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The newly formed FPDN ELDA‘s (Elders Living with Disability Australia) caretaker council met on Thursday 21 September in Alice Springs, NT.

The Elders came to support the ‘Living our Ways’ research program which actively seeks the knowledge and voices of the national ELDA council, formed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with disability.

A key issue raised by the ELDA council is the important of genuine and ongoing community consultation on all traditional lands. The ELDA council recommend as a first step that they be invited to any future consultations for all community disability business including the NDIS.

The discussions culminated in a joint position statement devised by those present. The Elders know that consultation will also lead to a better quality of life for our people by addressing our needs, our way

ELDA Meeting  – Disability Our Way

The ELDA Council states:

There is no compromise, we have to uphold traditional lore and do business our way. At the moment Government is overriding disability business in the community. So, from today we say that we will not compromise and we are taking a stand. Enough is enough.

We speak as Elders living with disability and we know that disability business is important and must guide all conversations in our communities for change.

Sharing stories and story-telling is so strong in Aboriginal communities. This way leads us to support healing in the community so we can move forward and get things right. Funding is needed to help all the layers of community and then the Government can speak with us. That is the message we need to deliver and hold firm to.

Our message is that “you need to speak to the ELDA council about disability business”.

Today, we have come together and we have found that what we share, what we have in common is lack of support for those with a disability in community and healing processes.

Until governments respect this and get that right we won’t continue to accept the top down approach and go forward on the terms of others. We will explain our terms, our way and do business our way.

The ELDA council is united in saying that we all in this room need to flip the business structure that has gone before, in which our community, our people are not given adequate supports. Disability business sits on top and governments’ business comes underneath that. We know our Culture, our Lore, our Community and our Country. We will lead the way and incorporate disability business our way.

Today we say: “The Government must come to us, no compromise”.

21 September 2017