 17 May 2012.

Northern Territory: The Use of Mechanical and Chemical Restraints on Prisoners with Intellectual Disability

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

On Thursday 17 May Patrick McGee, the ADJC Coordinator, participated in a meeting at which representatives of the NT Department of Justice and the NT Department of Health (Aged and Disability) discussed cases concerning a number of people they jointly manage. The ADJC was present to discuss the case of a person incarcerated in the Alice Springs Correctional Centre (ASCC) who has a profound Intellectual Disability, and for whom Mr McGee is joint guardian.


The ADJC raised the issue of the ASCC Staff mechanically and chemically restraining the young man, the purpose of which is allegedly to intervene when the young Aboriginal man exhibits behaviours of concern. 


The ASCC assured the ADJC that this practice is a last resort practice; however, the ADJC are aware that the ASCC have used this last resort practice three times with the young man.


The ADJC now intends to write to the Northern Territory Public Guardian, Minister for Corrections, Minister for Health, Attorney General and Chief Minister asking how this practice can be condoned.


For more information on the campaign and how to get involved, please contact Patrick McGee on 0448 610 105 or For more information on the ADJC, please click here.

Queensland: Evaluation of the Time Out House Initiative Queensland Baseline Report

The Social Policy Research Unit (SPRC) has just released Evaluation of the Time Out House Initiative Queensland Baseline Report. The Time Out House Initiative aims to provide early intervention in a short term (up to three weeks), safe and youth-friendly residential program and three month outreach support for young people whose circumstances have had an impact on their mental health or, if unaddressed, are likely to have an impact.


To report is co-written by Sandra Gendera, Karen R. Fisher, Sally Robinson and Natalie Clements.


To access the report, please click here.

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National news

Federal Budget: Government commits $1 billion to an NDIS

On 8 May 2012, the Federal Government announced as part of its 2012-13 Budget a $1 billion funding commitment over four years to start rolling out the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

According to a joint media release issued by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard MP and Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Disability Reform, the first stage of an NDIS will begin in mid-2013 and will provide care and support to around 10,000 people with significant and permanent disability in up to four locations across the country.

In response to this announcement, PWDA and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) launched a joint media release warmly welcoming this strong commitment to the development of an NDIS.

"The budget appears to have provided enough funding for individuals with disability to be able to choose and control their supports, For many people with disability, this will be the first time they have had a say in how they choose to live their lives,”  said Michael Bleasdale, an Executive Director of PWDA, in the media release.

To read the media release issued by PWDA and AFDO, please click here

To read the media release issued by the Prime Minister Julia Gillard MP and Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Disability Reform, please click here

Other budget highlights

The funding for the NDIS was the highlight for people with disability in the Federal Budget.  The commitment of $1 billion over four years provides a significant component ($240.4 million) for the building of an information technology system to monitor individual outcomes and measure the performance of NDIS.  $53 million will be spent on a new National Disability Transition Agency, to manage and coordinate the launch of the test sites from 2013.  A sum of $122.6 million has been allocated to prepare the disability sector to deliver services in a new way under NDIS.

The Budget did not make any alterations to the Disability Support Pension (DSP), which was something the community sector was fearful of immediately prior to Budget day.  The increases delivered to Newstart recipients, which PWDA and many others in the sector advocated, at $4 per week were much less than had been requested.  PWDA will continue to lobby for more significant increases, to make Newstart a liveable income support.

There was no mention made in the Budget about funding for Advocacy services and support.  It is assumed that this will continue at its current rate, but this lack of mention contrasts with the increased allocation to Australian Disability Enterprises. A total of $59.6 million will be provided to ADEs over the next four years.

For a more detailed overview of the Budget please click here

Funding for Disability Employment Services (DES) remains at current levels over the next four years. The expectation for placements in jobs, and successful employment outcomes will jump significantly though, and it is assumed that these outcomes will be achieved through more efficient service delivery.  For a more detailed view please click here (Download the document “Outcome 3”, and within that document go to Section 3.3 Disability Employment Services).

NDIS – Engagement with people with disability

Whilst the announcement of funds for the NDIS in the Federal Budget was very welcome, there is still no specific allocation of funds to build the capacity of people with disability to become ready for the NDIS, nor to organisations of people with disability to provide assistance in the various processes of self-managing supports. PWDA and its colleagues amongst the national disability peak organisations, continue to lobby for the need for funds to be specifically allocated for the purpose of capacity building, and will work to try and secure some funding in advance of the roll out of the trial sites in 2013.


In addition to raising the issue the resourcing of people with disability to be ready to manage their supports and resources, PWDA has been working very closely with its colleagues at AFDO and DANA to develop an engagement strategy which will ensure that people with disability get the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and implementation of the NDIS.  The engagement strategy began in November 2011, with a meeting of disability peaks and advocacy organisations in Canberra, and since then two further meetings have taken place, in Adelaide in February, and recently again in Canberra.  The Communiqués from those meetings are available on the PWDA website – click here to download.


In order for these meetings, and any other strategy of engagement to be successful, funding is required. In coalition the three organisations put forward a submission to Minister Macklin’s office early in 2012. On 9 May an announcement was made by the Minister that the National Disability and Carer Alliance would be funded to coordinate this engagement, with AFDO leading the strategy to ensure people with disability get adequate opportunity to participate.  PWDA and AFDO will work together to ensure an effective engagement, but at this stage DANA has decided to withdraw from the coordinating group.


NDIS – Expert Working Groups


During May a total of four Expert Working Groups were appointed and announced by Minister Macklin, to assist in the design of the NDIS.  The groups will report to the NDIS Advisory Group on four specific elements of design:


  • National Approach to Choice and Control;
  • Eligibility and Assessment;
  • Quality Safeguards and Standards; and
  • The Disability Workforce and Sector Capacity


PWDA is pleased to see disability representative organisations well represented on the Working Groups, including newly launched First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) on the Disability Workforce and Sector Capacity group.


Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) Conference


The Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) Conference was held in Canberra from 30 April to 1 May, and was attended by advocacy organisations from across Australia. One of the streams of the conference included ‘Living in the Community’, which PWDA coordinated as part of the Shut-In Campaign Group.


This stream provided an overview of the current political and policy context within Australia and internationally on the closure of institutions, and explored practical strategies for advocating for the rights of people with disability to live in the community.


Presenters in this stream were all persons with direct experience of advocating for the right to live in the community and included:


  • Christy Lynch, KARE, Ireland
  • Paul Ramcharan, Associate Professor at the Centre for Applied Social Research RMIT University, Vic
  • Alan Robertson, Self-Advocacy Representative, VALID, Vic
  • Jane Hauser, President, Reinforce, Vic
  • Jan Daisley, President, People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
  • Kevin Stone, Executive Officer, VALID, Vic
  • Matt Bowden, Executive Director, PWDA


The presentations were followed by a facilitated panel discussion workshop looking at what disability advocacy groups can achieve and practical strategies using the ‘Shut-In Campaign’ and legal action to illustrate how the CRPD can be used as an effective advocacy tool. The focus of the workshop was on participatory sessions where participants worked on identifying future actions and strategies to advocate for the fundamental human right to live and be included in the community. 


Copies of the presentations for the ‘Living in the Community’ stream can be found on the Resources page of the Shut In website.


For more information about the DANA Conference, including links to presentations, please click here.


For more information about the ‘Living in the Community’ stream from the DANA Conference and on the ‘Shut-In Campaign’, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


PWDA participates in a Canberra Rally for an NDIS

On Monday 30 April, PWDA led disability advocates from around Australia to gather on Northbourne Ave in Canberra to join the call for a comprehensive NDIS in Australia.

The gathering coincided with the national Rally to Make It Real: NDIS 2012 which took place around Australia and was the biggest rally of people with disability ever seen in this country.

"We call on governments to work with people with disabilities, to develop and implement a Scheme that is fair, fully funded and entitles people with disabilities across Australia to the individualised supports and services necessary to our well-being." said Craig Wallace, PWDA Secretary, in a media release issued jointly by Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) and PWDA.

The Canberra rally was a great success, and was covered by The Canberra Times: “Rallies herald the introduction of disability scheme”. Photos of the event are now up on the PWDA Facebook site, and can be accessed by clicking here.

Easing of restrictions on migrants with disability

PWDA has welcomed the news, announced on 21 May by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship that the Gillard government is set to ease immigration laws to admit more foreigners with medical conditions and disability.


