Expertise of people with disability vital to the Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

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20 December 2016

Expertise of people with disability vital to the
Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

A diverse partnership of 37 representative organisations of people with disability, disability advocacy organisations and disability peak bodies are calling for the 2017 Board of the NDIA to ensure strong representation of people with disability.  The partner organisations made their call as part of a Civil Society NDIS Statement directed to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
The Australian Government is expected to announce new appointments to the NDIA Board by the 1 January 2017.  Media reports earlier in the year indicated that, regardless of agreement by State and Territory Governments, the appointees would be ‘corporate heavyweights’ with high level commercial skills.
Spokespersons for the partner organisations stress that the success of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) requires Board leadership and skillsets that go well beyond industry and financial management:
“The success of NDIS implementation cannot be adequately understood from simply an economic, market or financial perspective,” said Bonnie Millen, President of People with Disability Australia.  “We expect NDIA board members to lead and uphold the vision, objects and principles of the NDIS, which broadly aim to support our independence and social and economic participation.  This requires specific technical and disability knowledge, skills and expertise, and strong representation of people with disability on the NDIA Board is critical to achieving this.”
Christina Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of Advocacy for Inclusion said, “High level corporate skills cannot be favoured over disability expertise.  The long-term viability of the NDIS needs to remain steadfast in achieving core principles, including participant choice and control and genuine co-design by people with disability. We are the experts in our own lives, and this expertise is critical to the integrity and cost effectiveness of NDIS implementation.  The Government wrongly assumes that there are no people with disability with the high level governance, financial management and industry expertise required for the NDIA Board.”
Executive Director of Community Mental Health Australia, Amanda Bresnan said, “Building strong linkages between the NDIS and other service systems, including the mental health service system is critical for people with psychosocial disability.  NDIS governance must include people with disability to reflect the unique combination of expertise that is essential for a scheme that is more than an exercise in industry and financial management – it is designed to deliver secure lifetime support and equality of opportunity.”
Information for media:
The Civil Society NDIS Statement outlines critical areas of action to strengthen engagement with people with disability in all aspects of the NDIS, including in relation to the Board of the NDIA.  The Statement includes the list of 37 partner organisations and is available online.

Uncle Lester Bostock awarded honorary doctorate by AFTRS

Uncle Lester Bostock was awarded honorary doctorate on Friday 9 December by AFTRS. Lester Bostock is a leader of the Aboriginal disability movement and Aboriginal film-making and media.

AFTRS released the following statement after the ceremony:

Lester Bostock, a pioneer of Indigenous media in Australia, and Academy-Award®-winning sound designer David White, have been named recipients of the Australian Film Television and Radio School’s Honorary Degree (Doctor of Arts).

As Honorary Degree recipients, Lester Bostock and David White join a select group of significant Australian film and television industry practitioners including Darren Dale, Phillip Noyce, Dr George Miller, Baz Luhrmann, John Edwards and Jan Chapman.

Lester Bostock, commonly known as ‘Uncle Lester’ is a renowned filmmaker, mentor and Bundjalung Elder, and an inspiration and guiding light for a generation of Indigenous filmmakers. Lester has also been at the forefront of promoting and protecting the human rights of Aboriginal people with disability in Australia over several decades.

In the 1990s, Uncle Lester ran accelerated training workshops at AFTRS in television and from this ground-breaking program many Indigenous filmmakers were introduced to the industry and continue to work today.

From that foundational work, his legacy paved the way for the establishment of the AFTRS Indigenous Unit.

“Lester’s training programs have been instrumental in the increase in Indigenous drama production among emerging filmmakers, and his guidance and tenacity over the years has contributed greatly to the number of extraordinarily talented Indigenous filmmakers in the industry today.”

– AFTRS Chair Julianne Schultz AM FAHA

Uncle Lester’s experience as Associate Producer on Lousy Little Sixpence resulted in his push for training in film and television for Indigenous people. He also began to write policies and protocols on filming in Aboriginal communities and for Indigenous employment.

Uncle Lester’s long-standing passion for the arts is well known. He was one of the founding members of Black Theatre in the 1970s, and instrumental in the formation of Radio Redfern, now Koori Radio, in the 80s. He was the first Aboriginal presenter on SBS Radio, gravitating naturally to SBS Television as part of the first Aboriginal program team with Rhoda Roberts.

He has received numerous awards for community service over the years including a Centenary Medal, the NSW Law and Justice Foundation Award for Aboriginal Justice and in 2010 Uncle Lester was the NAIDOC Elder of the Year.



Jane Rosengrave recipient of the Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award at the Australian Human Rights Awards

Jane Rosengrave received the Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award at the Australian Human Rights Awards 2016 on Friday.

The Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Community Award – Individual is awarded to a person with a track record in promoting and advancing human rights in the Australian community on a not-for-profit basis.

Jane Rosengrave is a proud Yorta Yorta woman and disability advocate. Jane lives with an intellectual disability and is widely respected for her fearless advocacy regarding violence against people with disability. Jane has given evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and supported others to give evidence too. Jane lived in institutions from six months old, in conditions she describes as “like a jail”. From the age of six until she turned 21, she experienced sexual abuse and emotional torment by more than one perpetrator. After leaving the institution as an adult, she went on to live in an abusive relationship for 16 years. She now has a home of her own and is “free as a bird” from those who impacted on her earlier life.

Jane’s story was featured on ABC’s Lateline recently. You can watch her story online here. Please be aware that the video could trigger issues for some people (trigger warning).

The team at FPDN congratulates Jane on this well deserved recognition of her bravery, leadership and advocacy.




Change the Record: COAG must seize opportunity for action on imprisonment and violence rates.

Change The Record Coalition put out this media release today.

COAG must seize opportunity for action on imprisonment and violence rates.


The Change the Record Coalition  is urging Federal, State and Territory Governments to show leadership, and commit to developing national justice targets when COAG meets this Friday. The Prime Minister has noted that youth justice will be on the agenda and Change the Record is calling for measurable targets to be set to reduce over-imprisonment, and high rates of violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children.

Co-Chair Shane Duffy said, “The over-representation of our people in the criminal justice system, and high rates of violence being experienced, is both cause and effect for the poor state of health, education and employment outcomes of so many of our families and communities.”

“Tomorrow’s COAG meeting presents Federal, State and Territory governments with a critical opportunity to work together to tackle these issues head on.”

“The safer communities ‘building block’ remains the only area of the ‘Closing the Gap’ strategy without targets attached. National justice targets – aimed at ending violence against our women and children, and reducing the over-imprisonment of our people – must be set and implemented as a matter of urgency” said Mr Duffy.

Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are around 13 times more likely to incarcerated. And the situation is even worse for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who are 24 times more likely to be imprisoned than their non-Indigenous counterparts. At the same time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised for family violence related assault, and almost 10 times more likely to die from violent assault than non-Indigenous women.

Co-Chair Antoinette Braybrook said, “Until governments commit to a whole-of-government approach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children will continue to be disproportionately impacted by family violence. We need immediate and concrete action by all Australian governments.”

“Of particular concern is the high numbers of our young people ending up in detention, and the interrelationship with child protection and family violence rates.  We need all levels of government to work together and commit to justice reinvestment approaches, and greater investment in early intervention and prevention initiatives, which aim to support families and prevent our people from coming into contact with the justice system in the first place.”

The Change the Record Coalition is calling for:

  • The setting of national justice targets (focused on both violence and incarceration rates) and a nationally co-ordinated whole-of-government approach;
  • A commitment to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their organisations and representative bodies, to support the identification and development of place-based ‘justice reinvestment’ sites;
  • More support for early intervention, prevention and diversion programs;
  • Raising the Age of Criminal responsibility to at least 12 years; and
  • Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), to ensure proper and independent monitoring mechanisms are in place to prevent the mistreatment of people in all places of detention.

– ENDS –


FPDN attends International Day of People with Disability event in WA #IDPWD

On Friday 2 December 2016, NSW Manager Dianne Brookes and WA coordinator, Wendy Wright attended an International Day of People with Disability event at Crown Casino, Perth. 15202512_1853155051566197_1439214760161184755_n

The Hon. Donna Faragher, Minister for Planning; Disability services made an announcement regarding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Western Australia. The Minister’s statement regarding the announcement is available online.


Media Release: International Day of People with Disability Celebrate, Reflect, Act

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2 December 2016
International Day of People with Disability
Celebrate, Reflect, Act
The 3 December each year is the United Nations International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD).  This IDPwD, Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) celebrates the achievements and contributions of people with disability, reflects on our gains in creating equity and inclusion, and continues to act to make our human rights a reality.
IDPwD 2016 coincides with the ten year anniversary of the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and along with the recent UN adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it underpins this year’s IDPwD theme – “Achieving 17 goals for the Future We Want”.
“People with disability have been critical to the development of the CRPD and the SDGs, and we continue to focus on making our rights a reality in Australia to achieve the future we want,” said Therese Sands, Director DPO Australia. “People with disability fought for the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and shaped government measures to achieve an inclusive society through the National Disability Strategy (NDS).  We now need to ensure that we remain central to the implementation of the NDIS and NDS.”
“There remains much more to be done to address ongoing human rights violations that expose the reality of our lives.  Almost half of people with disability continue to live in poverty and are half as likely to be employed as people without disability.  People with disability still live in segregated, institutional environments, continue to experience high levels of violence and abuse, can be indefinitely detained in prisons without conviction, face discrimination in immigration policy, and still face significant barriers to inclusive education, our communities and services”, continued Ms Sands.  “DPO Australia will continue to take concerted and comprehensive action, and work with Australian governments to address these human rights violations”.
DPO Australia has set out its priorities for action in its Activity Work Plan 2016-2017.
A call to action and 13 policy priorities for commitment by political parties are set out in the 2016 Election Platform.