PWDA E-Bulletin

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Issue 79 July 2012 - ISSN 2202-0705

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New South Wales News

Boarding House Reform 

As reported in PWDA’s May/June edition of E-bulletin, on 10 May 2012 the NSW Government announced a series of changes to the regulation of boarding houses. These include:

  • The introduction of a centralised register for NSW boarding houses;
  • Principles-based occupancy rights to govern the relationship between residents and boarding house proprietors;
  • Enhanced accommodation standards for smaller boarding houses;
  • Enhanced powers of entry and associated inspection regimes; and
  • Increased penalties for non-compliance with the regulations.

These changes are being included in a new Act, called the Boarding Houses Act 2012. An Exposure Draft Boarding Houses Bill 2012 and a Position Paper were released on 29 June, which sets out the NSW Government’s concerns about the current regulatory framework and how the Bill seeks to address these concerns.

Copies of those two documents are here:

* Exposure Draft Boarding House Bill (PDF - 1.1 Mb)

* Exposure Draft Boarding House Bill Position Paper (PDF - 69 kb)

Further information can be obtained by contacting the Boarding House Reform Team, Ageing, Disability and Homecare, Department of Family and Community Services at: or on (02) 8295 4608.

You can also obtain a copy of the Bill by going to the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office website at:

The NSW Government intends to introduce a final Bill in the Spring Session of Parliament, 2012. PWDA will be making a written submission and we encourage others to have their say on these important reforms.

Comments and submissions are due by Friday 10 August 2012, and may be sent by email to or via mail:

Boarding House Reform Team
Ageing, Disability and Homecare
Level 4, 83 Clarence Street
Sydney   NSW   2000

PWDA 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


PWDA Training: Sexuality and Human Rights


In mid-May, PWDA successfully delivered its 2-day Responding to Sexual Assault training to Wesley Mission staff in Sydney. 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 reported in the PWDA May/June E-Bulletin, PWDA has received funding from the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) to provide a four session/4 week training program on Sexuality and Human Rights to all interested residents of licensed boarding houses(LRCs) in the Metro South region of Sydney.


Since March 2012, we have rolled out the training to residents at Smiths Hall LRC, Carinya Marrickville LRC and Franks LRC, and in the next months will be engaging with residents at Denroma LRC, Miller Lodge LRC, Carinya Arncliffe LRC, Kelvinside LRC and Cavendish Lodge LRC. PWDA has also run a one day session for staff who work with residents through the ADHC funded Boarding House Reform Program, and will be offering the same to the owners and managers of boarding houses.


PWDA is pleased to report that the training has been very well received by residents, and has provided them with the opportunity to relate and interact with advocates and others about these important issues in a safe and supportive environment. 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.


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


Local Elections 2012


15 local councils in NSW have opted to conduct their own local elections on 8 September 2012 without the support of the NSW Electoral Commission.  These councils are Botany Bay, Cessnock, Coffs Harbour, Fairfield, Gunnedah, Kempsey, Lake Macquarie, Lane Cove, Maitland, Narrabri, Newcastle, Penrith, Port Stephens, Shoalhaven and Sutherland.


PWDA has written to these Councils reminding them of their obligations to provide accessible elections to people with disability. If you are a person with a disability who lives in one of these constituencies and are concerned about whether your needs will be accommodated you should contact your local council as soon as possible. 


The NSW Electoral Commission is producing a newsletter about the upcoming elections for people with disability which can be access via their website at


The Australian Election Commission has additional information on their website for people with disability and for people who live in these constituencies


Going Home Staying Home Reform


On 10 July 2012 the NSW Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward announced Going Home Staying Home, a reform program to guide the future development of the specialist homelessness services (SHS) sector in NSW.


At the announcement of Going Home Staying Home, Minister Goward released a consultation paper (PDF, 702KB) which puts forward the case for reform and provides a platform to initiate stakeholder engagement and focus stakeholder input towards the reform directions.


