NAIDOC: Ongoing Recognition of Australia’s Indigenous Paralympians

In celebration of NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) week, the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) and First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN) have recognised national Indigenous Paralympians with the unveiling of new plaques on the Indigenous Paralympian honour board at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, in Sydney, on 6 July.

The celebration acknowledged the exceptional achievements of the two Indigenous athletes who represented Australia at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, cyclist Amanda Reid and track and field athlete Torita Blake. It also honoured 1972 Paralympian Ray Barrett, whose Indigenous heritage was recently rediscovered through the APC’s Paralympic History Project.

The APC initially unveiled the Indigenous Paralympian honour board, recognising 11 athletes dating back to Kevin Coombs at the first Paralympic Games in 1960, at the NCIE (National Centre of Indigenous Excellence) in December 2015.

APC Chief Executive Lynne Anderson said the work of the APC to continually celebrate the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians is important to upholding values of diversity and inclusion in sport.

“Today’s ceremony was a wonderful way to celebrate the achievements of two Rio Paralympians, Torita Blake and Amanda Reid, and the legacy of Ray Barrett, a bronze medallist from the Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games, whose Indigenous heritage was not known by the APC when we launched this initiative back in 2015,” she said.

“To be joined by Amanda and relatives of Ray today was a privilege for the APC in an important week which celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Australia’s Indigenous community.

“The aspiration of the Paralympic movement is to build a more inclusive society for people with a disability through Para sport. We know that through sport, Para athletes challenge stereotypes and transform attitudes.”

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Australia’s Indigenous Paralympians formally recognised include:

• Kevin Coombs OAM

• Peter Kirby

• Warren Lawton OAM

• Tracy Barrell OAM

• Karl Feifar OAM

• Donna Burns OAM

• Ben Austin OAM

• Tahlia Rotumah

• Kayla Clarke

• Amanda Reid

• Torita Isaac

• Ray Barrett

REPOSTED from the Australian Paralympic Committee’s website.

STATEMENT FROM THE ABORIGINAL BLIND PEOPLES GATHERING – June 2017

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On Wednesday 7 June 2017, 15 blind or vision impaired Aboriginal people from across Australia met on Gadigal land in Sydney for the inaugural Aboriginal Blind Persons Gathering. First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN), the peak organisation of and for First Peoples with disability convened the meeting in partnership with Blind Citizens Australia.
The historic gathering was the first of its kind in Australia and discussions commenced regarding the formation of an Aboriginal Blind Persons Network.

Aboriginal blind people came together to share their experiences and this statement was formulated in consultation with the group before the meeting closed.

In making this statement, the Gathering wishes to highlight the issues that place unnecessary burdens on t
heir daily lives. In sharing their personal stories, the Aboriginal blind peoples gathering raised a broad range of issues, which include:

  • The NDIS does not operate consistently in supporting the needs of Aboriginal blind people, to the extent that many Aboriginal blind people have no idea how the NDIS operates in practice. This includes no understanding of how to communicate effectively with the NDIA to make the Scheme responsive to the individual needs of Aboriginal blind people.
  • There are particular issues around access in non-urban areas (regional and remote) which the Gathering believed that were not understood by those responsible for providing support services to Aboriginal blind people. There is need for an education, awareness and learning programs which draws on the experiences of Aboriginal blind people as a bridge between their needs and the services, or lack thereof, that are available to them.
  • One example of access issues which is heightened in non-urban areas is the inability to obtain specific disability diagnoses. This is important step in securing the appropriate medical and disability s
    upport services. Without a diagnosis, supports are generalised and unsuitable, if they are pIMG_4156rovided at all.
  • The availability of public transport continues to be a major concern.

These issues stem from a lack of understanding about Aboriginal blind people’s issues and needs within the disability support systems including the NDIS. Despite the issues, there is nonetheless confidence that by taking the time to listen to Aboriginal blind people, the solutions will come. In the words of one participant, “If we can get Coca-Cola into remote communities, we can get a decent disability service system in there as well”.

We acknowledge the support of the Australian Government in bringing this first-ever gathering of Abori
ginal blind persons together, we call upon them to take the next step and resource an ongoing partnership between the First Peoples and Blind Citizens community to specify a disability service system, which is timely, flexible and respon
sive to the unique needs of Aboriginal blind community within the NDIS and the
National Disability Strategy more broadly.

June 2017

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Community Gathering in Tennant Creek – Barkly FPDN Advisory Group formed

On Friday First Peoples Disability Network was honoured to host a community gathering to discuss disability, services and supports and the NDIS in the community. It was wonderful to have social justice commissioner, June Oscar in attendance to speak alongside FPDN CEO Damian Griffis.

The meeting brought together some of the Elders and community members living with disability. It was a day of robust conversation which culminated in the development of the Barkly FPDN advisory group.

 

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Media Release: 163 Civil Society Organisations call on Prime Minister to announce a Royal Commission into Disability Violence

163 Civil Society Organisations call on Prime Minister to announce a Royal Commission into Disability Violence
Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) along with 163 civil society organisations, and 383 individuals have written to Prime Minister Turnbull calling for a Royal Commission into violence and abuse against people with disability, as was recommended by the Senate Inquiry two years ago.
A diverse group of organisations from across Australia signed the statement, including peak bodies, disability and human rights groups, and advocacy and violence prevention organisations. Collectively, the signatories have substantial and direct knowledge of the violence and abuse experienced by people with disability in Australia. The issue is systemic. The evidence is extensive and compelling. The violence can no longer be ignored.
Ms Carolyn Frohmader, Executive Director, Women With Disabilities Australia said: “Only a Royal Commission has the weight, investigative powers, time and resources to expose the violence that is experienced by people with disability in such a broad range of settings and so frequently.”
“People with disability are routinely denied access to civil and criminal justice because of law, policy, and practice barriers. A Royal Commission would give space and recognition to people with disability to tell their story, and enable accountability and justice,” said Ms Frohmader.
The 2015 Senate Committee Inquiry into violence and abuse against people with disability in institutional and residential settings found that violence and abuse was prolific and hidden. The central recommendation of the committee was the establishment of a Royal Commission.
“The Senate Inquiry showed that violence and abuse against people with disability is not limited to a few rogue individuals, is not confined to disability support settings, and is not limited by State or Territory borders. The recent Four Corners and Lateline programs again exposed the extent of this appalling violence against people with disability,” said Ms Frohmader.

Mr Matthew Bowden, Co-Chief Executive Officer of People with Disability Australia  said: “A Royal Commission has a critical role to play as Australia undertakes national changes to disability supports and services. It would address the scale of violence and abuse against people with disability, its many forms, and the broad range of services and settings where it occurs. It would have the resources to examine the adequacy of existing systems, processes, and accountability mechanisms which are currently failing to address the inexcusable rates of violence and abuse against people with disability.”

“Labor and the Greens have publicly expressed their commitment to a Royal Commission to address violence and abuse experienced by people with disability.”

