Which of the following statements best describes you?

  • I’m a person with disability
  • I’m a parent / guardian or other family member of a person with disability
  • I’m a carer of a person with disability
  • 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?

Self determination is an important principle nowhere in this does it get mentioned.

Disabled people where possible deserve the right for full control over their lives.

A charter of human rights is needed to ensure the disabled don’t have to beg for services and then fight for them not to be taken away.

In Victoria pools reopened but the disabled, elderly and chronically ill were barred form rehab pools unless accompanied by an OT or physio. A charter of human rights would have prevented this.

These rights should enshrine that no specific disabled policy be enacted without high level input form those directly affected.

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

The principles should address self-determination, they should priorities disabled communities as valued communities as deserving of community asany other minority.

Science based evidence needs to underpin everything. For instance the Deaf community as a community is not valued and the State actively tries to see it cease to be by not promoting Auslan and isolating deaf children from their peers.Evidence shows co-language development of Auslan and English improves both.

Similarly many people involved in para-sport are part of a vibrant and worthwhile community. Policy making needs to not see disability as something to be eliminated, as this causes them to not see the value of community. Disability will be with us for a long time and it’s crucial that those with disabilities are not systemically isolated from others like them which is currently the case.

Deaf people feel very much a kinship with Indigenous people in that it feels their is a systemic and conscious effort to remove our culture from existing.

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?

Firstly only with new money and not at the expense of direct disability service provision.

A charter of human rights would give this some teeth. Advertising campaigns don’t cut it. America has good access because people are afraid of being sued for millions.

The public needs to feel they have to go out of their way to be better.

This section worries us greatly as it seems an excuse to pay McCann millions of dollars to run adds on Seven, Fox and News Limited. This is a terrible outcome taking money form the disabled and giving it to corporate Australia.

This effort would be FAR better spent working on a charter of human rights. Many valuable examples of this exist and the benefits for the disabled and others would far outweigh an add campaign which seems to be the goal here.

Also NDIS funds MUST be quarantined for the NDIS. A poorly administered system that under spends is NOT a bank for the Government to to use for other things. Fix the system to get the money out the door!

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?

NDIS service provision needs very clear KPI’s and punishment for poor service providers.

Confusion between state, federal and service providers is not the issue.The issue is it’s impossible to navigate without fierce advocacy and the NGOs treat you like a case number to meet their targets.

Also NDIS funds to be quarantined for NDIS and not taken when underspent. An NDIS underspend is a tragedy as it means that a poor administered system ha snot given people the help they need. It is NOT cause for Mathias Cormann to celebrate and use that money elsewhere.

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?

Service providers such as NGO’s play a role but again not at the expense of money to actual disabled people.

Regulation and a charter of human rights are needed to make work places take the hiring and training of disabled people seriously. Quotas are needed, employment should match population.

Organisations owned, managed or with high disabled staffing ratios should have preference for NDIS work across the board.

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?

The full report should model the Closing the Gap report and be tabled annually. Once every two years is just once a parliamentary term as opposed to three times. It is in effect three times more accountable.

DeafACT feels strongly that once every two years is a cop out and the full report should be tabled annually.

It should be modelled very closely on Closing the Gap with a dedicated space in the parliamentary calendar.

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)?

Target Action Plans sound good.

DeafACT would like them to target social exclusion and mental health particularly.

DeafACT’s most pressing issues is mental health services. The ACT lost it’s only signing counsellor and we are facing a mental health epidemic in our community especially due to COVID.

Social exclusion should also look at systemic factors such as the medical and early intervention systems actively steering deaf children away form signing and engaging with other deaf people. The education system isolating deaf students from their peers and the rejection of science that says Auslan and English acquisition is greater when both are taught.

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?

No conversation about us without us! Health federally just announced a hearing services review but failed to appoint anyone with a lived experience to head the review.

This is a scandal.

A WOG approach should be adopted. Every new policy should have to ask the question ‘How does this affect disabled people?” for instance the Indue Card has a disproportionate affect on people with a disability who don’t qualify for disability benefits. They may be severely limited as to where they purchase speciality items form if their other purchases are limited to major retailers or they can’t use the indue card to purchase a special item.

Recent Pandemic Jobkeeper, Jobseeker etc payments left people on the disability pension out of the frame – meaning many who were now facing limits to their ability to work, needing to purchase items online an pay for postage etc at a disadvantage.

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

1. Stop trying to systemically dismantle Deaf culture and community from early intervention through to an Adult accessing the NDIS barriers are in place to isolated deaf people and this is causing great mental stress and loneliness.

2. Stop stealing NDIS underspends. A poorly administered system is not an excuse to rob money form our most vulnerable.

3. Science backs up mutual language acquisition Auslan/English our early intervention and education systems need to listen to science.

4. Now policy review without a person with lived experience at the head like the current Hearing Services review.

5. Change the procurement rules so that disability organisations can access government procurement along the same lines as the IPP. Owned and managed by not ‘delivering services for’.

6. Bring in employment quotas for the disabled.

7. A charter of human rights to enshrine services and give the disabled permanent services that can’t be taken away and give us teeth when dealing with the corporate world.

8. NGO’s with a repeated history of abuse of disabled people in their care should be banned from tendering for NDIS and other Government funds.

9. A statement that values disabled communities and culture as valid and valuable and beneficial. Currently the system seems bent on practising eugenics on us which starts with denying that our cultures have any inherent value. Being Deaf is NOT something to be eliminated it is a vibrant rich culture to be fostered and cherished.