S. Stevens



Person with disability

1. Do you believe the current Framework encompasses your vision of advocacy in the NDIS environment? If not, what changes are required?
The framework in general is not delivering the outcomes it was designed to. To quote Graeme Innes “Employment for people with disabilities still sits at a rate 30 per cent below the general population. Completion of the Higher Schools Certificate sits at half that of the general population and 45 per cent of people with disabilities live in poverty”. Therefore people with disabilities remain very disempowered and disadvantaged despite the National Disability Advocacy Framework. Why? The current framework needs to include attitudinal change. Whilst the dichotomy of disabled vs able exists people with disabilities won’t achieve equality because being tagged disabled equates to being thought of as less than human.

2. Are the principles of the Framework appropriate for guiding the delivery of advocacy for people with disability in a changing disability environment, including in the context of the NDIS? If not, what changes are required?
The principals of the framework are appropriate for guiding the delivery of the NDIS

3. Are the outcomes of the Framework still relevant or should different ones be included? If so, what should be included?
Yes the outcomes of the Framework are still relevant and as the NDIS rolls out it is my hope that they are achieved at a greater level so people with disabilities quality of life improves considerably.

4. Are the outputs of the Framework still relevant or should different outputs be included?

The outputs of the Framework are still relevant.

5. Does the Framework identify what is needed in the current and future disability environment? If not, what changes are required?
For a number of years I have been a member of a committee of management of an advocacy organisation. During that time I have witnessed a significant reduction in funding in the advocacy sector. It is my belief that government does not give advocacy the importance or the funding it deserves and this needs to change.
Government funded advocacy must be a crucial feature of the NDIS. People with disabilities will require access to advocacy from independent organisations who are not service providers to ensure there is no conflict of interest and they receive the support they choose and need.
The axing the Disability Commissioner gives the impression that the rights of people with disabilities are not valued by government. And it just keeps getting worse; when government sees a need for a wind farm commissioner but not a disability commissioner. The message sent by government is people with disabilities are a low priority which filters down into the communities in which we live. The government needs to lead by example and provide the funding for services and infrastructure so people with disabilities can access the community like everyone else.
If the rights of people with disabilities are not met a complaint with the Human Rights Commission can be lodged. The problem is the Commission has no power to enforce any judgement they may make and this needs to change. There needs to be a consequence for those who abuse the rights of people with disabilities.

6. Do you have any other comments, thoughts or ideas about the Framework?

I encourage government as part of their review to ask these questions:
Why does government continue to use a concept such as disability when it divides society in an unfavourable way?
Why is the National Advocacy Framework not delivering the expected outcomes?
Unfortunately the government’s actions speak louder than their words:
• The recent budget disadvantaged the disadvantaged whilst the wealthy could continue paying less tax. Where is the justice in that?
• The BSWAT Bill that recently passed in parliament will see workers in AED’s receive 50% of what they are owed due to being underpaid. Where is the justice in that?
• Changes to the Social Security tables have been made making it more difficult for people with disabilities to qualify for the Disability Support Pension, especially those under 35 years of age. Where is the justice in that?
Finally I would like to say that this review should have consisted of written submissions and public forums so people with disabilities and their carers could have their voices heard.