“We commend the Government for its ongoing commitment to disability, through the National Disability Strategy and the NDIS.  However we now  call on the Australian Government to listen to the voices of people with disability and their supporters and establish a Royal Commission to end this epidemic of violence,” said Mr Bowden.
Information for media
 
A copy of the civil society statement is available here: http://dpoa.org.au/
 
Key facts:
  • people with disability experience far higher rates of violence than the rest of the community;
  • 90% of women with intellectual disability have been sexually assaulted in their lives, and 60% before the age of 18;
  • children with disability are three times more likely to experience abuse than other children
  • in many cases, people with disability experience violence in places where they are meant to be receiving support;
  • people with disability can’t always rely on the police for protection against violence;
  • people with disability are often treated as ‘unreliable witnesses’, or are not even permitted by law to provide testimony at all.
[Source: DPO Australia submission to the 2015 Senate Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including the gender and age related dimensions, and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability.]

Inaugural National Aboriginal Blind Persons Gathering in Sydney 

 

Today 15 blind or vision impaired Aboriginal people from across Australia will meet on Gadigal land in Sydney for the inaugural Aboriginal Blind Persons Gathering. First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN), the peak organisation of and for First Peoples with disability has convened the meeting in partnership with Blind Citizens Australia.

The historic gathering is the first of its kind in Australia and the intention is to commence discussions leading to the formation of an Aboriginal Blind Persons Network.

Damian Griffis, CEO FPDN said: “This is an important gathering. Aboriginal blind people from urban, regional and remote areas – some who have not travelled outside of their communities before – will be coming together to connect, share stories and to learn about a range of support that may be available to them,”

“FPDN is a cross disability organisation, but we recognise the importance of supporting our people who are blind or vision impaired to have access to a group in which to share their unique experiences and to work together to identify priorities for Aboriginal blind people.”

“FPDN welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with Blind Citizens Australia to host this Gathering and we look forward to input from the community members present to our work in the future.”

Uluru Statement from the Heart

First Nations leaders came together in May 2017 at Uluru for the the First Nations National Constitutional Convention. The statement issued at the end of the gathering was read out by Professor Megan Davis and was subsequently published and distributed. FPDN acknowledges the tireless work of many First Peoples over a long period of time many to bring this about.

You can read the statement here:

ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART

We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.

This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link Is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.

How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.

We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.

Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.

We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

Uluru Statement

 

 

 

FIRST PEOPLES WITH DISABILITY COME TOGETHER FOR DISABILITY CONFERENCE IN WAGGA WAGGA – LIVING OUR WAY

 

The First Peoples Living Our Way Conference hosted by the national peak organisation, First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) is underway in Wagga Wagga today.

The conference brings together people with wide ranging expertise to the regional NSW centre of Wagga Wagga and provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability to discuss the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the broader changes to the disability sector, services and supports and how our people with disability can ‘live our way’.

The keynote address will be given by Mr Alastair McEwin, Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights Commission.

June Riemer, Deputy CEO, FPDN said: “It is vital that our mobs have the opportunity to share information and experiences in a culturally appropriate way. We must ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are not left behind as this major national reform is rolled out.”

Scott Avery, Research and Policy Director, FPDN is presenting recent data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in consultation with FPDN. Scott Avery said: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience disability at twice the rate of the general population, and experience poorer outcomes in health, education, access to justice and employment,”

“Our research is going behind the numbers and reporting on the intersectional impact of disability and Aboriginality to understand the barriers that are holding Aboriginal people with disability back from achieving their potential. Most importantly we are looking at how we can address this by adopting an inclusive, culturally appropriate approach in our communities.”

The conference program and full list of speakers is available here.

**ends**

Event details: First Peoples Living Our Way Conference

Tuesday 23 to Thursday 25 May 2017

The International Hotel Wagga Wagga, Corner of Sturt Hwy & Lake Albert Rd Wagga Wagga, NSW Australia 2650

Twitter: #LivingOurWay @FPDNAus @CroakeyNews

ABS publication: Social and Economic Wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with Disability.

About FPDN

FPDN is the national peak organisation of and for Australia’s First Peoples with Disability.

FPDN’s vision is a just and inclusive society, in which First Peoples living with disability are respected and valued for their culture, history and contribution to contemporary life, and in which their human rights are recognised, respected, protected and fulfilled.

First Peoples Disability Network is governed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disability. FPDN is a member of the Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO) alliance. FPDN won the Improving Advocacy and Rights Promotion Award at the 2014 National Disability Awards.

The First Peoples Living Our Way Conference begins in Wagga Wagga

The First Peoples Living Our Way Conference begins in Wagga Wagga on Tuesday 23 May.

The conference, coordinated by FPDN, runs from Tuesday to Thursday and provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their families to share their experiences and to learn more about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the changing disability sector. FPDN is governed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

Keep up to date on social media by following #LivingOurWay

The conference program: Conference Program – First Peoples Living Our Way

 

The Redfern Statement Disability Workshop Communique

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The Redfern Statement

DISABILITY WORKSHOP COMMUNIQUE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

2 May 2017

Sydney

On 2 May 2017 the first of the Redfern Statement alliance workshops was held on the land of the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation. We were welcomed to Gadigal land by Ms Yvonne Weldon. We acknowledged the traditional owners of the Gadigal lands, and paid our respects to Elders past and present.

The Redfern Statement workshop was hosted by the First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN), the peak organisation of and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, in collaboration with The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

Community Elders and representatives from First Nations and Disability peak organisations participated, including representatives of First Peoples community controlled health, justice, housing, family violence, and community service organisations, alongside representatives from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Social Services and other key government agencies involved in setting Australian government disability policy.

Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs was unable to attend but provided a statement of support, describing the workshop as “an important step in our genuine and ongoing discussion to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on real practical solutions”. The full statement was read to attendees by Uncle John Baxter during the morning session.

The Hon. Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, attended the afternoon session and discussed the outcomes with participants. We welcomed the opportunity to provide the Assistant Minister with an overview of the major themes, issues, and priorities that emerged throughout the workshop.

Background

In June 2016, in the lead up to the Federal Election Campaign, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from health, justice, children and families, disability, and family violence prevention sectors united to call upon Australia’s political leaders to recognise the aggravated disadvantage of Australia’s First Peoples, and the fundamental role of Australia’s First Peoples and their community-controlled organisations in solving the root causes of this disadvantage, known as the The Redfern Statement.

The Redfern Statement calls for changes across these sectors through structured engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and is supported by more than 30 major mainstream organisations. The disability workshop is one of five workshops that will be conducted this year. The relevant sector peak organisation will collaborate with the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples to produce the remaining workshops. Each workshop will focus on a particular service sector.