PWDA has long held concerns over the Federal Government’s stance on skilled migrants with disability, and have argued that the Government needs to demonstrate its acceptance of human rights for people with disability and to remove barriers that prevent the skills shortage from being addressed.


PWDA has discussed this issue in E-Bulletin 68 and E-Bulletin 73, and been part of the campaign to change discrimination in migration law and practice in Australia. 


This latest announcement from the government indicates that they are changing the way it decides whether foreigners with disability would unduly burden the Australian health system, which will enable more people with disability to immigrate to the country.


For more information on the changes, please visit the Australian Visa Bureau website


New National Commissioner for Children and Young People

On 29 April 2012, the Federal Government announced the creation of a National Commissioner for Children and Young People. PWDA welcomes this announcement, and congratulates the Government for creating a dedicated advocate focused on the human rights of children and young people on a national level.

The Children’s Commissioner will take a broad advocacy role to promote public awareness of issues affecting children, conduct research and education programs, consult directly with children and representative organisations as well as monitor Commonwealth legislation, policies and programs that relate to children’s rights, wellbeing and development.

The Government will call for expressions of interest for the National Commissioner position shortly. Legislation for the Commissioner will be introduced later this year and the new Commissioner is expected to take office by the end of 2012.

To read the full media release issued by the Government on this announcement, please click here.

Agreement for more captioning on pay TV

On 8 May 2012 the Australian Human Rights Commission announced that captioning levels on subscription television services will be increased over the next three years, under an agreement reached between the Commission and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA).

The agreement was reached together with leading captioning expert body, Media Access Australia and has been endorsed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The agreement will see captioning levels increase by approximately five to ten per cent each year across existing subscription TV channels, and includes minimum captioning levels to be provided on all new channels.

In return, subscription TV providers will be exempt from Disability Discrimination Act complaints about levels of captioning until 2015 so long as they carry out the terms of the agreement.

To read the full media release from the Human Rights Commission on this announcement, please click here

National Shadow Report: The Impact of Mental Impairment Legislation on Aboriginal people with a Cognitive of Psychiatric Disability

The Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign (ADJC) in partnership with the University of New South Wales is compiling a report on the impact of mental impairment legislation on Aboriginal people with a cognitive or psychiatric disability who commit crimes or are assessed as a significant risk of harm to others.

PWDA is a member of the ADJC and is hosting the ADJC webpage on the PWDA site, which can be viewed at 

This report is a state by state analysis of what is happening for people with cognitive and psychiatric disability who commit a crime and come before the courts and are assessed as mentally impaired and then found unfit to plead.  It is designed to complement a report being compiled by states and territories on what they think they are doing in response to this issue.

The ADJC report will provide case studies and interviews with the key stakeholders in each state and territory, and is being authored by Dr Mindy Sotiri, Ms Peta MacGillivray and Mr Patrick McGee. It is anticipated the report will be ready by late 2012

ADJC Submission to the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Foetal Alcohol Disorder


On 16 January 2012, the ADJC made a submission to the Federal Parliamentary Inquiry into Foetal Alcohol Disorder.


Foetal Alcohol Disorder (FAD) is a generic term that covers Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and Foetal Alcohol Effects and exists in all communities where alcohol is consumed. It is conservatively estimated to affect the lives of 1% of the population in Western countries.


To access the Submission, please click here to visit the ADJC page on the PWDA website.


New Study exploring the experiences of specialised wheelchair seating servicing within Australia


Deakin University is seeking participants who have had recent experience in wheelchair-seating services that specialise in prescribing integrated wheelchair-seating systems for people with complex mobility needs.


The aim of the study is to explore participants' service experiences within Australia, to highlight the factors considered as beneficial to or hindered by the service received, to understand how a seating service experience has met the person's wheelchair needs. It is hoped that information gathered from your experiences will assist in informing future planning of specialised wheelchair seating services in Australia.


If you are interested in becoming a participant of this study, or wish to learn more, then contact Rachael Schmidt on 03 5227 8352 or email

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International News

Australian NGO Shadow Report - Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities


Leading Australian disability representative, advocacy, legal and human rights organisations have partnered to form a project group which has compiled a Shadow Report on Australia's implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).


The overall aim of the Shadow Report is to provide information to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the extent to which Australia has implemented its obligations under the CRPD, and to provide recommendations for future action by the Australian Government.