Peak bodies, service providers, homeless people, consumers of specialist homelessness services and other stakeholders are invited to comment on the strategic direction for homelessness service reform and provide feedback on the consultation questions presented in the consultation paper. Comments are invited before 31 August 2012.


For more information on the consultations and how you can provide input, please visit the Going Home Staying home webpage.


Farewell Catherine Hogan, Family Advocacy

PWDA would like to wish Catherine Hogan all the best in her future pursuits after her announcement that she will be leaving Family Advocacy mid-August.

Family Advocacy is an independent disability advocacy organisation which works across NSW with the mission to attain positive social roles for people who have a developmental disability through the development and support of advocacy by families and by strengthening the knowledge, role and influence of the family.

PWDA has shared a close working relationship with Family Advocacy and Catherine for many years, and has collaborated with them on a number of projects. This includes most recently the national Shut In campaign, for which Family Advocacy has shown unwavering support.

Catherine has worked at Family Advocacy for 17 years and during this time has led that origination through many challenges and to many successes. PWDA wishes her the best of luck and success in her future pursuits.

Greater access to media for people who are deaf or have a hearing impairment

In late June 2012, the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Improved Access to Television Services) Bill 2012 was passed by the Federal Government which is set to improve the NSW Captioning levels on free to air and subscription TV.

In a media release issued in response to the passing of the Bill, Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes said the focus in the legislation towards increasing captioning services should be applauded.

“Over 2 million Australians who are deaf or have hearing impairment will have better access to a greater range of television programs, which is particularly important for the social and cultural participation of people with disability in Australia,” said Commissioner Innes in the media release.

Under this legislation, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will regulate closed captioning on broadcast television, and subscription narrowcast television. The legislation will also empower the ACMA, to develop a quality standard for captioning. A draft version of the quality standard should be open to public consultation later this year.

To read the full media release from the Human Rights Commission, please click here.

Information on the new captioning requirements is available on the AMCA website.

Delineate arts grant applications now open 


Accessible Arts, in partnership with the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC), is inviting applications for Delineate 2012 to boost and foster arts and disability practice within NSW.  


This year, Delineate will award six successful recipients $3500 each to support an arts project to be developed throughout the Don't DIS my ABILITY campaign. In 2012 applicants can apply from anywhere in the ADHC regions and Local Planning Areas.


Delineate seeks to enrich the creative initiatives of the Don't DIS my ABILITY campaign run by ADHC to celebrate International Day of People with Disability. The program, first presented in 2002, aims to develop a deepening of engagement for project participants and a focus on sustainable outcomes. 


Delineate takes an approach of identifying and addressing priorities of the National Arts & Disability strategy and through past recipients' feedback and evaluation and welcomes a range of art forms including Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts, Literature, Hybrid/ Interdisciplinary Arts and Community Arts.


Delineate is open to:

  • Disability services coordinating quality arts programs
  • Service providers working with people with disability in the arts
  • Individual artists with disability
  • and Applicants must be a NSW resident

The Delineate program also offers a one-day, professional development forum led by Accessible Arts at Walsh Bay.


Applications close on Monday 27 August 2012. For more information and to download the application form and guidelines click here. To discuss your application or for further information contact the Project Manager, Sarah-Vyne Vassallo, Arts Development Officer on Thursdays and Fridays on 9251 6499, ext 105 or email anytime


Youth Arts Access 2012 project


The Youth Arts Access (YAA) 2012 project is an invitation to young people 13-18 years old with disability to engage with the arts as an audience. Members of the YAA group will be Youth Arts Ambassadors for the duration of the project in 2012 and will assist Accessible Arts NSW, the arts venues and arts companies by providing valuable feedback on accessibility and the arts performances.


Youth Arts Ambassadors will receive free tickets to several shows, events or performances in the Sydney region, which will be facilitated and attended by Accessible Arts staff. There will be a selection of shows to choose from, including dates and times. Arts events will be chosen based on a number of considerations, including art form, interest, timing, availability and accessibility. Accessible Arts will manage ticket bookings and arrangements in consultation with the Youth Arts Ambassadors and the arts organisations. 