This Workshop was convened with the financial support of the Australian Government to enable us to deliver on the promise of The Redfern Statement – to articulate the solutions to the disadvantage experienced by our people with disability and our role in overcoming this disadvantage. The workshop also responds to the Government’s commitment in the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (the Strategy) Second Implementation Plan: Driving Action 2015-2018  to hold an annual solutions-focussed workshop focussed on improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

Key issues and concerns

During our discussions we identified the following key issues and concerns:

  • The prevalence of disability among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population groups is substantially higher than that for the general population. The best available data would suggest it is at least twice that of non-Aboriginal population groups.
  • There are at least 60,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders across Australia who live with a severe or profound disability and who thus are part of the core target group for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
  • The disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability and their families is intersectional. It arises because of the systemic barriers they face as a person who is both Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander AND a person with disability. Intersectionality compounds the disadvantage, in that the systemic barriers accumulate across a person’s life. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability are, for example, many times more likely than other Indigenous persons, and many more times likely than non-Indigenous persons to experience family violence, removal from their families, and to be in contact with and incarcerated in the criminal justice system.
  • The effect of intersectionality on the health and social outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability can now be quantitatively demonstrated using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
  • There is a serious problem of under-reporting of impairment and disability in mainstream service systems. Therefore, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability do not always receive appropriate supports and opportunities, even in circumstances where these supports would be readily available.
  • A major contributing factor in the under-reporting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability is the entrenched distrust of mainstream service systems within our communities, and the subsequent reluctance of our families and communities to engage with these systems out of fear that this will result in unwanted surveillance and intrusion, including the removal of our children from our families.
  • Australia’s First Peoples have a strong positive tradition of inclusion of persons with disability within our families and communities. We have never, and do not now, see our family and community members with disability as outsiders. This is a major source of strength. The inclusion of people with disability within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can be demonstrated in the ABS data.
  • We are capable of, and ready to do, the work that is necessary to overcome the disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disability. We call upon government and the wider Australian community and our governments to recognise and support our capabilities to do so.

Key priorities and strategies

We also agreed as a collective to formulate a new national 10-point plan to address the unmet needs of our people with disability. The plan will be launched later in the year and the basis of this plan is:

  1. The establishment and resourcing of an Aboriginal Community Controlled Disability Service Sector for the provision of disability supports by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability for their communities;
  2. Address the systemic barriers facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS);
  3. Prioritise early intervention to ensure supports and services are available over the long-term;
  4. Recognise and acknowledge emerging skills and capacity within community;
  5. Resource a community-directed research strategy which specifically focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disability;
  6. Peer to peer leadership; that is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability leading the engagement with community themselves;
  7. Develop and implement an access to justice strategy for First People with disability, particularly those with cognitive impairment and intellectual disability;
  8. Creating an inclusive education, employment and economic opportunity for Aboriginal people with disability as well as creating opportunities for employment for Aboriginal people more broadly in the disability sector;
  9. Recognising that not all people with disability will be eligible for the NDIS, and ensuring that appropriate companion schemes and services are available and accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the long-term;
  10. Develop strategies to address the detrimental effects upon the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability who experience the combined effects of racism and ableism.

In conclusion, we acknowledged that common goals, and respectful partnerships such as those within the Redfern Statement alliance and between FPDN and governments are key to achieving the outcomes outlined above. Together we must stay the course.

Document in PDF format:  Redfern Statement Disability Workshop Communique May 2017.

FPDN overview of Budget 2017 #Budget2017

FPDN welcomes the announcement in last night’s Federal Budget to increase the Medicare levy by 0.5% in order to ensure that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is fully funded. This provides funding security for this once in a generation national reform.

The Government has allocated $209.0 million to establish an independent NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission to oversee the quality of NDIS providers and enforce the rights of participants, which is another positive inclusion in last night’s budget.

We also note that $30 million fund will be established to create employment opportunities for people living in regional and remote Australia working in disability and aged care. This is good news for our mobs and has the potential to ensure that disability and aged care services are culturally appropriate.

A $52 million Indigenous Research Fund will be established and FPDN welcomes this investment. FPDN will work to ensure that Aboriginal led, community grounded disability research is included. A new fund to support Indigenous Entrepreneurship was also announced.

Some punitive welfare measures were announced that will impact on vulnerable people including people living in poverty and people with disability. Treasurer, Scott Morrison stated in his Budget speech that the Government will be ‘denying welfare for a disability caused solely by their own substance abuse.’

The Government also intends to increase mutual obligation requirements for people receiving welfare, including a drug testing trial for new welfare recipients. However, international evidence does not support this approach.

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia’s Budget 2017 media release is available here.

Treasurer Scott Morrison’s full budget speech is available here.

Budget documents are available here.

 

 

 

DPO Media Release: Great NDIS and Job Support Wins, But Harsh Welfare Measures for People with Disability

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) welcomes some big wins for people with disability in tonight’s Federal Government Budget, but is very concerned by the punitive approach to welfare support that will make life harder for those doing it tough, including people with disability.

“We are extremely pleased to hear that an increase in the Medicare levy will fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme and finally guarantee the support needs of people with disability”, said Ms Therese Sands, Director, DPO Australia. “The NDIS is a critical investment in our social infrastructure, an investment for all Australians, now and into the future”.

“Although we need to see more of the detail, we also welcome the establishment of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission, which will go a long way to protecting NDIS eligible people with disability from violence and abuse, and providing quality NDIS services.”

“The disability employment service system needs to far better meet the needs of people with disability. We are very pleased to see measures in the budget that will increase flexibility for people with disability to choose and change providers, and a greater onus on providers to deliver jobs, including those with significant employment barriers. Young people with disability will also greatly benefit in their transition to employment with a measure to trial disability employment support to a broader group of school leavers. We look forward to continuing our work with the Federal Government on the details of this package of reforms.”

“We are pleased to see the strong commitment from the Federal Government to funding the Redress Scheme for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, including people with disability, who have given evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse. The funding will go towards establishing the Redress Scheme and will also meet ongoing needs for support services for survivors. DPO Australia will work with the Government to ensure that people with disability have equal access to the scheme.”

“The increases in mutual obligations and the introduction of a demerit system for people with disability that use our social security system are harsh and unfair. Many people with disability want to work, but they face significant barriers in accessibility, support and discrimination. Creating further complex, difficult regimes to access income support for people who are unable to secure work will do nothing to address these barriers.”

“We are particularly concerned about the introduction of drug testing for new welfare recipients and the statement in the Budget Speech that income support would be denied for ‘a disability caused solely by their own substance abuse’”.

“We believe that income management and the use of the cashless welfare card, should not apply to anyone, but particularly people with disability. It is an ineffective and expensive policy measure that should be abandoned, instead of expanded. People with disability who receive income support payments deserve the dignity of being able to manage their funds without this patronising and controlling measure.”

“We are concerned that trialling the Cashless Welfare Card at a time when funding for community programs is being reduced will result in perverse outcomes. Increased funding is needed for diversionary and early intervention programs, otherwise the implementation of the card has the potential to exacerbate negative behaviour.”

“We have scored some great wins in this budget, but concern remains for those on income support who will be affected by punitive changes.”

ABS Publication – SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC WELLBEING OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC WELLBEING OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) acknowledges and thanks the First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN) for their review of this feature article.

