Australian Cross Disability Alliance – a voice for all people with disability

Australian Cross Disability Alliance Media Release

6 February 2015

Five national, cross disability organisations welcome the funding provided by the Australian Government to form the Australian Cross Disability Alliance that will provide a voice for the 4.2 million Australians with disability.

The members of the Australian Cross Disability Alliance are:
Children with Disability Australia (CDA)
First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN)
National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)

Commenting on the cross disability model, PWDA President Mr Craig Wallace said, “The Cross Disability Alliance provides a modern, coherent and more comprehensive national voice for people with disability. This means that people with any kind of disability can directly join, elect and hold accountable the peaks who represent them to Government. We are at a crossroad for disability rights and it is right for us to come together at this vital time. We commit to working hard to provide all Australians with a disability with the voice we deserve.”

Executive Director of WWDA Ms Carolyn Frohmader highlighted, “Each Alliance member is widely respected in their own right for specialist expertise and representation of people with disability. Each of our organisations will continue to work independently on key issues for our members and constituents. However, we will join together as the Cross Disability Alliance to work on mutual issues of concern – this will build on and strengthen our expertise and representation.”

Mr Damian Griffis, Executive Officer of FPDN said, “Collectively, Alliance members have decades of experience in advancing the rights of people with disability, including the most vulnerable and marginalised. We have fought and advocated for the end to violence and abuse, to close institutions and provide genuine community living options, to implement inclusive education and pathways to mainstream employment, to establish culturally competent supports and services, to address indefinite detention, incarceration and over representation in the criminal justice system and to ensure the full roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We have been hardworking, strong and effective”.

Ms Stephanie Gotlib, Executive Officer of CDA said, “It is a significant time of reform for people with disability in Australia. Major initiatives include the establishment of the NDIS, the National Disability Strategy and reform in education for students with disability. The Alliance will have a collaborative approach to working with people with disability, governments and the broader community.”

“We look forward to working with the Australian Government to promote and advance the rights of people with disability,” said Mr Suresh Rajan, President of NEDA. “We are deeply committed to building on and strengthening representation of the interests and views of all people with disability in Australia. Any person with disability can join and participate in one or more of the Alliance organisations.”

Key Statistics: The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates that there are about 4.2 million people with disability in Australia. This does not include those with long-term health conditions.

Craig Wallace, PWDA – 0413 135 731
Carolyn Frohmader, WWDA – 0438 535 123
Damian Griffis, FPDN – 0412 979 857
Stephanie Gotlib, CDA – 0425 724 230
Suresh Rajan, NEDA – 0413 436 001

Children with Disability Australia (CDA) is the national peak body for children and young people with disability, aged 0-25 years. CDA’s vision is that children and young people with disability living in Australia are afforded every opportunity to thrive, achieve their potential and that their rights and interests as individuals, members of a family and their community are met.

First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN) is the national peak organisation of and for Australia’s First Peoples with disability, their families and communities. The organisation is governed by First Peoples with lived experience of disability. FPDN proactively engages with communities around Australia and represents Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability in Australia and internationally. FPDN follows the human rights framework established by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD), to which Australia is a signatory, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is the national peak organisation representing the rights and interests of people from non-English speaking background (NESB) with disability, their families and carers throughout Australia. NEDA believes in an inclusive Australia where cultural diversity and disability rights are valued as essential aspects of an equitable society.

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability. Our vision is of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights, citizenship, contribution, potential and diversity of all people with disability are respected and celebrated.

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is the national peak organisation for women with all types of disabilities in Australia. WWDA is run by women with disabilities, for women with disabilities. It is the only organisation of its kind in Australia and one of only a very small number internationally. WWDA’s work is grounded in a human rights based framework which links gender and disability issues to a full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. WWDA has affiliate organisations and networks of women with disabilities in most States and Territories, and is internationally recognised for its global leadership in advancing the human rights of women and girls with disabilities.

Phone: 02 9370 3100 Toll Free: 1800 422 015 Email: