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People with disability in charge and creating change

The key priorities for people with disability in this year’s Federal Election have been released today by People with Disability Australia.

“This year, we want to see all political parties commit to putting people with disability at the heart of their agenda, committing to measures that will demonstrate that we are fully included in all aspects of life in Australia,” said Dr David Abello, President, People with Disability Australia (PWDA).

“People with disability are 20% of the Australian population, and we want to see real change across the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), employment, violence prevention, justice and income support.

“We are contacted everyday by people with disability who are finding that the NDIS isn’t working for them and isn’t putting them first,” said Dr Abello.

“The NDIS has to change, so that we are in the driving seat. We are calling for 51% of all NDIS staff, including at senior levels and the Board, to be people with disability, and a removal of the staffing cap.”

PWDA’s Federal Election Platform also calls for training for everyone at the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) in disability rights and for a consistent contact person in the Agency for Scheme participants. The NDIS also needs to improve access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, as a matter of urgency.

“There are still too many barriers that are stopping us from getting the benefits of a job, such as financial security, having more choices and being part of the community,” said Dr Abello.

“We urgently need a National Jobs Plan to change employment inequality for people with disability – only 53% of us are in paid work, compared to 82% of our non-disabled peers.”

The PWDA Election Platform also outlines the need for a national, multi-sector Disability Employment Coalition to drive development and track implementation of the National Jobs Plan and showcase good practice in inclusive employment.

“We shouldn’t be living below the poverty line if we can’t work, so we support the urgent calls to raise the rate of Newstart by $75 per week. We also want changes to the Disability Support Pension halted, and a review of all income support for people with disability,” said Dr Abello.

“We are very pleased to see progress towards our Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. Now we need to see that it is fully funded and resourced to ensure that we can all safely tell our stories and get justice for the violence and abuse we experience.”

The PWDA Election Platform also calls for the implementation of the National Preventative Mechanism for the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a treaty that supplements the 1984 United Nations Convention Against Torture, and the development of a National Disability Justice Strategy.

“We have fundamental rights to equality and to live freely in the community and to have a life free from violence and poverty. We call on all political parties to support people with disability in this election,” said Dr Abello.