This paper is an outcome of ongoing discussions with FPDN over several years and its release coincides with a joint presentation given recently at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) National Indigenous Research Conference 2017. Using the rich stream of data from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), the paper helps fill a gap in information about the extent and nature of disability experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. While the NATSISS can be investigated to provide the statistics, the ABS has partnered with FPDN to help bring these stories to life.  FPDN’s research program takes a narrative research approach to investigate the intersection between the cultural inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the social inclusion of a person with disability. The ABS agrees that the context and narratives provided by FPDN enhances understanding of the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

“The lived experience of Australia’s First Peoples with disability has historically been neglected in research and policy due to a number of factors, including limited data that genuinely reflects the prevalence and nature of disability among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Disaggregated information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disability has not been available in this space and we welcome its publication. The opportunity to enhance the data available by connecting quantitative data generated through the NATSISS and other ABS instruments, with the narrative data on the lived experiences of disability gathered through FPDN’s ‘Living our ways’ research program, enables a new level of understanding of the scope and prevalence of disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and its impact across a person’s life trajectory.”

Scott Avery, First Peoples Disability Network

INTRODUCTION

The lived experiences of each Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person with disability are unique. In a society that seeks to be fair and inclusive, their contributions to contemporary life should be respected and valued. This includes recognising their individual and collective histories and connection to culture, and more broadly, their human rights. A social model of disability recognises that for people with impairments, barriers to equality and full participation in society are a root cause of disability. [1]

The 2014–15 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) provides a range of information about the social and economic circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over living with disability or a restrictive long-term health condition. Results presented in this article are for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over unless stated otherwise.

“Social justice is what faces you in the morning. It is awakening in a house with adequate water supply, cooking facilities and sanitation. It is the ability to nourish your children and send them to school where their education not only equips them for employment but reinforces their knowledge and understanding of their cultural inheritance. It is the prospect of genuine employment and good health: a life of choices and opportunity, free from discrimination.”

Mick Dodson, Annual Report of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, 1993. [2]

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely than other Australians to experience various forms of disadvantage, including higher unemployment rates, poverty, isolation, trauma, discrimination, exposure to violence, trouble with the law and alcohol and substance abuse. For some people, this disadvantage is coupled with impairments that result in disability.

In this article, people with disability or a restrictive long-term health condition are collectively referred to as ‘people with disability’, and those with a profound or severe core activity limitation are referred to as ‘people with profound/severe disability’. It should be noted that survey information used to determine disability, and levels of disability, is self-reported and not independently verified. For more information on how disability is determined and defined in the NATSISS, see the Disability module in the Questionnaire and Disability Status entry in the Glossary.

You can access the full document here.

The Redfern Statement Disability Workshop – 2 May 2017

The first of the Redfern Statement alliance’s workshops will be held on 2 May in Sydney.

The Redfern Statement workshop is being coordinated by FPDN in collaboration with The Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

Representatives from national First Nations and Disability peak organisations will be attending alongside representatives from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Social Services.

The Hon. Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, will attend and discuss the workshop outcomes with participants in the afternoon.

First Peoples Disability Network is the peak organisation representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disability.

FPDN’s vision is a just and inclusive society, in which First Peoples living with disability are respected and valued for their culture, history and contribution to contemporary life, and in which their human rights are recognised, respected, protected and fulfilled. First Peoples Disability Network is governed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disability.

The Redfern Statement

The Redfern Statement was released during last year’s Federal Election campaign on 9 June 2016 by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from health, justice, children and families, disability, and family violence prevention sectors.

The statement calls for changes across these sectors through structured engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and is supported by more than 30 major mainstream organisations including the Australian Medical Association and Law Council.

It includes the following recommendations for disability:

  1.   Work to address intersectional discrimination
  2.   Equitable access to the NDIS by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  3.   Establish disability access targets as part of the Closing the Gap framework and the NDIS Quality Assurance and Outcomes framework
  4.   Invest in research and development to build an evidence-base of data
  5.   Address the imprisonment rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a cognitive or psychosocial disability
  6.   Fund training and community leadership initiatives

This workshop aims to identify and document solutions and to produce a 10-point plan that provides clear recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Registrations open – First Peoples Living Our Way Conference Wagga Wagga

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On 23, 24 and 25 May 2017 FPDN is hosting a conference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability. Community members and service providers are also welcome.

Sponsorship is available for First Peoples with disability.

Download the flyer here: Living Our Way Conference Flyer

Register at www.livingourway.eventbrite.com.au

The conference program is available here: Conference Program – First Peoples Living Our Way

 

 

 

FPDN’s Sydney Office is relocating

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FPDN’s Sydney Office is relocating.

We will be moving out of our Redfern office on 31 March 2017, relocating during April and opening a new Sydney office in mid May 2017.
Staff are available on email and mobile phones as usual during this transition.
Contact us: enquiries@fpdn.org.au

Disability groups renew call for Royal Commission into violence against people with disability

 

DPO AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

Disability groups renew call for Royal Commission into violence against people with disability

Tonight’s ABC Four Corners report, ‘Fighting the System’ exposed more evidence of the appalling levels of violence and abuse against people with disability in Australia. This is only the tip of the iceberg. In light of the graphic and disturbing cases revealed this evening, Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia), calls on the Federal Government to reconsider its recent refusal to conduct a Royal Commission into violence and abuse of people with disability.

“Tonight, more evidence has come to light that supports the case for a Royal Commission. It is only a Royal Commission that has the weight, the investigative powers, the time and resources to open the doors to the many ‘closed’ institutions and residential environments, and expose Australia’s shameful secret,” said Therese Sands, Director, DPO Australia.

“People with disability are routinely denied access to justice, both at a civil and criminal level because of law, policy and practice barriers. A Royal Commission would give space and recognition to people with disability to tell their story, to be believed, and would enable some measure of accountability and justice,” said Ms Sands.

The 2015 Senate Committee Inquiry into violence and abuse against people with disability in institutional and residential settings found that violence and abuse was prolific and hidden. The central recommendation of the committee was the establishment of a Royal Commission.

The Federal Government ruled out a Royal Commission in its response to the Senate Inquiry earlier this month. The Government noted that it was addressing violence and abuse against people with disability by establishing the Quality and Safeguarding Framework for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Dr Jessica Cadwallader, Violence Prevention Manager at People with Disability Australia (PWDA), member of DPO Australia said, “While the Quality and Safeguarding Framework is welcome and very important, it will not protect all people with disability, only those who are NDIS eligible. It appears to be largely based on systems and responses that the Senate Inquiry found to be inadequate.”

“A Royal Commission has a critical role to play as Australia undertakes national changes to disability supports and services. It would also address the scale of violence and abuse against people with disability, its many forms and the broad range of services and settings where it occurs. It would have the resources to examine the adequacy of systems, processes and accountability mechanisms designed to put an end to the appalling rates of violence and abuse against people with disability,” said Dr Cadwallader.

“We call on the Federal Government to take a leadership role to stop the epidemic of violence and provide a measure of justice for people with disability by urgently establishing a Royal Commission,” said Ms Sands.
Ends

 

Information for media:

Key facts:

  • people with disability experience far higher rates of violence than the rest of the community;
  • 90% of women with intellectual disability have been sexually assaulted in their lives, and 60% before the age of 18;
  • children with disability are three times more likely to experience abuse than other children
  • in many cases, people with disability experience violence in places where they are meant to be receiving support;
  • people with disability can’t always rely on the police for protection against violence;
  • people with disability are often treated as unreliable witnesses, or are not even permitted by law to provide testimony at all.
[Source: DPO Australia submission to the 2015 Senate Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings, including the gender and age related dimensions, and the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability.]

