International Day of People with Disability: NACLC and PWDA welcome shift to supported decision-making

On the International Day of People with Disability, the National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) and People with Disability Australia (PWDA) welcome the recent Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Report, Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws.

“The report represents a significant contribution to discussion about issues of capacity, decision-making and disability, against the backdrop of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),” said NACLC National Convenor, Michael Smith.

While not agreeing with all recommendations, NACLC and PWDA are pleased to see many of the recommendations made in our submissions included in this Report. The ALRC’s recommendations around a model of decision-making that reflects the necessary focus on supported rather than substitute decision-making would represent an important shift in Australian law, and reflects Australia’s international obligations under the CRPD,” said Therese Sands, Co-Chief Executive Officer of People with Disability Australia.

For Community Legal Centre (CLC) clients with disability, many of the recommendations in relation to access to justice, voting, restrictive practices and social security would have a significant effect on their lives,” stated Mr Smith.

“There is a need for all levels of Government to consider the ALRC’s recommendations, particularly given many issues of guardianship and administration, mental health and disability services arise under state and territory law. Implementation should occur in consultation with people with disability and their representative organisations,” continued Mr Smith.

The Report represents an excellent basis to work from, and we look forward to working with governments to implement the recommended shift towards supported decision-making for people with disability,” said Ms Sands.

On International Day of People with Disability, NACLC and PWDA also highlighted their concerns about a number of other issues facing people with disability in Australia including about institutional violence and abuse against people with disability; indefinite detention; and the need for a full-time Disability Discrimination Commissioner.