Submission Archive – 2014

December | NSW Disability Inclusion Plan Consultation

The National Disability Strategy (NDS) is the Commonwealth of Australian Government (COAG) mechanism through which Australia will progressively implement the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). The current NSW Implementation Plan 2012-2014 (Implementation Plan) identifies strategies under the six outcome areas of the NDS, with direct link to the CRPD. This uniformity across policy at the national and state level is essential to adequately track progress towards overarching goals and priorities, linked to consistent national monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

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November | Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into Out of Home Care

Historically, children and young people with disability are among the most likely in our community to be institutionalised, often through child protection systems. Unlike most other children and young people in out of home care, children and young people with disability are most frequently institutionalised to benefit other people, often with limited, if any, consideration of what might be in their best interests. Children with disability are more than three times more likely to experience abuse than their peers. This is unacceptable and requires urgent intervention.

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October | Considerations of the 4th and 5th Reports of Australia by the Committee to the Convention Against Torture

People with disability in Australia are frequently subject to treatment that may constitute torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (ill-treatment), including persistent and severe violence and abuse, forced or coerced non-therapeutic sterilisation, long-term neglect of basic human needs, and painful and degrading behaviour modification techniques or ‘restrictive practices’. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Special Rapporteur on Torture) has expressed concern that, ‘’in many cases such practices, when perpetrated against persons with disabilities, remain invisible or are being justified, and are not recognised as torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

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September | Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration ‘Inquiry into Domestic Violence in Australia’ – (Australian Cross Disability Alliance)

Whilst there are numerous instances where men and boys with disability are subjected to and experience violence, including domestic/family violence, it is clearly a gendered issue that disproportionately affects women and girls with disability. In this context, this Submission predominately focuses on women and girls with disability, whilst acknowledging that men and boys with disability who may be subject to, or at risk of, domestic/family violence, and are entitled to the same protection against violations of their human rights as women and girls with disability. Thus, this submission does also provide some specific information on violence perpetrated against men and boys with disability.

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August | People with Disability Australia (PWDA) Disability Employment Services (DES) Consumer Engagement Project

PWDA believes more work should be done by government, in partnership with business, to ensure people with disability have opportunities for sustainable employment in Australia. While the DES is an important mechanism to place and train people with disability, the message must go out to industry and business that all work places should accommodate people with disability. There should also be recognition by Government as well as by business and industry that specialist programs are not the only means available to facilitate employment for people with disability.

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August | Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the extent of income inequality in Australia

PWDA welcomes the 2014-15 federal budget commitment to deliver the designated funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with no changes to the roll out at this stage. It is vital that the NDIS is implemented in full and on time, reaching the 400,000 plus people anticipated. As the NDIS is rolled out, safeguards need to be in place to protect people with disability.

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August | Submission to the consultation on the Interim Report on Welfare Reform

Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) obliges the Australian Government to safeguard and promote the realisation of these rights. People with disability are entitled to appropriate levels of social protection based on their individual circumstances and which recognises, without discrimination, the barriers to social and economic participation that they experience. This submission addresses the introduction of a tiered income support system based around an individual’s hypothetical capacity for work, including moving people from DSP to Newstart and the implications of this for people with disability.

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August | NSW Legislative Assembly Public Accounts Committee Inquiry into tenancy management in social housing

PWDA welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the NSW Legislative Assembly Public Accounts Committee Inquiry into Tenancy Management in Social Housing, with particular reference to the following terms of reference:

  • the cost effectiveness of current tenancy management arrangements in public housing, particularly compared to private and community housing sectors;
  • the range and effectiveness of support services provided to tenants in social housing;
  • outcomes for tenants from current tenancy management arrangements; and
  • possible measures to improve tenancy management services.

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July | Submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs inquiry into the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Bill

In this submission, PWDA explains  three key reasons why the Bill should not proceed.  Until the Commonwealth commits to ending wage assessment using the BSWAT, people with disability will continue to be assessed by it, and will continue to experience wage injustice. This will include people who take a payment under the scheme; yet in doing so they will have given up their right to complain about a discriminatory system that the Commonwealth has no plans to end.

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July | Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 and Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014

Nearly one in two people with disability in Australia already live in or near poverty. Throughout this submission PWDA explains how measures implemented through this budget will impact disproportionately on those already suffering financial hardship, compounded by the numerous systemic and societal barriers people with disability face every day.

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July | Comments and Recommendations in Response to the Consultation Paper: Developing a new disability strategy for Australia’s Aid Program 2015-2020

PWDA recommends that a rights-based approach, firmly based on the CRPD, is embedded in Australia’s aid delivery and that monitoring of aid programs and initiatives (both mainstream and disability-specific) is undertaken with the participation of DPOs to ensure disability inclusion occurs at all levels of planning and implementation.