 

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) is an alliance of four national Disabled People’s Organisations (organisations made up of and led by people with disability). DPO Australia was founded by, and is made up of the First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN) representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) representing culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability, People with Disability Australia (PWDA) a national cross disability organisation and Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), the national organisation representing women and girls with disability.

Disability groups slam Government decision not to hold Royal Commission into violence and abuse

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MEDIA RELEASE
3 March 2017
Disability groups slam Government decision not to hold Royal Commission into violence and abuse
Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia), an alliance of national peak groups of people with disability, strongly condemned the decision by the Federal Government to rule out a Royal Commission into violence and abuse against people with disability.
“We are shocked and angry that the Government has ruled out holding a Royal Commission into the epidemic of violence and abuse against people with disability”, said Therese Sands, Director of DPO Australia.
“The 2015 Senate Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability in institutional and residential settings exposed the extent of this issue. The Inquiry heard from people with disability from all over Australia, displaying extraordinary courage and often at great personal cost,  who came forward to highlight the terrible toll that violence and abuse has had on them personally and on their families and friends. The Inquiry found that the stories they heard were only the tip of the iceberg, and one of the Senate Committee’s headline recommendations was for a Royal Commission,” said Carolyn Frohmader, CEO of Women With Disabilities Australia.
“Only a Royal Commission, which has the weight, the investigative powers, the time and resources to thoroughly examine, expose and respond to this issue, can open the doors to many ‘closed’ institutions and residential environments.  Most critically, a Royal Commission would give space and recognition to people with disability – many of us have never had a chance to tell our stories, to be believed, to be supported and to seek some measure of accountability and justice for what we have experienced,” said Ms Frohmader.
“By ruling out a Royal Commission, the Federal Government is denying people with disability a voice to tell their story and be believed. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has shown the kind of healing impact a Commission can make on a previously neglected and hidden issue,” said Ms Frohmader.
“People with disability in Australia need a Government that is prepared to really listen to those who have suffered from violence and abuse, and commit to take every step necessary to understand the extent and impacts of this national shame. We call on all political parties to speak out on this issue and commit to holding a Royal Commission,” said Therese Sands, Director of DPO Australia.
DPO Australia welcomes the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Quality and Safeguarding Framework, but is concerned that the Federal Government views this as adequate in addressing the significant issues and numerous recommendations made by the Senate Committee.
“The Senate inquiry showed that violence and abuse of people with disability is not limited to a few rogue individuals, is not confined to disability support settings, and is not circumscribed by State or Territory borders. The NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework will only cover a minority of people with disability – those who receive supports through the NDIS – and it replicates systems that the Senate Inquiry demonstrated were inadequate.  It doesn’t address the scale of violence and abuse against people with disability, its many different forms and the range of service and other settings where it occurs,” said Ms Sands.
Key facts:
  • people with disability experience far higher rates of violence than the rest of the community;
  • 90% of women with intellectual disability have been sexually assaulted in their lives, and 60% before the age of 18;
  • children with disability are three times more likely to experience abuse than other children
  • in many cases, people with disability experience violence in places where they are meant to be receiving support;
  • people with disability can’t always rely on the police for protection against violence;
  • people with disability are often treated as ‘unreliable witnesses’, or are not even permitted by law to provide testimony at all.

MEDIA RELEASE: Aboriginal leaders seek new relationship with government through historic Redfern Statement

Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peaks will today demand a new relationship with government as they deliver the historic Redfern Statement direct to the Prime Minister at Parliament House.

 

In the lead up to today’s 9th Closing the Gap Report to Parliament, the leaders will call on the Prime Minister to support the historic Redfern Statement, a road map to better address the appalling disadvantage gap between Australia’s First Peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by working with them as genuine partners.

 

National Congress of Australia’s First People’s co-chair Mr Rod Little comments: “After 25 years, eight Federal election cycles, seven Prime Ministers, eight Ministers for Indigenous Affairs, 400 recommendations, and countless policies, policy changes, reports, funding promises and funding cuts it’s time to draw a line in the sand.

 

“We need a new relationship that respects and harnesses our expertise, and guarantees us a seat at the table as equal partners when governments are making decisions about our lives.”

 

The Redfern Statement was released during last year’s Federal Election campaign on 9 June by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from health, justice, children and families, disability, and family violence prevention sectors.

 

The statement calls for changes across these sectors through structured engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and is supported by more than 30 major mainstream organisations including the Australian Medical Association and Law Council.

 

National Congress of Australia’s First People’s Co-chair Dr Jackie Huggins said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations have worked with our people on the ground for decades and have shown they have solutions.

 

“Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations deliver 2.5 million episodes of care a year in their local communities – and are the only health and leadership models making inroads on Close the Gap targets.

 

“Our teachers, education professionals and family violence experts are delivering real results on the ground in their communities every single day – despite chronic underfunding and an ad hoc policy approach based on three year election cycles.

 

“Today we are seeking a new relationship, a genuine partnership and a commitment to ongoing structured engagement,” Dr Huggins said.

 

Read the full Redfern Statement here.

/ENDS

 

#REDFERNSTATEMENT

First Peoples Disability Network’s  leadership and staff are in Canberra today for the Redfern Statement Breakfast with the Prime Minister and will then attend the PM’s Closing the Gap address.

This morning, the Redfern Statement was presented to Prime Minister Turnbull and Aboriginal leaders stood together calling on the PM to work with us because #WeHaveTheSolutions.

The Redfern Statement is an historic document that was launched in the lead up to the 2016 Federal Election.

 

 

 

 

DPO AUSTRALIA MEDIA RELEASE: Don’t fund the NDIS with cuts to social services and childcare

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MEDIA RELEASE
13 February 2017
Don’t fund the NDIS with cuts to social services and childcare
Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia), is alarmed and concerned that the Federal Government is linking budget cuts in the Omnibus Bill, now before the Senate, with funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).“We are shocked and troubled about this announcement from Treasurer Scott Morrison that once again links cuts to social security with funding for the NDIS,” said Ms Therese Sands, Director, DPO Australia.

“We have stated clearly, including in our pre-budget submission, that we reject any ties to funding the NDIS by cutting social security. We strongly reject measures that would seek to fill any perceived or potential shortfall in NDIS funding through a shift in revenue from other human services. ”

“We have campaigned over the last year against the creation of an NDIS Special Savings Fund because of our fear that it would be used in exactly this way, creating an expectation that the NDIS will be funded from ongoing trade-offs against other equally important human services expenditures. This is exactly what is happening, even before the Bill for the establishment of the Special Savings Fund has passed the Senate.”

“The NDIS provides essential ongoing support for many people with disability in Australia. These same people with disability will also be hurt by the proposed cuts to income support, childcare and family payments. These cuts are counterproductive to the aims of the NDIS, and it is simply unacceptable that funding for the NDIS should be linked to measures that will see so many other people in our community worse off.”

