Veronica Stephan-Miller

Which of the following statements best describes you?

  • I’m a person with disability

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?

It is difficult finding which services are available, and finding the right person to assist in helping with specific things. Also, housing is a very important issue, especially here in western Melbourne.

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

A national/federal standard NGOs such as a careers (companion) card would be good. I would be eligible for one in NSW, but am not in Victoria. Standardising the secondary disability parking set up would also be good (ie: in Qld a red permit has specific parking near the entrance, but normal width, in Vic there’s a 2X permit with no special parking and is practically useless).

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?

This needs to be expanded to include housing. My housemate and I are both disabled, and have difficulty being approved by a landlord even though real estate property managers have described our references as glowing. We are lumped with low income groups and therefore as undesirable tenants.

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?

This would be helpful, however a clear directory that is user friendly needs to be put in place to help people with disabilities find the help or service they need.

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?

Govt and non-govt buildings all need to be wheelchair accessible, be easy for people with sight impairment to navigate, and the staff need to be aware of how to communicate with people with a hearing or speech impairment.

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?

Annual reporting with an easy to follow format.

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)?

Targeted Action Plans are a good idea, especially defining a timeframe. Safety, including housing, is a high priority; as is being able to travel easily and in safety. Train stations, for example, can be difficult or impossible to travel with a walking frame or wheelchair, VicPT journey planner is not good enough to work out a useable route for a wheelchair user who is not already familiar with the city.

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?

The govt needs to actively consult with organisations such as Women with Disabilities Victoria and ask what is important, what needs to be done. Have people with disabilities involved directly by being employed by the govt in positions that determine the Strategy, implementation, etc. Look at WDV as an example of how people with disabilities have a valuable pool of experience to contribute.

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

People with disabilities need to be in charge of strategies affecting them: Nothing about us, without us. Able bodied people cannot understand the difficulties of navigating life with a disability. Just like women needed to be able to make decisions and strategies to advance women’s issues, people with disabilities (women especially) need to be in positions to form the decisions and strategies to advance quality of life for people with disabilities.