Which of the following statements best describes you?
- I’m a person with disability
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?
I would make 1. Economic security and inclusion (ie economic inclusion).
At present, many people with disability live in poverty. If we can’t afford to go out, we stay at home. At home, we are much less visible to the community and are denied the opportunity to interact with a variety of people. One of the important things that needs to happen to reduce discrimination against people with disability is that those who don’t live with disability see us meet us and interact with us. That’s what helps them to recognize that we have the same needs and desires in life that they do for things like family, friends, relationships and a fulfilling life. I’ve had several friends tell me that meeting me has changed their ideas about disability and have read the same in research. If disabled people remain commonly too poor to live an ordinary life – going out with friends and attending community events – discrimination and segregation is likely to continue. Staying at home also robs us of the opportunities that community connection offers to learn, grow and develop skills.
What do you think about the guiding principles proposed here?
Design universally: have the principles of universal design been applied where possible and has the project taken advantage of accessible and assistive technology where available?
I would remove the words “where possible” and “where available”. If it’s not possible or not available it won’t happen but putting those phrases in there presents the option of claiming that it’s too hard. We need a clear expectation that universal design should be applied and accessible and assistive technology should be used.
What is your view on the proposal for the new Strategy to have a stronger emphasis on improving community attitudes across all outcome areas?
I agree that the new Strategy should have a strong emphasis on improving community attitudes across all outcome areas – including evidence based strategies to achieve this and means of measuring how much change occurs. I’ve spent several years on Newstart/jobseeker. that government requires disabled people to look for jobs but there’s no pressure on employers to take us on, so we remain unemployed where our non-disabled peers would not. The community needs to decide to include us. the government also needs to change their attitude and recognise that discrimination is a big factor keeping us out of work – not our unwillingness to work.
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?
Maybe but only if the government’s priority is to give people the help they need rather than looking for ways to deny assistance (as they appear to when people apply for the DSP).
How do you think the Strategy should represent the role that the non-government sector plays in improving outcomes for people with disability?
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?
Each of the outcome areas should be reported on, including data on the employment rates of disabled people – in government, particularly. The reporting needs to acknowledge progress still to be made as well as noting achievements.
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)?
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?
To get good results from the Strategy, ongoing funding and employment must be provided in the disability sector. Disability NGO staff and NDIS LACs (possibly other NDIS staff) are commonly employed on limited contracts. Every time I’ve renewed my NDIS plan, I’ve had a different planner. Short term contracts increase the likelihood of people moving on. When they do so, their experience is lost and it becomes much harder to make progress. Disability is a complex area where people need time to gain the knowledge and experience to do the job well. At present, the system works against that. The sector also needs to employ more disabled people. We need secure employment with the time and opportunity to develop skills.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the ideas and proposals in the position paper?