“The Government must stop this kind of politicisation of the NDIS and restore certainty to people with disability across Australia by taking the funding out of the budget cycle,” said Ms Sands.

“Trading off essential and vital disability support with cuts is a false economy that will hurt many people with disability and is simply not on, completely unfair, and goes no way to ensure the long term sustainability of the NDIS, which the Government says is the intention.”

“The NDIS is not a political football to be tossed around like this. People with disability across Australia will be rightly very angry and concerned about this decision. We call on Senators to block these measures and halt this ongoing trade-off for NDIS funding,” said Ms Sands.

Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) is an alliance of four national Disabled People’s Organisations (organisations made up of and led by people with disability). 
DPO Australia was founded by, and is made up of the First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDNA) representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) representing culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability, People with Disability Australia (PWDA) a national cross disability organisation and Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), the national organisation representing women and girls with disability.

http://ymlp.com/ztlWq6

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

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MEDIA RELEASE
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.”
Ends
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.

MEDIA RELEASE: 08.12.16

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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MEDIA RELEASE
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.

Criminalising disability: Federal leadership required to end the indefinite detention of people with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment

**MEDIA RELEASE**

 

Criminalising disability: Federal leadership required to end the indefinite detention of people with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment

The Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs tabled its report on the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment Tuesday evening. The report makes 32 recommendations with a focus on law reform and coordinated policies and programs to support people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment outside the criminal justice system.

Damian Griffis, CEO First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) said: “The ongoing and indefinite imprisonment of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment is a serious abuse of human rights. We welcome the senate inquiry report and commend the senate for turning its attention to this issue. It is critical that swift action is taken in order to end the incarceration of people with disability and to provide appropriate support and services as an alternative to jail.”

Scott Avery, Research and Policy Director FPDN said: “By the time an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person with disability comes into contact with the criminal justice system, they will most likely have had a life of unmanaged disability. When disability is not recognised and addressed, contact with the police and courts are inevitable steps on a matriculation pathway into juvenile detention and prison.”

FPDN and La Trobe Law School were co-coordinators of the First Peoples Disability Justice Consortium’s submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment, which provided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on the recurrent and indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment. The First Peoples Disability Justice Consortium is an alliance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations, disability, justice and legal researchers, Universities and Research Institutes.

Professor Patrick Keyzer from La Trobe University, co-coordinator of the Consortium, said: “The Commonwealth should implement all of the recommendations of the Senate Report, working closely and effectively with the States and Territories to assist these incredibly vulnerable people”.

Karly Warner, Executive Officer, NATSILS said: “The criminal justice system is increasingly and inappropriately being used as a default care provider for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, who have been forced into the criminal justice system early in life in the absence of alternative pathways,”

“Australia’s practices and policies towards people with a disability in the justice system fall short of international standards and Australia’s human rights obligations and, as a result, soaring numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are cycling through the justice system where they are vulnerable a range of things including physical mistreatment, financial exploitation, and inappropriate decisions being made on their behalf.”

Scott Avery said: “Lasting solutions can be developed by bringing experts from both disability and justice together, standing side by side in all parts of the process.”

The First Peoples Disability Justice Consortium will be reviewing all the recommendations with a view to developing a plan for implementation and calls on Australian Governments to:

  1. Develop and support culturally-responsive, therapeutic and non-punitive sentencing and service outcomes other than prison for people with cognitive impairment
  2. Provide support for early assessment, diagnosis, support and intervention (including in the juvenile justice system) that prevents criminalisation and that is capable of identifying and addressing root causes of offending/anti-social behaviour.
  3. Engage in systematic, targeted, uniform, human-rights focused law reform that acknowledges individual needs
  4. Maintain political will and public sector leadership that is sorely needed to respond to the crisis of overrepresentation of indigenous people with cognitive impairment in the criminal justice system
  5. Develop more effective and properly supported policies and programs to identify and recognise people with cognitive impairment by the justice system
  6. Raise public awareness and knowledge in the community, within and across the criminal justice system and service systems to better understand why and how indigenous people with cognitive impairment come into contact with the criminal justice system.

The Indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia senate report is available online.

FIRST PEOPLES DISABILITY JUSTICE CONSORTIUM prepared a detailed submission to the senate inquiry. It is available online.

 

 

 

Our Board member, Jane Rosengrave – finalist in Human Rights Awards 2016

Congratulations to our wonderful Board member, Jane Rosengrave. Jane has just been announced as a finalist in the Australian Human Rights Awards 2016. Please see information pasted below from the Human Rights website.

Congratulations to all finalists. An outstanding group of people.

 

Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award finalists 2016: Susan Barton, Yassmen Yahya, Shane Duffy, Jane Rosengrave, Catia Malaquias

Five inspiring Australians have been named finalists for the 2016 Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Community Individual Award.

“We received 42 nominations from outstanding Australians, dedicated to human rights at the community level,” said Commission President, Professor Gillian Triggs.

“All of these finalists are inspiring Australians who live and breathe human rights and work tirelessly to remind us how much one person can do to change the lives of others,” she said.

The finalists are:

Susan Barton is a revolutionary leader in the field of youth homelessness. As the founder and director of the Lighthouse Foundation for Homeless Youth, Susan and her team have developed a unique support model that allows complete rehabilitation into society for disadvantaged young people.

Yassmen Yahya belongs to an ethnic minority called Mandaeanism who have been persecuted for many years, most notably during the Iraq War. Today, the largest Mandaean community is in Sydney. Yassmen established a Mandaean Women’s committee to assist and encourage larger participation of ethnic women in the community.

Shane Duffy, a descendant of the Kalkadoon people of North West Queensland, has worked in human services for more than 25 years specialising in child protection, youth justice and family support. Shane has been CEO of the QLD Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service for the past 11 years

Jane Rosengrave is a proud Yorta Yorta woman with an intellectual disability. She is a passionate advocate for people with disability. Jane grew up in institutions and has experienced segregation as well as sexual and other violence, including domestic violence. She contributes to several organisations and shares her personal experiences publicly to raise awareness of the abuse and discrimination facing people with disability.

Catia Malaquias is a disability advocate, lawyer, mum of three and the director of Down Syndrome Australia and the Attitude Foundation. She also founded the Starting with Julius project which aims to transform cultural attitudes towards people with disability, by promoting disability inclusion in mainstream media, advertising and education.

This award is kindly sponsored by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Aunty Gayle Rankine appointed to new National Disability and Carers Advisory Council

Aunty Gayle Rankine, Chairperson of First Peoples Disability Network has been appointed to the Government’s new National Disability and Carers Advisory Council.

The Hon. Jane Prentice MP announced the new Advisory Council yesterday to coincide with the National Disability Awards.

Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice said the Council will provide advice to Government on issues of strategic importance at a time of major reform in the disability and carer sectors.

Aunty Gayle Rankine said: “It is an honour to be appointed to the National Disability Advisory Council and I look forward to making a contribution. It is critical that people with disability are front and centre as we go through the national changes to the disability sector,”

“I also welcome the opportunity to highlight the experiences of Australia’s First Peoples with disability and their families and communities. It is so important that our people are not left behind and have equal opportunity to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme and other supports.”

You can read more about FPDN’s Ten-point-plan for the implementation of the NDIS here.

 

***

The Minister’s media release is pasted below and is available online here.

National Disability and Carers Advisory Council announced

The Coalition Government today announced the establishment of the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council.

The new Council brings together leaders from business and the disability and carer sectors, to provide advice on proposed policies and legislation affecting people with disability, carers and the sector that serves them.

Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice said the Council will provide advice on issues of strategic importance at a time of major reform in the disability and carer sectors.

“The Council will play an important role in helping to drive the implementation of the overarching National Disability Strategy 2010-20,” she said.

“It will also look at reforms in disability employment and carer support, and the full roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, including the interfaces with mainstream services.”

“Members represent every state and territory as well as business and the disability and carer sector, and advocates.

“I will co-chair the Council with Ms Keran Howe, who is well respected as a strong advocate in the sector and who has lived experience,” she said.

The Council will meet formally at least twice a year and establish working groups and community consultations as needed.

Members of the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council are:

  1. Hon. Jane Prentice MP (Co-Chair)
  2. Ms Keran Howe (Co-Chair)
  3. Ms Donna Bain
  4. Ms Nell Brown
  5. Mr Paul Coates
  6. Ms Jennifer Cullen
  7. Mr Wilhelm Harnisch
  8. Ms Christine Kerr
  9. Mr Greg Madson
  10. Ms Jessica May
  11. Ms Teresa Pilbeam
  12. Mr Frank Quinlan
  13. Aunty Gayle Rankine
  14. Ms Sally Sinclair
  15. Mr Martin Stokie
  16. Mr Steve Vitone
  17. Ms Elizabeth Wall

Disability Awareness and the Northern Territory Royal Commission

In July 2016, Following the ABC’s 4 Corners program highlighting the abuse and neglect of young people in detention in the Northern Territory, the Prime Minister of Australia and the Attorney-General announced a Royal Commission into the detention of children and the child protection system in the Northern Territory.

In October FPDN’s Research and Policy Director, Scott Avery was called to give evidence to the Royal Commission. Scott’s evidence focused on the importance of ensuring that the justice system is adequately equipped to recognise and respond to disability.

Our chairperson, Aunty Gayle Rankine made a statements at the time of the 4 Corners report which can be viewed here.

Senate Inquiry Submission: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives on the Recurrent and Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment

fpdn-senate-inquiry-indefinite-detention-submission_final

Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment must focus on solutions

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.

-ENDS–

More information about the Change the Record campaign is available here.

RI World Conference, Edinburgh Scotland – Create a more inclusive world

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.

If you’re interested to know more about the conference have a look at the website. Information about site accessibility is here.

ACT NDIS shutdown must be reversed – joint media release

People with Disabilities ACT logoLogo of Disabled=   
Disability Advocacy Network Australia logo      ACT Mental Health Consumer Network       ACT Council of Social Service Inc logo       Inclusion Australia logo
  Advocacy for Inclusion logo   Children and Young People with Disability logoFriends of Brain Injured Children
MEDIA RELEASE
17 October 2016
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.”

Media Contacts:
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.

Peak disability group condemns decision to deny Deaf juror equal access

Logo of Disabled=
MEDIA RELEASE
5 October 2016
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.

Australia urged to amend laws that lead to people with mental disabilities being detained indefinitely

On Friday 23 September the UN issued a news release urging Australia to amend the laws that lead to people being detained because of disability.

At the release of the report, the CEO of FPDN, Damian Griffis was interviewed by Mark Colvin for ABC Radio National’s PM program. You can listen and read the transcript here.

 

Australia urged to amend laws that lead to people with mental disabilities being detained indefinitely

GENEVA (23 September 2016) – Australia violated the rights of a man with an intellectual disability who was deemed unfit to stand trial but was nevertheless detained in prison for more than 10 years, thereby “converting his disability into the core cause of his detention,” UN experts have found. 

Marlon James Noble, an Aboriginal man who was charged in 2001 with child sex abuse in Western Australia, brought his complaint to the Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Under Western Australia’s Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Defendants) Act of 1996, once a person is found unfit to plead, he or she can be held in custody for an unlimited period. They have no possibility to go before the courts unless or until they are deemed able to understand the notion of criminal responsibility. Mr. Noble, who denied the charges, was detained until his conditional release in November 2012.   

In its findings, the Committee noted that throughout Mr. Noble’s detention, “the whole judicial procedure focused on his mental capacity to stand trial without giving him any possibility to plead not guilty and test the evidence submitted against him.”

“He therefore never had the opportunity to have the criminal charges against him determined and his status as an alleged sexual offender cleared,” the Committee members found, highlighting that the charges were never proven. In addition, the authorities did not provide adequate support to enable him to stand trial and plead not guilty. 

Under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Australia has ratified, States are obliged to recognise that people with disabilities enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with all others in all aspects of life. 

Mr. Noble was detained for more than 10 years without knowing how long he would be in custody, the CRPD noted. 

“Taking into account the irreparable psychological effects that indefinite detention may have on the detained person, the Committee considers that the indefinite detention he was subjected to amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment,” members wrote. 

The CRPD called on Australia to provide Mr. Noble with an effective remedy and immediately revoke the 10 conditions of his release, which members found also constituted a violation of the Convention.  

Australia is also obliged to take measures to prevent similar violations, including making the necessary amendments to the Mentally Impaired Defendants Act (WA) and all equivalent or related Federal or state laws.  

ENDS

Read the advisory online.

The Committee’s findings, known as Views, were published in full here on 22 September.

Background: 

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

CRPD is composed of 18 independent human rights experts drawn from around the world. They serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty. More information on the CRPD: 
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/CRPDIndex.aspx

10 years of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 December 2006 and came into force on 3 May 2008. 

Anti Poverty Week 2016

It’s Anti Poverty Week this week. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability are often experience multiple barriers leaving them economically and socially excluded. Ensuring that we have a truly inclusive society with access to employmenteducation and justice is vital.

Have a look at our CEO, Damian Griffis’ keynote lecture at the Yabun Festival this year to understand a bit more about this important social justice issue.

The Anti Poverty Week website is here.

The Recurrent and Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment

FPDN’s Policy and Research Director, Scott Avery is presenting at the ACWA breakfast in Parramatta, Sydney on Tuesday morning. Scott will be talking about access to justice and disability.

In April this year FPDN, along with partner organisations, made a submission to the Senate Inquiry on Indefinite Detention: ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PERSPECTIVES ON THE RECURRENT AND INDEFINITE DETENTION OF PEOPLE WITH COGNITIVE AND PSYCHIATRIC IMPAIRMENT

The submission is available to the public.

You can download the submission as a PDF: Senate Inquiry Indefinite Detention Submission_Final

#FirstPeoples1st100Days PM: Meet with First Peoples

Today, on the first day of Federal Parliament, FPDN was proud to stand alongside national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership organisations to deliver a strong message to Prime Minister Turnbull, his government and the Parliament: – the relationship with the First Peoples of this nation must be reset.
Following on from the historic Redfern Statement in June this year, the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, – National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, along with peak national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations united in front of Parliament House calling for a new era in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

Damian Griffis, CEO of FPDN, called for:

an end to the indefinite detention of Aboriginal people with disability;

national Aboriginal led Local Area coordination of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

 

Listen to co-chair of National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples talking to Patricia Karvelas on ABC’s Drive program here.