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July | Submissions to Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC): Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws, Discussion Paper May 2014

People with Disability Australia (PWDA), The Australian Centre for Disability Law (ACDL) and The Australian Human Rights Centre (AHRCentre)

The authors of this submission agree that a national framework must be created, but disagree with the development of an “ability test”, Discussion Paper Proposal 3-7, which a person has to pass in order to be considered capable of decision making and thus to have their capacity to act (legal agency) recognised.  Commonwealth laws should not be amended to include such a test.

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People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC)

This submission is made in response to Chapter 7 (Access to Justice) of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Discussion Paper, Equality, Capacity and Disability, released on 22 May 2014.  Both NACLC and PWDA have made separate submissions on the other issues in the Discussion Paper.

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People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and University of Sydney (USYD)

We write with respect to ALRC Proposal 8-1 relating to the development of nationally consistent regulation relating to the use of restrictive practices: “The Australian Government and the Council of Australian Governments should facilitate the development of a national or nationally consistent approach to the regulation of restrictive practices.”

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April | Membership engagement report to The Department of Social Services (DSS) regarding the implementation of the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020

This report was written with reference to the regular consultation that PWDA engages in with members and supporters over the life of the Strategy so far, and primarily over the last 2 years. We have also utilised information gathered through the research that underpins our policy and advocacy work. The report is provided in 6 sections reflecting the areas of the NDS.  The current policy directions are outlined at the outset, and this is followed by a description of PWDA’s position on the specific issue area.

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April | Submission to Senate Economic References Committee Inquiry into Affordable Housing

The housing system is already in crisis, with the needs of people with disability frequently unmet.  Moreover, the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will increase the pressure on this already broken system as people with disability become empowered to seek better supports and more appropriate housing options. This submission argues against the use of institutionalisation as a solution to policy failure in housing of people with disabilities.

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March | Submission to Legislative Council Select Committee Inquiry into Social, Public and Affordable Housing

In individual advocacy, accommodation issues represent the largest single issue dealt with, at 28.3% of all matters in 2013. This submission has been written in consultation with PWDA Members, and we have included their perspective throughout. Their stories highlight the inextricable links between housing, poverty, inclusion and participation in the community, and it is essential that their experiences are heard.

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February | Joint submission to the CRPD on the Draft General Comment on Article 12 of the Convention – Equal Recognition before the Law

This PWDA/ACDL/AHRCenter submission provides input to the 2014 consultation on Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities to explain how in its (then) current form, the General Comment did not adequately clarify how and why the capacity to act of all people with disability is non-derogable, or explain why the concept of ‘unsound mind’ can no longer be substantiated as a basis for limiting the capacity to act in the interpretation of international human rights law.

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February | Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the prevalence of different types of speech, language and communication disorders and speech pathology services in Australia

Difficulties in communication and swallowing affect many Australians (at a minimum 1.3 percent and 16 percent respectively). In regards to communication, one of seven users of disability services over the age of five have little to no functional speech and over 40 percent require communication assistance. This submission explains the shortcomings in existing services and the implications of this for people with communication disorders.

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February | NSW Disability Inclusion Bill 2014

In this submission, PWDA elaborates a case that the content of the Bill does not live up to the promise of inclusion suggested by its name. The Bill covers three main areas: the creation of Disability Plans, the provision of disability services until the full NDIS roll out, and restrictive practices. However, the Bill does not improve or create any new approaches to inclusion for people with disability in these areas. In doing so it restates the status quo and misses the opportunity to establish a framework for real inclusion and participation for people with disability in NSW.

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February | Joint supplementary response regarding Dept of Social Security (DSS) application for exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to use the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT)

PWDA considers that the SWS should be implemented as the single national award wage assessment for the long-term in order that discrimination is immediately addressed and that adjustments to the SWS is not a solution to problems of business viability experienced by ADEs.

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January | Joint response regarding Dept of Social Security (DSS) application for exemption from the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to use the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT)

This submission follows the announcement on 15 January 2014 by Ministers Andrews and Fifield that the Commonwealth will make a one off payment to employees with intellectual disability paid wages determined by the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT).

This submission calls on the AHRC to set a national standard of the SWS to remove any doubt or loophole regarding the use of BSWAT.

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January | PWDA Submission regarding Review of equal recognition before the law and legal capacity for people with disability

This PWDA/ACDL/AHRCentre submission explains how the Issues Paper conflates the concepts of mental capacity and legal capacity in its discussion regarding ‘capacity standards’ and ‘assessment of capacity’ and challenges the assumption that legal capacity is a concept that can be limited by reference to cognitive impairment.

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