December | Submission to Inquiry into and report on all aspects of the conduct of the 2016 Federal Election and matters related thereto by Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters
PWDA surveyed people with disability on their experience of the last election. The responses we received came from across the country and from people who were presented with a variety of barriers to their participation in the election. A number of respondents did not vote in the election due to these barriers.
December | Submission to Fifth National Mental Health Plan
Reform of the mental health service system to better meet the needs of people affected by mental health concerns and psychosocial disability is welcome, and the rhetoric in the Fifth Plan around a holistic response, with individuals at the centre of service planning, delivery, evaluation. However, PWDA believes there are a number of fundamental concerns with the draft Fifth Plan which undermine this rhetoric and which need to be addressed. This PWDA submission explains these concerns and strongly urges the Department of Health to review, and amend, the Fifth Plan to appropriately recognise Australia’s obligations under the Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
November | Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Submission regarding Criminal Justice
In this submission, PWDA reminds the Royal Commission that Australia is a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and as such, is bound to align domestic legislative change with the Convention. PWDA highlights the key articles relevant to the concerns of the Consultation Paper, and encourages the Royal Commission to give due recognition and weight to both the barriers that people with disability face in accessing justice for child sexual abuse under Australia’s international obligations.
October | NSW Law Reform Commission Review of the Guardianship Act 1987 Discussion Paper 1: Preconditions for Alternative Decision Making Arrangements
In this submission, PWDA advocates a distinction between the labelling of an individual as incapable of making their own decisions and the failure by society to provide supports that would enable decision-making by that individual. In order to avoid limiting the rights of individuals, PWDA advocates that prior to formal orders being made by the Guardianship Tribunal, an assessment of the quality of support available to enable decision making by the individual is undertaken. Further to this, it is argued that specific diagnoses should not automatically limit decision making capacity under the Guardianship Act and that decisions to appoint a Representative decision maker should also be open to appeal.
October | Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into Social Services Legislation Amendment (Budget Repair) Bill 2016
In this submission, PWDA argues that the Senate Community Affairs Committee recommend that the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Budget Repair) Bill 2016 not pass the Senate. The proposed amendment to reduce the number of weeks people with disability can maintain Disability Support Pension while travelling overseas will impact disproportionately on refugees and migrants visiting family outside of Australia. Attempts to reduce education educational support for people with disability and parents re-entering the workforce are also detrimental to the needs and rights of those groups.
October | Foundations for Change – Homelessness in NSW submission
Homelessness is an important issue that disproportionately affects people with disability. In addition, people with disability are often affected by, and experience homelessness in different ways to the broader community. This submission identifies legislation relevant to policy makers across international, federal and state jurisdictions in addressing the issues faced by people with disability in achieving equal access to housing. Shortcomings in the current system are identified and advice is provided on the appropriate organisations to implement solutions to the existing gaps in service provision.
August | Australian Law Reform Commission Issues Paper: Protecting the Rights of Older Australians from Abuse
The intersectional discrimination and violence experienced by older people with disability requires an integrated response to ensure that experiences of this cohort are acknowledged and responded to appropriately. The PWDA submission on protecting the rights of older Australians from abuse describes case studies and offers a full range of recommendations across the health, legal and law enforcement sectors.
June | Department of Social Services (DSS): Review of the National Disability Advocacy Program
The ACDA fully supports a strengthened, well resourced and effective program of independent advocacy for people with disability through the National Disability Advocacy Program. This submission responds to the specific questions in the Discussion Paper, but provides some initial overarching comments to frame the views of the ACDA. Some of these comments repeat the views outlined in our submission to the review of the National Disability Advocacy Framework.
May | Department of Communications and the Arts: Communications Accessibility: 2016 and Beyond
This ACDA submission on the future of the National Relay Scheme argues against changes to the Telecommunications Regulations which would lead to a reliance on the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 to ensure equal access to telecommunications technology for people with disability. The telecommunications industry must be proactively supported by government to ensure that all forms of telecommunications are accessible and affordable to people with disability. ACDA supports the creation of an independent body to inform and monitor these actions to ensure that the telecommunication industry becomes increasingly disability responsive and inclusive.
April | 2016-17 PWDA Federal Budget Submission
Australia currently ranks 26 out of 27 OECD countries for the percentage of people with disability living in poverty. Our accumulated short comings mean that 45% of people with disability in Australia live near or below the poverty line. Many measures contained in recent budgets disproportionately affected people on low incomes, including people with disability. The National Disability Strategy is the mechanism under which Australian Governments at all levels are progressively implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The PWDA submission to the 2016 budget strongly supports the retention of a Medicare Levy to fully fund the NDIS, avoiding welfare cuts to vulnerable groups.
April | Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Consultation Paper: Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse In Out of Home Care
PWDA express concern that the Royal Commission has not fully investigated the situation of children with disability in out of home care; nor that the investigations that have occurred thus far are fully inclusive of the experiences of children with disability. Despite Australia being a signatory to UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the CRPD is not mentioned in the Consultation Paper. This PWDA submission details the specific relevance of each CRPD article to out of home care of children with disability and highlights gaps in data concerning the sexual abuse of these children. The submission also provides information about the discriminatory practices identified in removal of children from parents with disability.
April | Submission to Inquiry into Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment in Australia
People with disability in Australia represent the most detained sector of our population; disproportionality prevalent in our prisons, institutionalised within our communities, hospitalised and confined in psychiatric wards and indefinitely detained in detention centres, including immigration detention. This ACDA submission to the Senate Inquiry into Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment in Australia argues that addressing the problem of indefinite detention requires legislative, policy and program reform in multiple areas.
April | National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA): Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Position Paper on Draft Pricing and Payments
Currently, many people with disability are compelled to live in segregated and congregate housing and specialist accommodation arrangements in order to receive disability support, contrary to their rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This response from ACDA to the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Position Paper details community concern that participants appear to have very little choice or control in being ‘streamed’ into SDA in the determination of eligibility under the NDIS and in the choice and control over the type of housing, and how with whom they will live, undermining the intent of the CRPD. The ACDA believe that the concerns raised in this letter warrant an urgent meeting with the National Disability Insurance Agency.
April | Australian Cross Disability Alliance Response to Victorian Creating Child Safe Institutions Consultation Paper – Reportable Conduct Scheme
In 2014, Australia was horrified to hear that children with disability in a Victorian school had allegedly been locked in a darkened room, and subject to physical ‘restraint’ such a being sat on by teachers. Reportable conduct schemes vary by jurisdiction and can exclude the types of incidents that should attract robust oversight due to exclusions specific to children with disability and/or the setting in which the behaviour occurs. This response from ACDA to the Victorian Child Safe Institutions Consultation Paper argues for specific measures to close the gaps in the Victorian reportable conduct scheme.
March | Submission to the NSW Law Reform Review of the Guardianship Act
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is providing people with disability, many for the first time, access to the quality supports they require to take control over decisions that affect their lives. This change has implications for legislation focused on the concept that the exercise of capacity should be limited or denied for people with disability. In this submission PWDA recommends that reviews of the Guardianship Act be undertaken regularly to reflect the changing needs of people governed by this legislation.
March | Letter to the ACT Government Reportable Conduct Consultation Paper
PWDA ACT endorses this submission by the Australian Cross Disability Alliance to the reportable conduct consultation arising from reported incidents of abuse against children with disability within educational settings. The ACDA has a specific focus and expertise in the area of violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability, including the specific age, gender, and cultural dimensions of such violence and is particularly well suited to comment and advise on issues relating to children with disability in institutional settings, including the school environment.
March | Letter on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2015
This submission focuses on concerns regarding the potential for harm to people with disability that will arise as a result of the proposed amendments to the rules governing income management periods and special benefit. PWDA believes that the proposed changes to eligibility for special benefit in this legislation remove the discretionary nature of the payment in regard to income maintenance periods, potentially leading to hardship and poverty. This will disproportionately impact on people with disability.
March | Submission to Affordable Housing Working Group Issues Paper – Council on Federal Financial Relations, Social Policy division
PWDA advocates that future affordable housing initiatives facilitate achievement of National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 targets and is supportive of the four identified financing models: Housing Bonds, Housing Trusts, Housing Corporations, and Social Impact Bonds and consider that a mix of these initiatives may be most appropriate to meet the supply required.
February | Submission to the NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Elder Abuse
Approximately one third of PWDA’s individual advocacy clients are people with disability over 55 years of age. Over half of NSW residents with disability are aged over 55. The population is expected to age over coming decades, exposing an increased proportion of the population to the risks that come with disability and ageing. PWDA offers several recommendations for the improved treatment of aged and people with disability including a Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.
February | A Blueprint for Family and Domestic Violence Response in NSW
People with disability experience such disproportionate levels of domestic and family violence. This Blueprint will be a major intervention in the epidemic of domestic and family violence in this state. We are pleased to provide the following policy advice and recommendations to assist in ensuring that people with disability are fully included in these processes.