Read the opinion piece from the Dr Jackie Huggins and Rod Little, co-chairs of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples here.

Read FPDN’s 10-point-plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal ad Torres Strait Islander communities here.

Download the Redfern Statement here.

Parliament House Canberra 30 August 2016
Parliament House Canberra 30 August 2016
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Scott Avery and Damian Griffis #selfie
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Senator Pat Dodson & Linda Burney with Sea of Hands outside Parliament House

 

Unmet needs of Aboriginal people living with brain injury. By Damian Griffis

This week is Brain Injury Awareness Week. At the First Peoples Disability Network we say that meeting the needs of Aboriginal people with disabilities is one of the most critical social justice issues in Australia.

It is difficult to think of any more disadvantaged Australians then Aboriginal people with disability. FPDN co-hosted a forum in Redfern with Synapse and we hope to draw attention to the unmet needs of Aboriginal people living with brain injury.

According to the 2011 Census at least 50% of our people have some form of disability or long term health condition, the 2014/15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey has concluded that at least 7.7% of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have severe or profound disability, this equates to approximately 60,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait people with disability who are eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The actual prevalence of brain injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is not known but we could be sure that the rate is at least twice that of the rest of the Australian population.  Brain Injury can occur for a range of reasons. It might be the result of an accident, violence or as a consequence of alcohol or substance abuse.  Regardless of the cause it is fair to say that the needs of vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with brain injury remain largely unmet.

Two leading researchers spoke to us and presented data and lessons learned through ongoing research. Professor Eileen Baldry has done some vital research into the prevalence of people with disability in the Australian prison system and Dr Clare Townsend shared with us the research she has done in relation to Aboriginal people with brain injury and homelessness in North Queensland. These research projects are culturally respectful and inclusive of Aboriginal researchers, organisations, Elders and Traditional Owners.  At FPDN we are grateful to both Eileen and Clare for bringing their extensive research experience to this most critical social justice issue. It is vital that we work towards meeting the needs of Aboriginal people with disability including those Aboriginal people living with brain injury.

The overwhelming messages that were raised in yesterday’s forum are ones often repeated among our mobs and at conferences and forums led by Aboriginal people.

In short:

Listen to communities, invest in support, invest in communities – the financial and human costs of a punitive and overly policed society are far greater than whole of community responses to disability and disadvantage that we all advocate. The numbers back this up. There are huge costs to the wider community, and to the individual for that matter, when people cycle in and out of emergency services rather than ongoing and responsive supports from an early age.

I’m reaching out to you today because we need people across the country to champion this issue. It is a national outrage that so many of our people are in prisons and that the rates are increasing. People with disability, including those with acquired brain injury have unmet needs, and too often disability is in effect criminalised. Aboriginal people with disability end up in prison or sleeping rough because they are rendered “invisible” by a system that does not respond to their needs. A responsive and supportive system would cost much less in both the human and ecomonic senses.

Damian Griffis gave a speech at the Redfern Community Centre on Monday 15 August for Brain Injury Awareness Week 2016. FPDN held an event in partnership with Synapse.

This opinion piece was published in First Nations Telegraph.

Aboriginal Disability Network NSW has merged with FPDN

The Aboriginal Disability Network NSW (ADNNSW) has merged with First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN), as of July 2016.

 

We are the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW (ADNNSW) is an FPDN project of and for Aboriginal people with disability living in

New South Wales.
Our major aims are:
  • empowerment and promotion of the rights of Aboriginal people with disability
  • the creation of a society in which Aboriginal people with disability can fully participate.
We bring together Aboriginal people with disability, our families
and carers to:
  • tell our stories
  • support each other
  • create a voice for positive change
  • speak for ourselves.

The important work ADNNSW does in News South Wales will continue and will operate as a project of FPDN.

Please contact the FPDN office if you have any queries.

International Day of World’s Indigenous People 2016

Today is the United Nations International Day of World’s Indigenous People

“In Australia an Indigenous child with disability is more likely to matriculate into prison than into tertiary education.

 Many Indigenous children are falling through the cracks in the education system because they have a disability that goes unrecognised and is therefore not suppIMG_3481orted.

 To get the best learning outcomes for our kids our education system must be culturally and disability inclusive.”


Scott Avery

Policy and Research Director

 

From the UN:

2016 Theme: Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Education

This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is devoted to the right to education.

The right of indigenous peoples to education is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which in Article 14 states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.”

The right of indigenous peoples to education is also protected by a number of other international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for ensuring equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.

In spite of these instruments, the right to education has not been fully realized for most indigenous peoples, and a critical education gap exists between indigenous peoples and the general population.

Where data exist, they show consistent and persistent disparities between the indigenous and the non-indigenous population in terms of educational access, retention and achievement, in all regions of the world.

The education sector not only mirrors the historical abuses, discrimination and marginalization suffered by indigenous peoples, but also reflects their continued struggle for equality and respect for their rights as peoples and as individuals.

 

 

Statement on Youth Justice from Aunty Gayle Rankine

ABC’s 4 Corners program brought national attention to the incarceration and institutionalisation of our young people.

The abuse, neglect and torture exposed on 4 Corners is alarming and our thoughts are with the children and their families.

Aboriginal people know about long term institutionalisation, we know about despair and we know about justice, or the lack of it.

We have heard about the things that go on. We know things go on, but to see the images, to see the footage – to bear witness – all the while knowing nothing was done – maybe nothing will be done to truly change the system, is heartbreaking and painful and we get angry.

So many Australians are shocked, and rightly so. But this is not new to many of our people, and while there is genuine comfort that people are now listening, the questions about why it took so long for governments and the wider public to listen remain. I hope that change does come. I ask the wider public to remember their horror and shock and make an effort to listen more and assume less.

We don’t just need change. We need reform. Bigger than reform we need action beyond the scope that this Royal Commission could ever offer. No matter what, no matter who, no matter why – to lock up and brutalise young people doesn’t heal; it harms. It doesn’t leave room for rehabilitation, it pushes children onto a path and keeps pushing them down that path.

Because of the bravery of these young people allowing their stories to be told, allowing their trauma to be made public, Australia and the world is watching. Because of the work of excellent journalists and advocates who are in it for the long-haul, some justice might start to creep in.

Sadly, this is not isolated. Nationally, Indigenous Australians are being incarcerated at increasing rates and we know that there is a high prevalence of disability, cognitive and psychosocial disability among the prison population. In effect disability is criminalised and those who are vulnerable and in need of support are placed in situations where long-term abuse and discrimination is a real risk.

We welcome the Royal Commission announced by Prime Minister Turnbull and we believe the indefinite detention of Aboriginal people with disability (often without conviction) must be investigated, and the prevalence of all disability including cognitive and psychosocial disability within the Aboriginal prison population must be investigated.