Deafness Forum of Australia

Which of the following statements best describes you?

I’m a disability advocate and/or work for a disability peak association or service provider.

Question 1:
During the first stage of consultations we heard that the vision and the six outcome areas under the current Strategy are still the right ones. Do you have any comments on the vision and outcome areas being proposed for the new Strategy?

One area of focus in the next 5 years will reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian economy which will result in an immediate and far-reaching setback to the goal of people with disability gaining and retaining appropriate employment and thereby economic security.

Question 2:
What do you think about the guiding principles proposed here?

We suggest that there be an additional guiding principle, vis:

Have communications been designed to suit the particular needs of the person with disability? Eg., Plain language, Easy English, and specifically for people with hearing loss and who are Deaf:
• videos must be captioned for universal access.
• links to external video content will not be published on the site unless the videos are captioned.
• audio tracks will be accompanied by transcripts.
• links to external audio content will not be published unless the accompanied by transcripts.

Question 3:
What is your view on the proposal for the new Strategy to have a stronger emphasis on improving community attitudes across all outcome areas?

Our view is this proposed emphasis on improving community attitudes is vital to addressing discrimination and inequality.
In so many of our consultations with our members and generally with people with hearing loss we learn that their hearing difficulty is not the impediment, but rather the poor design of systems and a lack of awareness or unwillingness of other members of the community to make reasonable accommodations.

Question 4:
How do you think that clearly outlining what each government is responsible for could make it easier for people with disability to access the supports and services they need?

It can only be a good thing if the roles and responsibilities are specified and publicised. But there would need to be process and procedure in place to have an effect on people’s capacity to access the supports and services they need for daily life. Processes should be clear and guidelines stringent and a streamlined and easy access complaints mechanism in addition to the current arrangements be built in.

Question 5:
How do you think the Strategy should represent the role that the non-government sector plays in improving outcomes for people with disability?

We do not possess the resources to undertake work on this important topic. So, the pragmatic response at this time would be to suggest that organisations representing consumers should be funded to undertake such a body of work.

Question 6:
What kind of information on the Strategy’s progress should governments make available to the public and how often should this information be made available?

Activities, outputs and outcomes should be reported annually; and in a cumulative way.  Data should be not be de-identified. We would like to learn how the NSW Education or VicRail are progressing their goals, for example.  Reporting should not be of a self-reporting type.  There should be an independent, external regime in place.

Question 7:
What do you think of the proposal to have Targeted Action Plans that focus on making improvements in specific areas within a defined period of time (for example within one, two or three years)?

We support the idea of targeted actions at a particular time. This would sensibly reflect the way community organisations that have a stake in the National Disability Strategy, faced with a huge range of issues competing for attention, are able to prioritise their attention to get the best value and outcomes from limited resources.  The issue would be who and how are priorities determined?

Question 8:
How could the proposed Engagement Plan ensure people with disability, and the disability community, are involved in the delivery and monitoring of the next Strategy?

Nil input.

Question 9:
Is there anything else you would like to share about the ideas and proposals in the position paper?

We believe that one of the major impediments to implementing a National Disability Strategy is the challenge posed by the silos within the 3 tiers of government.