You can download a copy of the Australian CRPD Shadow Report here.


Many people with disability and their representative organisations participated in the nationwide consultations and contributed data and submissions to inform the drafting of the Shadow Report. The United Nations CRPD Committee will be considering Australia’s performance under the CRPD in 2013.


The Shadow Report Project Group included:


  • Joanna Shulman, Australian Disability Rights Network, Redfern Legal Centre
  • Therese Sands, People with Disability Australia
  • Ken Wade and Rebekah Horvath, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated
  • Lesley Hall, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Fiona Given, Australian Centre for Disability Law
  • Andrea Simmons, Disability Advocacy Network Australia
  • Rosemary Kayess, Australian Human Rights Centre


Organisations are encouraged to endorse the Shadow Report in whole or in part. The more organisations that endorse the report, the more weight it will have with the CRPD Committee. To make your endorsement, please provide the details of the name of your organisation and send endorsement in whole or part to by June 29, 2012.


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


As reported in March E-Bulletin, the Australian Government is currently undertaking a mid-term review of 'Development for All: Towards a disability-inclusive Australian aid program 2009-2014'.  ‘Development for All’ sets out practical approaches to guide the Australian aid program in meeting the needs and priorities of people with disability. A copy of the strategy can be found at Development for All.


PWDA has participated in the AusAID consultations conducted as part of the review and provided a written submission. Click here to download the submission from the PWDA website.


PWDA also provides input to the development sector through participation in the Australian Disability and Development Consortium. For more information about PWDA’s, participation on the ADDC and for training and consultancy services provided to the development sector, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


New Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2013-2022


The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (UN ESCAP), comprising countries across the Asia-Pacific region, decided on 23 May 2012 to proclaim a new Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities 2013-2022’, through the adoption of a historic resolution. This resolution is available at the UNESCAP website.


To see the video which screened at the Closing Session of the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003-2012, please click here.

Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs), including PWDA, played an instrumental
role in advocating for the new Decade and in drafting the draft text of the strategy for implementation (referred to as the ‘Incheon Strategy’).


The aim of this new decade is to fully mainstream disability into development and to address the continuing issues faced in realising the rights enshrined in the CRPD. As part of this process, UN ESCAP will convene a ‘High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Final Review of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003-2012’ in late 2012 in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The Meeting is expected to adopt an outcome document, which will serve as the regional action framework to guide the implementation of the new decade. To view a copy of the draft ‘Incheon Strategy’, please click here.


PWDA has joined with other DPOs across the region to contribute to the discussions and drafting of the draft strategy, which will be finalised in Korea in October 2012.


For more information about PWDA’s, participation in UNESCAP on promotion of the rights of persons with disability and work to draft the ‘Incheon Strategy’ for the New Decade, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


Letter to UN Special Rapporteurs on Involuntary Sterilisation of Women and Girls with Disabilities


On 9 March, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a letter to four UN Special Rapporteurs on the ongoing practice of involuntary sterilisation of women and girls with disability.


In the letter, HRW urges the Special Rapporteurs to give immediate attention to the forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities around the world, and draw attention to a HRW briefing paper that outlines their key concerns and recommendations as part of their Stop Torture in Health Care campaign.


To read the full letter, please click here.

PWDA has been raising concerns about sterilisation of women and girls with disability on both the national and international level for several years, and is pleased to see HRW taking this initiative to raise the issue with the UN Special Rapporteurs.

PWDA’s position on the sterilisation of women and girls with disability can be read in our E-Bulletin 60 and in our Media Release issued on 12 March 2010, Forced sterilisation of children with disability is unacceptable. There is also a special section on the PWDA website - Sterilisation of People with Disability – covering our views on the topic.

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The Inside Story

National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline and CRRS Services


As of 29 June 2012, PWDA will cease operating the National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline (the Hotline) and the National Disability Complaints Resolution and Referral Service (CRRS). Earlier this year, PWDA entered into a competitive tender process to renew our funding contract with the Australian Government through the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) for the operation of these services, which we have successfully tendered for and held for the past 11 years. Very sadly, we recently learned we were unsuccessful in receiving the tender to operate the Hotline and CRRS, and as such we have begun the handover process to the successful tenderer.


