Deb Rouget – Belonging Matters

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?

The area of people with a disability having a home, they call their own (prefer not to call it accommodation as most of us only use accommodation on holidays. Most citizens say “going home, purchasing a home etc”). The area of accessibility and affordability is also crucial in regard to home. Th current paradigm of congregated living needs to be dismantled e.g group homes, cluster housing etc. How do we support people with a disability to live in their own home with a range of supports?

We’d like to see the inclusion of “individualisation.” Its vital that people have personalised and individualised options and supports according to their interests, aspirations and needs.

Capacity building is crucial. People with a disability and families need access to capacity building resources to enable them to build and pursue a vision for a full, meaningful and inclusive life. Much information is aimed at diagnosis and choosing services (that often segregate people, particularly people with an intellectual disability). This is also true for the sector and services. We need to raise expectations and design supports to enable people with a disability to pursue valued roles in their communities, not services that tuck them away with their own kind. We need much innovation!

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

Inclusion of self determination, individualisation and full inclusion. Just because we have universal design, doesn’t mean people with a disability will be included.
In regard to barriers – Service reform is necessary i.e the prevention of segregated, congregated and special services.
Build and encourage the capacity of people with a disability to contribute and take up valued roles in the community.

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?

Yes, building community expectations is needed. But its not just about community attitudes. Services still segregate people, particularly with intellectual disability from the community. How do we ever change community attitudes when people are kept hidden away from the community? We need to create services which embrace, individualisation, social inclusion and mainstream or open employment. Once people are well supported to take up valued roles in the community many negative myths and assumptions dissipate.

We also need to build the capacity of people with an intellectual disability and their families to have a vision for a full, meaningful and inclusive live and how to make this a reality. We have found capacity building crucial to enabling people, particularly with intellectual disability and their families to learn about inclusion and pursue the same pathways that are available to other citizens e.g mainstream education, work and community opportunities. Capacity building is crucial in creating change and creating positive examples for other to learn from.

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?

Inclusion of people with a disability and families in all aspects of policy development and implementation
Investments in capacity building, leadership and change

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?

Accountability of services
Service transformation and reform to individualised supports, that are flexible, creative and focused on full and meaningful social and economic inclusion.
Dismantle segregated and congregated service provision.
Invest in the leadership of people with a disability and families who are committed to inclusion.

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 reduction of segregation and congregated services, schools etc.

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)?

Outcomes need to reflect the lived experience of people with a disability and measure progress on inclusion. Any mechanisms to implement outcome measures should be simple, straight forward and not add another layer of bureaucracy and complication.

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?

Include a range of people with a disability e.g people with an intellectual disability. Provide support that enables people to contribute in a meaningful way
Include leaders who are clear and have shown progress in regard to social inclusion.

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

Nil input.