Deadline for applications remain open and flexible until early August 2012. For more information visit the YAA website, or contact  Sophie Clausen, Access Coordinator, Accessible Arts, tel. +61 2 9251 6499 ext 107 or  


Developments in Critical Disability Studies: Implications for research theory


The University of NSW’s School of Social Sciences, the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) and the School of Education are presenting an opportunity to discuss and debate developments in disability studies.


The session will feature Professor Dan Goodley, Professor of Psychology and Disability Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University, and will take place on 13 August 2012 from 4pm – 6pm at the SPRC.


The discussion will include themes of critical disability studies and their implications for disability studies and research. To register to attend, please email or visit the event website.

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Other State and Territory News

Tasmania: NDIS Trial Site announced


On 25 July 2012 it was announced that one of the National Disability Insurance Scheme launch sites will be in Tasmania. This announcement was welcomed by the Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings, and the Minister for Human Services, Cassy O'Connor, who said that the announcement was a landmark moment for Tasmanians with a disability, their families and the organisations that work to support them.


"The Gillard Government's decision to base a launch site in Tasmania, and to progress the NDIS nationally, will give Tasmanians with disability more control over their lives, more support and more certainty,” said Ms O’Conner in a media release.


Ms O'Connor said the launch would see support provided to nearly 1000 Tasmanians living with a disability aged between 15 and 24 - including both current and potential disability service clients.


Ms Giddings said Tasmania was this year spending a record $142 million on disability services, with a further $33 million from the Australian Government.


Discussions around the detail of the NDIS launch in Tasmania from 1 July next year are said to be ongoing. For more information, please click here.


Victoria: NDIS Trial Site announced


On 27 July 2012 the Victorian Government agreed to an NDIS trial site in the Barwon region from July 2013.


This came after the State’s initial refusal to sign up to the scheme citing concerns for ongoing funding.


Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu says the fresh offer of $42 million to host a trial NDIS site in the Barwon region will benefit 5000 people with disability and their families.


Victoria has also offered to increase its average spend on support for people with a disability in the Barwon region from $19,300 to $20,779 per person, or $17 million over three years for a trial to start in July 2013.


In addition, Victoria will pay the federal government a one-off fee of $25 million towards the operation and service delivery of a Geelong-based National Disability Transition Agency.


To read a full news story on the announcement, please click here.


Australian Capital Territory: NDIS Expert Panel to oversee ACT launch site rollout


On 2 August 2012 the ACT Minister for Community Services Joy Burch announced the membership of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Expert Panel, which will guide the launch of the landmark disability funding program in the ACT.


In a media release, Ms Burch said the Expert Panel included representatives from the community sector, and will be co-chaired by disability advocate Sue Salthouse and Community Services Director General Natalie Howson.


Included on the panel is PWDA Secretary Craig Wallace. Craig has been an active advocate for an NDIS for a significant period, and has appeared frequently on local and national media on behalf of PWDA, calling for an NDIS.


Ms Burch said having a launch site in the ACT is an exciting opportunity to influence the design of the full scheme and ensure early take up of this important reform.


The ACT Government is in discussions with the Commonwealth about the detail of the NDIS launch in the ACT. For more information on the NDIS in the ACT visit


For the full media release discussing the NDIS Expert Panel, please click here.


South Australia: NDIS Trial Site to focus on children with disability


South Australia will focus its NDIS trial on 5000 children with disability aged 0-14, stated a media release issued by the SA Department of Communities and Social Inclusion.


The South Australian launch, which will start in July next year, will benefit about 4800 children already receiving disability services, plus newly eligible children will receive support and services as part of the launch.


During the first year, starting in July 2013, existing and newly eligible children aged 0 -5 years will be accepted to participate in the NDIS launch. During the second year it is planned that existing and newly eligible children aged 0 -13 years will be included and in year three it is planned that all eligible children aged 0 -14 can be part of the scheme. These arrangements will be reviewed after the first year to make sure the scheme is working as intended.


