The Redfern Statement is available here.
PDF version: ctrmediarelease_final_27-10-16
CHANGE THE RECORD
MEDIA RELEASE – Thursday 27th October 2016
Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
imprisonment must focus on solutions
A major national inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must focus on identifying tangible solutions that address the underlying causes of imprisonment, says the Change the Record (CTR) Coalition. In welcoming today’s announcement of an Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the coalition of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, human rights and legal organisations has said it is essential that the inquiry focus on practical measures that invest in and strengthen communities.
CTR Co-Chair Shane Duffy said, “For a long time we have been calling for the Federal Government to take a leadership role on these issues, and so we welcome the Turnbull Government beginning to step up to the plate”.
“This year marks 25 years since the landmark Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC), but our people continue to experience imprisonment and violence at crisis rates. The new ALRC inquiry offers an important opportunity to shine a comprehensive light on these issues at a national level, and identify tangible actions for all levels of government” said Mr Duffy.
“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment rates, and experience of violence, are strongly linked to social and economic disadvantage and so the inquiry must include a focus on early intervention, prevention and diversion programs” said Mr Duffy.
Co-Chair Antoinette Braybrook said, “Whilst the announcement of an ALRC inquiry to examine the factors leading to the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is welcome, it is essential that the inquiry also consider issues relating to the prevention of family violence and reducing barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence to access quality, holistic, culturally safe legal services and supports.”
“It is also critical that the Terms of Reference for the inquiry are developed in close consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies, and those who are members of Change the Record. To ensure that the inquiry has a meaningful outcome, all levels of Government must commit to implementing the recommendations in full.”
“The Federal Government should also take immediate steps to highlight its commitment to improving justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including by setting meaningful national justice targets through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and committing to review the implementation of RCIADIC” said Ms Braybrook.
More information about the Change the Record campaign is available here.
June Riemer, Deputy CEO of FPDN is heading to Edinburgh Scotland to the RI World Conference next week.
RI World Congress is staged every four years, in the name of the parent organisation – Rehabilitation International (also known as RI Global) – and hosted by a trusted member. Shaw Trust is hosting the 2016 event in Edinburgh, UK.
This will be the 23rd RI World Congress, following the previous event, held in Incheon, Korea, in 2012. The event was last held in the UK in 1956, when it was opened by The Duke of Edinburgh.
RI Global is the world’s leading network for the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities. This network includes people with disabilities, service providers, government agencies, academics, researchers and advocates. Comprising an assembly of 100+ member organisations, it uses advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world where all people can enjoy active participation and full human rights.
ACT NDIS shutdown must be reversed
A number of national and ACT disability representative and advocacy organisations are today calling on the Australian and ACT governments to immediately work together to reverse the shutdown of the NDIS in the ACT.
Despite welcome reassurances from Ministers, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has stated that there will be no new NDIS participants in the ACT because the estimate of 5,075 participants contained in the ACT NDIS Bilateral Agreement has been reached. Significant alarm is being experienced by people with disability who have been waiting many years to receive appropriate disability support and they need a clear statement that the scheme will continue to make plans with eligible NDIS participants.
Craig Wallace from People with Disabilities ACT (PWDACT) stated, “We welcome efforts to resolve this, but are appalled at the decision to cease offering plans to new participants. People were explicitly told that there was no linkage between when you entered the scheme and the access to support you got. We were never told it would become a triaged system. It reverts us back to the old irrational first come, first served model. The Federal Government needs to swiftly move to end this cap and communicate that to people with disability and families.”
“The NDIS was never intended to be a rationed system and this move by the NDIA goes against the principles of the Scheme”, said Fiona May, CEO of ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS). “We are very concerned for people who are affected by this freeze. We work with people with disability who because of the complexity in their circumstances have not yet applied but very clearly need NDIS support; we have other clients whose NDIS applications have been delayed for many months by the NDIA and who are now left wondering whether they will ever get the services they need; and a group who have been found eligible but do not yet have planning appointments.”
The disability organisations acknowledge that both the ACT and the Federal Government have stated that the NDIS is not a capped scheme, and that action is being taken to bring in additional ACT NDIS participants. However, they are extremely concerned that shifting responsibility and blame gaming is counterproductive to ending this crisis.
“This takes us back to the State and Territory / Commonwealth cost shifting and game playing around disability supports that were a feature of the old, broken disability support system,” said Mr Wallace. “We will not accept this – politicians are morally and politically accountable to uphold the principles of the NDIS and act now to fix this.”
Therese Sands, Director of Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) said, “Halting access to the NDIS in the ACT has profound implications for people with disability across Australia. It creates uncertainty in all jurisdictions if the NDIS will be shutdown when estimates of the numbers of participants contained in NDIS bilateral agreements are reached. The situation in the ACT must not become a precedent for other States and Territories. We urge the Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Christian Porter to quickly resolve this for people with disability in the ACT and people with disability across Australia.”
Craig Wallace 0413 135 731
Campaign Manager, People with Disabilities ACT (PWDACT)
Fiona May 0411 538 879
CEO, ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS)
Therese Sands 0412 935 128
Director, Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia
Follow the Twitter hashtag #HandsoffourNDIS for the latest news.
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(i) A young person who has an acquired brain injury through to exposure to violence, or alcohol or volatile substance misuse. A common residential arrangement for these people can be a town camp, or living under a bridge.
(ii) An inherited distrust of Government bureaucracies, a consequence of the forced removal practices of the past, where people with disability were institutionalised and often placed into an environment where they were exposed to abuse and neglect.
Peak disability group condemns decision to deny Deaf juror equal access
Today the High Court of Australia unanimously rejected an appeal from Gaye Lyons, a Queensland women who had been turned down for jury service because she requires as Auslan interpreter to participate in proceedings.
“The decision is very disappointing”, says peak national disability group, Disabled Persons Organisations Australia (DPO Australia). “However, we won’t be deterred in our fight to ensure that people who are Deaf, or with disability, can access the justice system on an equal basis with other Australians,” said Ngila Bevan, Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia and member of DPO Australia.
“Australians who are Deaf, or have disability, have the right to participate in civic duties, including serving on juries. Denial of this right also excludes the perspective of people with disability from the administration of justice, and means that juries do not reflect the diversity within our communities,’’ said Dwayne Cranfield, CEO of National Ethnic Disability Alliance and member of DPO Australia.
DPO Australia will support actions to take this decision to the UN Committee to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Australia ratified in 2008.
“The Convention states that people with disability must be supported to exercise their rights and express their opinions ‘through all forms of communication of their choice’” said Ms Bevan.
“People who are Deaf, or who require Auslan interpretation to participate in court proceedings, are being denied equal recognition before the law and this must change. It’s a problem across both civil and criminal justice systems, and it’s time for our courts and legal process to adapt to peoples differing communication requirements.”
“This decision highlights the need for a human rights act in Queensland that will recognise and protect the human rights of people who are Deaf, and have disability, on an equal basis with other Queenslanders,” said Ms Bevan.
“DPO Australia calls on the Queensland Premier and the Queensland Attorney-General to immediately enact legislation that will enable people who are Deaf to serve as jurors’’, said Ms Bevan.