People with disability organisations critical to an NDIS future

Media Release, 3rd December 2015

Disability Australia welcomes the announcement today by the Australian Labor Party on International Day of People with Disability to re-fund people with disability organisations that represent over 200,000 people with disability across Australia.

“We welcome today’s announcement and call for bi-partisan support for long-term stability and funding for people with disability organisations that were critical in achieving the NDIS”, said Matthew Wright, CEO of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, and spokesperson for Disability Australia.

Did you know that:

  • Over 4 million people in Australia have some form of disability. That’s 1 in 5 people.
  • The Senate inquiry has just found that abuse of people with disability is endemic in Australia and recommended a Royal Commission
  • People with disability are twice as likely to be in the bottom 20% of gross household incomes
  • 53% of people with a disability aged 15 – 64yrs are currently employed, compared with 83% of people without a disability
  • Only 19% of people with a disability who are employed work as a professional
  • 36% of people with a disability aged 18 – 64yrs have completed Year 12, compared with 60% of those without a disability
  • People with a profound disability are 9 times less likely to participate in activities outside the home
  • 45% of those with a disability in Australia are living either near or below the poverty line, more than double the OECD average of 22%
  • There is a risk that the NDIS will expand the current models that perpetuate these problems, without considered input from the peak bodies that provide a direct channel for the voices of people affected by the new scheme

People with disability organisations providing good systemic advocacy is imperative to address these problems. With the NDIS at a crucial juncture it’s vital that people with disability organisations are supported in tandem with the roll out of the NDIS to ensure we address these important issues.

People with disability, their families and representative organisations need long-term commitment from Government and Opposition and secure and stable funding to help them reach their full potential.

Disability Australia calls on the Turnbull Government to match Labor’s funding commitment.

Please direct all enquiries to AFDO CEO, Mr Matthew Wright on 0428 608 861.

New report demands equal access to knowledge for the visually impaired

New report demands equal access to knowledge for the visually impaired
3 December 2015, Bangkok

Ensuring the right to knowledge among persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled should be a higher development priority, says a new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Blind Union – Asia Pacific (WBUAP).

Lack of equitable, timely and affordable access to published works in accessible formats, such as braille, audio or e-books, is preventing millions of persons with print disabilities from harnessing crucial human development opportunities. As a result, persons with print disabilities are being excluded from education, employment, healthcare and participation in just about any aspect of political, economic and social lives.

Released on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Our right to knowledge: Legal reviews for the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities in Asia and the Pacific provides technical guidance for six countries on legal reforms to facilitate the ratification process and to take full advantage of the Marrakesh Treaty.

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled was concluded in June 2013 and aims to remove legal obstacles that are hindering the reproduction of published works in accessible formats and their cross-border dissemination. The Treaty paves the way for an enabling legal environment to pursue the goal of accessing “the same book, at the same time and at the same price” by persons with print disabilities, while ensuring that an author’s rights and interests are protected.

However, it has yet to enter into force. The Treaty requires ratification by 20 countries, but to date that number sits at just 11. Greater efforts are needed to facilitate the ratification so that the benefits of the Treaty will reach persons with print disabilities without delay.

“This report offers a clear rationale and practical legal guidance to realize the principle of ‘leaving no one behind, a key feature of the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”,” said Nadia Rasheed, Team Leader, HIV, Health and Development, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub.

“Ratifying and implementing the Marrakesh Treaty are about realizing the fundamental rights of one of the most marginalized populations, reducing poverty, and eliminating exclusion to achieve inclusive development, which underpin UNDP’s core development vision.”

The report explains key provisions and expected benefits of the Marrakesh Treaty, and is designed to help government, community and development partners recognize the importance of the Treaty and to facilitate capacity development and policy dialogue.

Furthermore, the report helps situate the ratification and implementation of the Treaty as part of collective efforts towards achieving the SDGs and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“Children and adults with blindness, low vision or other print disabilities have been denied access to print materials for far too long,” says Michiko Tabata, President of the WBUAP. “Now that we have the Marrakesh Treaty on its way toward enactment, this WBUAP-UNDP partnership and the report will serve as a guiding light for countries and contribute to the realization of the very basic human rights of access to knowledge.”

The World Blind Union estimates that less than 1 percent of published books are ever made into accessible formats in developing countries, and it is in these countries where the vast majority, or 90 percent of 285 million, visually impaired people reside.

The situation has been described as a ‘book famine’. The importance of greater access to published works in accessible formats is expected to become more pronounced as the world witnesses an increasing number of persons with print disabilities due to population ageing and rapid growth of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes.

Download the report in PDF and accessible formats at: Our right to knowledge

For more information, contact:
Ian Mungall
Programme Analyst HIV, Health and Development
UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Neil Jarvis
Regional Coordinator for the Marrakesh Treaty Campaign
World Blind Union – Asia-Pacific

December 2015 Edition of BCA News

The December 2015 edition of BCA News is now available! To grab your copy please go to BCA News December 2015 (Word doc)

Latest World Blind Union e-Bulletin

The October edition of the World Blind Union’s E-Bulletin is now available! Pleas go here to grab your copy: WBU October E-Bulletin (Word docx)

Delivering the NDIS to more than half of eligible Australians

16 September 2015

Joint Media Release with:

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister

The Hon. Mike Baird MP
Premier of New South Wales

The Hon. Daniel Andrews MP
Premier of Victoria

The Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian governments today signed the first agreements for the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Today’s historic signings confirm the joint commitment of the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian Governments to people with disability, their families and carers.

The agreements give certainty to around 140,000 people with disability in New South Wales and around 105,000 people with disability in Victoria. They also give certainty to their families and carers.

Together, the signed agreements with New South Wales and Victoria cover more than half of around 460,000 Australians and their families who are expected to be eligible for support from the NDIS when it is fully rolled out.

The NDIS is one of the largest social policy reforms in Australia’s history. Working together, our governments are building a sustainable scheme that will stand the test of time.

Transition will begin in July 2016, with a geographical roll out moving from region to region, covering all eligible people under 65.

The region-by-region roll outs will ensure service providers have time to grow, to meet the needs of their clients and to meet demand.

In New South Wales, the rollout will start with the Central Coast, Hunter-New England, Nepean-Blue Mountains, Northern Sydney, South-Western Sydney, Western Sydney, and Southern New South Wales regions.

The Illawarra-Shoalhaven, Mid North Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern New South Wales, South-Eastern Sydney, Sydney, Western New South Wales, and the Far West regions will start entering the scheme from July 2017.

In Victoria, the Northern East Melbourne, Central Highlands and Loddon regions will join the scheme from 1 July 2016. The regions of Inner Gippsland, Ovens-Murray, Western District, Inner Eastern Melbourne, Outer Eastern Melbourne, Hume-Moreland and the Bayside Peninsula will commence from July 2017, followed by Southern Melbourne, Western Melbourne, Brimbank-Melton, Goulburn, Mallee and Outer Gippsland from July 2018.

Victorian children on the Early Childhood Intervention Services waitlist will enter the scheme during the first two years of transition and ahead of the scheduled transition of each region.

Today’s agreements are a huge accomplishment for the people of New South Wales and Victoria and will ensure people with disability in these states have access to the lifetime choice and support they need.