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NGO Submission on Australia’s 7th Periodic Report

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October 2022

The First Peoples Disability Network wishes to thank the Committee for the opportunity to provide a submission to the Committee Against Torture regarding Australia’s 7th Periodic Report at the 75th Session in November 2022.

FPDN believes the human rights violations experienced by First Nations people with disability under the UNCAT requires a dedicated focus in which to be examined by the Committee. In the vast majority of public discourse, from government policy to social media, journalism and activism, and even the United Nations fora, First nations people are consistently relegated to the fringes. Mirroring the social reality, our people appear only as footnotes that address but one half of their reality at a time – either as a First Nations person or someone with a disability. As Dr Scott Avery states:

An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person with disability is a member of two communities; one pertaining to their identity as an Indigenous person and another pertaining to their disability. Addressing one aspect of a person’s rights in isolation from the composite rights can leave them excluded from another aspect of society important to their sense of identity¹.

It is critical that the rights of First Nations people with disability are addressed with clear and intentional focus in order to do achieve some justice for those who have been denied their rights for too long.

We write to the Committee to provide an overview of the issues requiring such focus and seek a meeting with the Committee to provide further details of the issues presented herein. This letter will briefly discuss the following five issues of particular concern including:

  1. Indefinite Detention
  2. Youth Detention
  3. Solitary Confinement
  4. Restrictive Practices
  5. Gender based violence Against First Nations Women and Girls with Disabilities 6. Forced Living Arrangements as ‘Secondary’ Sites of Detention

1 First Peoples Disability Consortium, 2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives on the recurrent and indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment: A Submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment.

NDIS

Independent assessments

Home and Living consultation Download submission

August 2021

The NDIS is changing how they pay for supports for where people with disability live. FPDN believes that there needs to be a more holistic look at home and living options for First People with disability that pays particular attention to the housing crisis in our community. There was no mention of the housing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability in the consultation paper.

Recommendations

We made the following recommendations:

That the NDIS develop a home and living options consultation that specifically addresses the needs of First People with disability,in consultation with First People with disability.

  • That the NDIS integrate the housing outcomes and targets of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and Australia’s DisabilityStrategy in developing all future housing policies and frameworks.
  • That the separation of housing and supports is mandated in the development of this new policy
  • That First people with disability and families are provided culturally appropriate independent advocacy and support to make housing choices
  • That the NDIS progress their work on thin markets that includes how to ensure that First People with disability can access the NDIS supports they need, including SDA and SIL.
  • That the NDIS clarify how the flexible and fixed budget categories will work absent the personalised budget tool reform.
Support for decision making Download submission

August 2021

Many people with disability don’t have enough support to make their own decisions about their lives. The NDIS is developing a supported decision making (SDM) framework, and asked what we thought about that.

FPDN had real concerns that there wasn’t an intersectional approach being taken, and little understanding about the communities and networks that First People with disability live in.

Recommendations

We recommended:

  • That the NDIS urgently co-design a SDM framework forFirst People with disability, with First People with disability
  • That the NDIS SDM policy assumes people with disability have capacity as a starting point.
  • That the NDIS incorporate the Australian Law ReformCommission report recommendations into their SDM policy.
  • That the NDIS SDM framework explicitly rules out any role for disability service providers as substitute-decision makers for any person with disability they support
  • That the NDIS SDM framework discusses state and territory guardianship schemes and works to create a coordinated supported-decision making framework in all jurisdictions.
  • That peer support for decision making is considered as part of the SDM Framework

Economic Justice

Employment Download submission

May 2021

The Australian Government is developing a National Disability Employment Strategy. FPDN made a submission and talked about how important it was for any Strategy to coordinate with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

Recommendations

  • That the NDES include a specific priority for reducing barriers to employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
  • That the NDES includes measurable targets and outcomes that are reported on by the Australian Government regularly.
  • That the NDES coordinate with other appropriate strategies, including Closing the Gap.
  • That the NDES includes recognition of the impact of intersectional discrimination as a key barrier for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability when accessing employment
  • That action is taken to address the Sklavos decision and the implications for the DDA
  • That reform is undertaken to address the need for remedy for intersectional discrimination
  • That further legal and advocacy support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability is made availableto take action against discrimination at work
  • That the NDES include education issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people with disability as part of the priority for all young people with disability.
  • That the NDES coordinate with the education targets and outcomes in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
  • That an Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander disability-led and controlled individual advocacy service be funded, with specific advocates to navigate employment
  • That an Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander disability-led and controlled disability services and workforce strategy be developed,in line with the National Agreement on Closing The Gap and other relevant strategies and frameworks
  • The National Disability Employment strategy aligns with the outcomes and targets in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, particularly Outcomes 5, 7 and 8.
  • That the upcoming new National Disability Strategy aligns with relevant Closing the Gap targets and outcomes on employment
  • That the upcoming new National Disability Strategy contains explicit priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanderpeople with disability.
  • That the Australian Government plan to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability is updated to include Closing the Gap outcomes and targets
  • That Area of Focus 4 from AustralianGovernment plan to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability is incorporated into NDES
  • That priority reform area 1 in the NDES consultation paper is amended to refocus on retention of people with disability in the workforce, not just entry.
  • That current funding for DES be diverted to new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability specific services to engage in culturally appropriate employment, in line with the Closing the Gap targets.
  • That NDIS employment supports prioritises open employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability
  • That a transition plan to mainstream employment is developed for all current employees of ADEs that includes the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
  • National, state and territory government procurement must not include Australian Disability Enterprises or any other supported employment. Instead, procurement must include positive incentives for employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, including people with intellectual and cognitive disability.
  • Increase incentives to employment that don’t threaten ongoing eligibility to the DSP for Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander people with disability
Income support Download submission

July 2021

FPDN made two related submissions about the Disability Support Pension, one to the Community Affairs Senate Inquiry and the other to the review of the impairment tables.

Both raised issues about poverty in our community and the barriers to accessing the DSP, as well as the costs of living with disability.

Recommendations

We made these recommendations:

  • That a wide ranging review of income levels and cost of living for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability is conducted.
  • That barriers to accessing the DSP are reduced including more information and outreach, support, faster application timeframes, exemptions from JobSeeker requirements while waiting, abolishing the program of support, and current impairment table system.
  • That measures to address the structural and intersectional contributions to poverty in coordination with the Closing the Gap targets, and the National Disability Employment Strategy.
  • That more investment is made in Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islander controlled and run individual disability advocacy services.
Telling like it is Download submission

A report on community consultations with Aboriginal people with disability and their associates throughout NSW, 2004-2005.

Disability Royal Commission Download submission

Submission on the Draft Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Exploitation and Neglect of People with Disability