Media release: Time to get serious about inclusion for people with disability

26 February 2019

People with disability are calling on all political parties to get serious about our inclusion in the community in the 2019 NSW State Election.

“There are 1.4 million people with disability living in NSW, and we are excluded from many aspects of community life, and essential services. We want to this be on the agenda, and see real commitments to change in the NSW Election this year,” said Dr David Abello, President of People with Disability Australia.

“Only 10% of people with disability in NSW will be eligible for NDIS support – the NSW Government can’t wash their hands of responsibility for the other 90% of people with disability who have the right to an equal share of community life.”

PWDA, with colleagues in the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance, is calling on all political parties in NSW to commit to ongoing, permanent funding for independent disability advocacy, representation and information services, such as PWDA.

“People with disability need a voice of our own to be heard on both individual issues and contributing our experiences and expertise to the policies that affect our lives. We are also calling for a new Minister for Disability Inclusion to coordinate and lead the next Government on disability issues,” said Dr Abello.

“We also need urgent access to more accessible and affordable housing, and to move away from housing options such as group homes, cluster housing and supported accommodation. We have the right to live in the community, just like non-disabled people do. We need the next NSW Government to commit to a comprehensive social and affordable housing strategy for people with disability.”

In addition, the PWDA NSW Election platform calls for an accelerated program to make all NSW public transport accessible for people with disability, particularly for those people with disability living in regional, rural and remote areas.

“Many people with disability face high levels of unacceptable violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. We need investment in a human rights approach to preventing this appalling violence, and increase the accessibility of our domestic and family violence services. We are pleased that NSW has committed to the Federal Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability, and look forward to seeing more details of this promise,” said Dr Abello.

“We must have a NSW Disability Justice Strategy that will both help people with disability get justice, but also to stop the terrible over-representation of people with cognitive and/or psychosocial disability in prison.”

Specialist disability justice services, such as the Community Justice Program, must continue to be funded, and new services that target early intervention need to be implemented.

“People with disability are looking for serious commitments to making sure we are included in the NSW community. The next NSW Government needs to refocus on the needs of people with disability, particularly for the other 90% who aren’t eligible for NDIS supports,” said Dr Abello.