Staff from PWDA have been informed of this significant event, and have been told that a number of positions at the Hotline/CRRS area will come to an end at the end of June. Staff from PWDA are being offered assistance to come to terms with these changes, and will remain supported throughout the period of transition.


The new provider of the Hotline/CRRS will be Workfocus, which is a Western Australian company, but which intends to operate out of Sydney.  It is hoped that there will be opportunities for current staff to apply for work at the new provider.


PWDA would like to thank all those staff who have worked so tirelessly to operate this essential service over the past 11 years, ensuring that people with disability have an accessible, impartial way in which to deal with reports of abuse and neglect, and resolve problems with their disability employment and advocacy services.


From the President


Hi All,


It’s been a tumultuous month for PWDA, with the unfortunate loss of the CRRS/Hotline Service being a real blow to our organisation and our hard working staff.


The Board of Directors are working together with the Executive to try and minimise the hardship caused by this event. At times such as this words are hard to find to express how people feel and after eleven years of excellent service and work performed by the staff of CRRS/Hotline it is very hard to come to terms with, but we must all refocus and pull together for the good of PWDA. We are a very strong organisation and although it won’t be easy to readjust, I know we can and will overcome this dilemma.


Along with the bad news this month, there was also some good news, with the Gillard Government committing $1 billion to the rollout of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). As our members would know, PWDA has been an active supporter of the implementation of an NDIS in Australia, and look forward to working with governments and other organisations in the sector to shape this much needed reform.


-       Jan Daisley, PWDA President

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PWD Media Releases

11 May 2012: Coroner condemns Dickensian state of licensed boarding houses


9 May 2012: Disability representative organisations welcome funds for NDIS


1 May 2012: PWDA welcomes Government commitments and looks towards next steps for the NDIS


30 April 2012: Let’s make our rights real - An NDIS supported by strong, independent advocacy

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PWD Training Opportunities

PWDA is currently reviewing the training it has on offer and is currently updating its existing training packages.


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.


PWDA 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.


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


Further information is available from our website.


Alternatively, contact PWDA Training: via (02) 9370 3100 or email:

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Upcoming Events

 12-15 June 2012: Nadi, Fiji Pacific Island Community Based Rehabilitation Forum. Jointly organised by the Pacific Disability Forum, Pacific Island Forum Secretariat, Motivation Australia & World Health Organisation. For more information, please click here


13-14 June 2012: Sydney, NSW Disability Inclusive Research Collaboration Conference (DIRCC), Research Rights: Disability Inclusion Change. For more information, please click here


20 June 2012: Sydney, NSW Free One Day Training - Recognise, Respond and Refer (3 R’s) to Prevent Family Violence. Run by Relationships Australia NSW. For more information, please click here


24 June 2012: Adelaide, SA FESTofALL – an Australian first – is a series of free events taking place across Australia in June to recognise the work of the country’s 380,000 young carers. For more information, please click here


27-28 June 2012: Melbourne, VIC 3rd Annual National Disability Summit. Organised by the Disability Advocacy Resource unit. For more information, please click here


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’. For more information, please click here


13 August 2012: Sydney, NSW Disability community research capacity workshop. Dr Rebecca Lawthom and Professor Dan Goodley, Manchester Metropolitan University will lead an interactive workshop about disability community organisations and members working with university researchers. For more information, please click here


11-13 September 2012: Lancaster, UK 2012 Disability Studies Conference: Disability, Poverty and Neo-Liberalism. The Lancaster disability studies conferences have brought together researchers, practitioners, policy makers and activists from around the world, to share and debate research, ideas and developments in disability studies. For more information, please click here


17-21 September 2012: New Delhi, India TRANSED 2012: The 13th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled People. To read the call for abstracts, click here


29 October – 2 November 2012: Incheon Songdo, South Korea Rehabilitation International (RI) World Congress. The RI World Congress is an international conference held every four years for the social inclusion and implementation of rights for people with disability. For more information, please click here

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About PWD

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national peak cross-disability human rights organisation, of and for people with disability, that has been providing information, advocacy, training, complaints handling and a representative voice for people with disability for over 30 years. 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 PWDA as associate members.

PWDA 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. PWDA 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 PWDA please visit

For information about membership, contact PWDA 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 such websites.

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Contact us

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

If you would like to receive PWD E-Bulletin in an alternative format or have an enquiry, contact PWD by email 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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