“Under this year's State Budget, the biggest single new spending was an extra $212 million for disability funding, which included earmarking $20 million over the next three years for the NDIS launch,” SA Premier Jay Weatherill said in the media release.


The State Government has also promised $1million over two years to help service providers plan and prepare for disability reform, in readiness for an NDIS and encourage new and innovative approaches to delivering services.


To read the full media release, please click here.

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National news

Don’t let party politics stand in the way of a strong NDIS: PWDA


In a media release issued on 26 July 2012, PWDA called on State and Territory governments to put aside party politics and stand by their commitments towards establishing a strong and sustainable National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).


“A strong NDIS should bring back entitlement, equity and adequacy of resources to the disability support system, regardless of where people live in Australia, so the fact that yesterday governments failed to reach an agreement on the funding of the NDIS is disappointing. We hope that this can be resolved as quickly as possible,” said Matthew Bowden, an Executive Director of PWDA, in the media release.


PWDA warmly welcomes the agreements made by governments in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT to part-fund trials of the NDIS starting in 2013 or 2014 and views this as a positive step towards the realisation of an NDIS.


To read the full media release issued by PWDA, please click here.


To read a news story which provides background to this media release, please click here: Big States yet to commit to NDIS – Sky News Online (26/07/2012).


NDCA NDIS Engagement Project


In the PWDA May/June E-Bulletin, we reported that the National Disability and Carer Alliance (NDCA) was successful in securing funding to coordinate an engagement strategy with people with disability, carers and service providers on the NDIS, with AFDO leading the engagement of people with disability to ensure people with disability have an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the design and implementation of the NDIS.


As part of this project, PWDA is working closely with AFDO and other NDCA members Carers Australia (CA) and National Disability Services (NDS) to organise and run effective, wide-ranging and inclusive engagement activities across Australia to ensure that the experiences and opinions of people with disability are captured and communicated to policy-makers. Engagement activities will include public events in both metropolitan and regional/rural areas, smaller, issue- or group-specific roundtables and face-to-face meetings, web and social media engagement, as well as other targeted consultations.


In the coming months, PWDA, AFDO and CA will be running a number of joint and separate public events for people with disability and carers. The first of these public events will be a joint consultation for people with disability and carers in Canberra on 14th August and will be led by AFDO. People with disability and carers are invited to attend – for more information contact AFDO directly on 03 9662 3324 or visit their website.


PWDA will be running public events and consultations in Mt Isa (jointly with CA) on 5th September, in Hobart and North Tasmania in the week beginning 24th September, and in Sydney at the end of October. Public events and consultations are also planned for the Hunter, Wollongong and Armidale (jointly with CA) in the September-October period. PWDA will also be undertaking other engagement activities and targeted consultations in Brisbane in the week beginning 3rd September and in Darwin in the week beginning 17th September.


Exact dates and times, details and registration information for all engagements will be available soon from the NDCA website.


If you are interested in finding out more about the NDIS Engagement Project please contact Ngila Bevan or Gyongyi Horvath on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email or


Joint Standing Committee on Treaties recommends ratification of OPCAT


On 21 June 2012, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties recommended that the Australian Government ratify the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).  Ratification of this treaty would oblige Australia to establish a National Preventative Mechanism to inspect and monitor the conditions and treatment of people in all places of detention including prisons and police cells, juvenile detention facilities, immigration detentions centres, psychiatric facilities and social care institutions.  The UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) would also be mandated to periodically carry out their own inspections of places of detention in Australia.


PWDA strongly supports the ratification of OPCAT and is working through the Shut In campaign to ensure that places where people with disability are detained will be inspected and that people with disability as experts in their own experience will play a central role in the monitoring mechanism.  Effective implementation of OPCAT will help to protect the rights of people with disability in detention, as well as those at various stages of the criminal justice and health systems, and also raise awareness of the human rights violations experienced by people with disability in those facilities and systems.


PWDA makes submission to the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Matters


On 16 July 2012 PWDA made a written submission to and participated in a hearing of the Joint Select Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) Inquiry into proposed changes to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to amend the reference to ‘unsound mind’ and introduce a requirement to obtain a letter or certificate from a ‘qualified person’ (doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker) with respect to a person’s capacity to vote.  


PWDA submitted that this change would not address the inherent discrimination of a provision which permits the disenfranchisement of a person judged “incapable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting”, and advocated for paragraph 93(8)(a) to be repealed in its entirety. 


All submissions to the hearing are available on the Parliament of Australia website. Click here to visit the website.


Disability Inclusive Research Collaboration Conference – Research Rights: Disability Inclusion Change

On 13 - 14 June 2012, people with disability, academics, organisations representing people with disability and interested individuals attended a conference on inclusive research practices.

The conference Research Rights: Disability Inclusion Change was held at the University of Sydney, and was organised by a Steering Committee including PWDA alongside other organisations of and for people with disability, and universities and their research centres.

The conference brought together researchers, policy-makers and advocates from around Australia and internationally for this two-day event where participants had the opportunity to workshop on designing inclusive and participatory research, making practices and methodologies inclusive through creative approaches, as well as making research findings accessible. Participants also gained first-hand insight into the challenges encountered by activists and researchers in developing countries in Southeast Asia and the Pacific in undertaking research and translating this into real, practical projects that are both driven by people with disability for people with disability and are built upon a strong, rights-based framework. In the spirit of the conference, keynote as well as workshop sessions were held by researchers with disability or a team of presenters where people with disability were co-researchers, demonstrating first-hand how research can be inclusive and how people with disability can bring their own unique, ‘insider’ perspective to research on disability issues.

More information about the conference itself, including the PowerPoints and notes from keynote and workshop sessions will be available in due course from the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) website.

Twenty Years, Twenty Stories

March 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and the Human Rights Commission would like you to share in the celebrations.

To recognise how the lives of Australians with disability have changed during this period, the Commission are compiling a series called “twenty years, twenty stories”.

These stories, which the Commission plans to turn into short videos, will illustrate those changes, and show how the law has been used to achieve systemic change.

Email your stories of around 200 words to and tell the Commission how the DDA has – or has not – changed the lives of Australians with disability. The top 20 stories will be chosen to best reflect the achievements during the 20 years, and the things we’ve learnt for the future.

For more info go to

Social security changes from 1 July 2012

On 1 July 2012 a number of key social security changes came into effect, which with have impact on the lives of many Australians, including people with disability.


In a media release issued on 29 June 2012, the National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN) discussed a number of these changes, including the start of the carbon price with its accompanying household assistance package for people on low to medium incomes.


“Over the next four years around 68,000 young people who are not able to find work will have to wait an extra 12 months before they qualify for the Newstart Allowance which at $245 per week is still higher than the Youth Allowance,” said Maree O’Halloran, Director of NWRN, in the media release.


Currently to qualify for Newstart Allowance or Sickness Allowance a person must be 21 or over. From 1 July 2012, eligibility and the parental means test for Youth Allowance for young unemployed people will extend from people of the age of 20 to 21, and Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance will be closed to new applicants under 22.


For more details on the changes and the response from the NWRN, please read the full media release from the NWRN, available here.


COAG Reform Council report on disability and employment


The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council 2010-11 report under COAG’s National Disability Agreement has been released. The council found that people with disability still faced barriers to realising their potential to participate in employment or social activities. In the national labour force, for example, participation rates for people with disability remained significantly lower than for people without disability and have not improved since 2003. One third of people with disability reported needing more support to participate in employment.


The full report is available below:

Full Report - MS Word version 5.5MB | PDF version 2MB

Overview of the Report - MS Word version 3.5MB | PDF version 214KB

Associated documents:

·         Disability 2010-11:  Comparing performance across Australia  – Easy English - PDF version only 1.1MB

Arts Activated Conference: Desire and Destination


Desire and Destination, the third Arts Activated Conference, is coming up in October 2012. The Conference will explore the experience of inclusive practices across the Arts and Disability sectors around Australia and internationally. It will be held at Sydney's newest fully accessible arts centre, The Concourse in Chatswood, with two full days of presentations, plenary and break-out sessions, and performance, social and cultural programs.


Desire and Destination welcomes keynote speakers Petra Kuppers from the USA with ‘International Disability Arts: how to fuel the Revolution’ and Professor David Walker from Deakin University in Melbourne with ‘Flying Blind: the confessions of a macular Degenerate’ along with a range of plenary and breakout speakers from New Zealand, Australia and the USA.


Early Bird Registrations close 15 August 2012. To register, please click here.  


More information including accessibility details are available on this website or by contacting the Conference Convenor, Amanda Tink on 9251 6499 ext 106 or  

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International News

Announcement of new funds for the Pacific Disability Forum


PWDA was extremely pleased to learn of the announcement made on 13 June 2012 by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Bob Carr that Australia is providing $7.5 million in new initiatives to improve the rights of people with disability in developing countries. Of this funding, $4.5 million will go to the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) to empower people with disability to reach their full potential.


The PDF is the regional umbrella network of Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) in the Pacific. PWDA is a member of the PDF and has worked with the forum for many years to build the capacity of Pacific DPOs to provide a strong voice for people with disability in the Pacific.


"People with a disability are often made to feel invisible and shut out of community life. The Pacific Disability Forum brings people with disability together to have a stronger voice for their rights with governments, civil society and development partners — at local, national and international levels," Senator Carr said in a media release.


Over the past year, Australia's partnership with the PDF has helped 13 DPOs across nine Pacific Island countries to raise awareness about disability rights in the Pacific. As a result, people with disability have been able to participate equally in developing national disability policies in Niue, Tuvalu, Palau, Tonga and Kiribati.


To read the full media release from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, please click here.


Working Paper 16: Poverty and Disability


The Working Paper 16 in the on-going series from the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre, University College London, UK is now available online.


This paper critically reviews and synthesises the currently available evidence base regarding the relationship between disability, poverty and health. While it is widely asserted that disability and poverty are closely linked, this is the first review that explicitly asks: ‘What is the current evidence base for the link between disability, poverty and health in low-and middle-income countries?’

The working paper can be accessed at the following link:


Working Paper 16: Poverty and Disability: a critical review of the literature in low and middle-income countries  (PDF Only)


New signatories to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)


PWDA welcomes the news that Estonia has ratified of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and its Optional Protocol (OP) on 30 May 2012. Prior to Estonia, Mauritania ratified the CRPD on 3 April 2012.


This brings a total of 113 States Parties to the CRPD, while the OP has 65 ratifications. The number of signatures to the CRPD is 153 while the OP has 90 signatures.


Please click the link to check the List of Signatories and State Parties.


This section needs updating to at least include:

  • Liberia ratified the Convention on 26-7-2012
  • Benin ratified the Convention on 5-7-2012
  • Benin ratified the Optional Protocol on 5-7-2012
  • Nauru ratified the Convention on 27-6-2012

Devaluing People with Disabilities: Medical Procedures that Violate Civil Rights


PWDA would like to draw readers’ attention to a new and important resource just released from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). Devaluing People with Disabilities: Medical Procedures that Violate Civil Rights is a report intended to provide a crucial but missing link in the discussion about how society can and should make medical decisions that uphold the constitutional rights and inherent dignity of people with disability.


The NDRN is a US non-profit membership organisation for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disability in the States.


To access the report, please click here to visit the NDRN website.


PWDA submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee


This October the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) will draw up a list of questions to ask the Australian government next year when it evaluates the progress of Australia in implementing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).  Civil and political rights such as the right to be free from ill treatment and arbitrary detention, to be recognised as a person before the law and to participate politically in society are basic human rights.  The existence of a disability does not lessen these entitlements, yet all too often disability is used as a ground to deny these fundamental freedoms to people with disability.


On 3 August  2012 PWDA made a joint submission to the HRC with the International Disability Alliance to make sure that violations of the rights of people with disability in Australia are addressed by the Committee. The submission makes a number of recommendations for questions that the government should be asked based on information provided on the following issues: disability discrimination in migration, freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment including forced sterilisation of women and girls with disabilities,  the right to liberty including the fact that Australian legislation permits disability based detention and forced treatment, the right to political participation highlighting observations that voting procedures are often inaccessible to people with disability and that the law permits people with disability to be disenfranchised, and denial of equal recognition before the law through removal of the right to exercise legal capacity. The submission is available here.


PWDA also contributed to the submission by the National Coalition of Community Legal Centres (NCCLC) which reviews Australia’s compliance with the ICCPR in general. This submission is available here.


Concluding Observations on the Australian Government’s implementation of CRC


On 19 June 2012, the Committee to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (ComCRC) published its Concluding Observations on the Australian government’s implementation of the children’s rights treaty.  Of particular note for children with disability were the Committee’s recommendations urging the Australian government to:


  • Ensure that children with disability are able to exercise their right to education, and provide for their inclusion in the mainstream education system to the greatest extent possible, including by considering developing a Disability Education Action Plan to specifically identify current inadequacies in resources, establishes clear objectives with concrete timelines for the implementation of measures to address the educational needs of children with disability;
  • Enact non-discriminatory legislation that prohibits non-therapeutic sterilisation of all children, regardless of disability; and ensure that when sterilisation that is strictly on therapeutic grounds does occur, that this be subject to the free and informed consent of children, including those with disability; and
  • Ensure that all of the State party’s legislation, including its migration and asylum legislation, does not discriminate against children with disability and is in full compliance with its legal obligations under article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

PWDA contributed information to assist the ComCRC in its dialogue with the Australian government through the Child Rights Task force. Please click here to download the report (Note: PDF only). 


The full text of the ComCRCs recommendations can be found here (Note: PDF only)


ComCRPD publish first View on a CRPD case


On 21 May 2012 the Committee to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ComCRPD) published its first View on a legal case that came before it through the Individual Communications procedure.  This procedure allows individuals who believe that their rights have been violated, and have already exhausted domestic legal avenues, to ask the Committee for its opinion on their case. The Views of UN Committees contribute to the jurisprudence that aids interpretation of human rights treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).


In HM v Sweden, the applicant had a chronic connective tissue disorder which meant that she had not stood for 8 years and had difficulty sitting and lying down. She was confined to her house, and the only option remaining for her to try and prevent the progression of her impairment was through hydrotherapy at an indoor pool in her house. HM applied for permission to extend the building on her privately owned property by 63 square meters in order to house the pool. The local council refused permission as most of this extension was on land where building was not permitted. HM appealed repeatedly and eventually brought her case to the ComRPD. The Committee found that:


·         A state party to the disability convention may violate the CRPD if it does not consider an individual’s particular health circumstances in applying its national laws, resulting in discrimination on the grounds of that individual’s disability;

·         The refusal to depart from the Council’s building development plan was disproportionate in this case and produced a discriminatory effect which adversely impacted upon HM’s access to the health care and rehabilitation that she required.  Her right to health, habilitation and rehabilitation and to equality and non-discrimination had been violated (CRPD Articles 25, 26 & 5);

·         HM’s right to live in the community (CRPD Article 19) had also been violated as in this case the refusal to grant her a building permit for the pool had deprived her of the “only option that could support her living [in] and inclusion in the community.

Sweden was advised to reconsider HM’s application for a building permit. 


Please click here to read the full text of the View


FRA Report: Choice and control - the right to independent living

On 7 June 2012 the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) launched a report on “Choice and control: the right to independent living”. The report is the first to present a European level evidence-base about how people with disability are often excluded from society, and what needs to be done to reverse this situation.

The FRA report follows actions by other inter-governmental agencies, including a March 2012 report (PDF only) by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, and an April 2012 report (PDF only) by the Europe Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. These, and the FRA report, contain a wealth of information about what the right means, how it is violated, and how it can be implemented.

The FRA report contains testimonies from people with disability across the EU.

To access the FRA report, please click here.

UN: Strengthening the protection of women and girls with disability a priority

In a media release issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 11 July 2012, Mona Rishmawi, the Chief of the Rule of Law, Equality and Non Discrimination Branch in the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva, said that “Strengthening protection of women and girls with disabilities from violence continues to be a priority.”

In its resolution 17/11, the Human Rights Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a “thematic analytical study on the issue of violence against women and girls and disability”.

In its findings, the study noted that both men and women with disability are exposed to greater risk of violence.

In reference to the study, the Branch Chief stated that societal barriers limit access to justice for persons with disability on an equal basis with other members of society. Sentiments that have also been credited to Special Rapporteur on torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishment.

To read the full media release and learn more about the study, please click here to visit the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website.

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The Inside Story

From the President

Hi everyone and welcome to another E-Bulletin,

It has been a sad month for PWDA as we farewelled our colleagues from the CRRS/Hotline service, which ceased being operated by PWDA on 30 June. Once again I would like to thank all the hard work our former colleagues put into the CRRS/Hotline over the past 11 years, they will be sorely missed by all of us who remain here at PWDA.

This year two staff members are taking part in the City2Surf, to raise money for PWDA at this critical time. I would like to ask you all to support Daphnee, our Communications and Membership Development Manager, and Matthew, one of our Executive Directors, in this brave run, and give a donation to PWDA. Every dollar counts! To make a donation, please click here.  

Finally, I’d like to remind Members to have a good read of the June LinkUp, which should have arrived in all your homes last month. This LinkUp contains essential information about PWDA’s plans to reenergise our membership – and we’d really value your feedback on this. PWDA wants all members to understand the changes we’re proposing, so everyone is comfortable should these changes take place. So please take a moment to read through the LinkUp and the Membership Discussion Paper.

-           Jan Daisley, PWDA President

PWDA Membership Discussion Paper 

The PWDA Board has released a discussion paper which proposes important reforms to the way we engage with members including moving to a system of online, free membership, opening up to young people and providing new ways for people to be more involved. Consultations are open until September.

Check out the paper below and follow us on Facebook to get involved. To read our latest LinkUp publication that looks at Membership and Engagement click here and scroll down to LinkUp June 2012.

Membership Discussion paper - Word 201 kb

Membership Discussion paper: Easy English - Word 1.7 MB

Support PWDA in the 2012 City2Surf

The countdown has begun towards the City2Surf and PWDA is frantically fundraising to support our two gallant runners as they participate to raise money for the organisation.

There are still a few weeks to go, so if you haven’t given a donation yet there is still time! 

If you would like to donate to the team, please visit or contact Daphnee Cook, Communications and Membership Development Manager at for more information.

Every dollar you can give will help us to reach our goals. Thank you for your support!

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PWD Media Releases

26 July 2012: Don't let party politics stand in the way of a strong NDIS

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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

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.


10 August 2012: Sydney, NSW Critical Reflections on the Status of Women with Disabilities in a Globalised World - Symposium, organized by the UNSW School of Education, School of Social Sciences, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) and Manchester Metropolitan University. 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.


17 August 2012: Sydney, NSW ASID NSW / ACT 2012 State Conference Through the looking glass: Turning all the talk, research and planning into action! 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.


24-25 September 2012: Melbourne, VIC National Youth Disability Conference. The National Youth Disability Conference (NYDC) is now calling for expressions of interest for presentations and workshops within the conference program. For more information, please click here.


27-28 September 2012: Adelaide, SA Australian Association of Social Work and Welfare Educators (AASWWE) Symposium: Cultural Diversity: Social Work and Human Services education working with difference. For more information, please click here.


15-16 October 2012: Melbourne, VIC 2nd World Congress on Adult Guardianship - Guardianship and the United Nations Disabilities Convention:

Australian and International Perspectives. For more information, please 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.


23-25 November 2012: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. South East Asia Conference on Accessible Tourism (SEACAT 2012) and short film contest on Accessible Tourism (July – September). For more information please click here or email

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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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