By the People; For the People.DisabilityCare (NDIS) – effective implemention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

 

PUBLIC LAUNCH OF TEN-POINT-PLAN TO ENSURE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA FOR ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER PEOPLE.

The cycle of entrenched disadvantage can be broken by enabling communities

Today SAZCOM had the pleasure of working with Damian Griffis and the Board of the First Peoples Disability Network Australia on the  launch of its ten-point-plan.

The event at Parliament House, Canberra was attended by:

 

  • The Board and Executive of FPDN
  • The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP
  • A representative of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
  • Leading Disability Advocates

The introduction of DisabilityCare Australia presents an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to engage, many for the first time, with the disability service system in a substantive way. Currently most Aboriginal people with disabilities remain at the periphery of the disability service system. This continues to occur for a range of reasons some of which are well established, however one factor that remains little understood is the reluctance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to identify as people with disability. This preference to not identify presents a fundamental barrier for the successful implementation of the scheme. The FPDN has a central role in addressing this and in facilitating the roll out of the national scheme more broadly into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands communities.

The Hon. Jenny Macklin MP launched a 10 point plan for the implementation of DisabilityCare Australia (NDIS) in Aboriginal Communities this morning at Parliament House, Canberra . The 10 point plan has been devised by the First Peoples Disability Network Australia, based on its work across the country in advocating for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with disability and extensive community consultation. Minister Macklin also made an announcement regarding setting a target to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage and disability. Read more here.

The 10 point plan is a comprehensive strategy that will ensure the opportunities presented by the new disability insurance scheme are understood and used and the long-term impact means the cycle of entrenched disadvantage can be broken by enabling communities, particularly remote and regional communities.

Damian Griffis, Executive Officer of FPDN said: “The introduction of the DisabilityCare has the potential to be completely life-changing for all people with disability, and particularly those living in such isolation. The prevalence of disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is significantly higher than the general population,”

“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not recognise disability or identify as disabled. This is a new conversation to be having in many Aboriginal communities. This will take generations, so we need to plan for this over the long-term to ensure the opportunities are realised and that all people with disability are empowered to participate in a truly inclusive society.”


The FPDN community and sector consultation process has revealed that for positive change to happen in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities the change must be driven by community itself. It cannot be imposed, implied, intervened or developed, however well-intentioned, from an external service system that the vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities have little or no experience of.

Throughout many communities across the country Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disabilities have been supported and accepted as members of their communities. However it is the resources to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disabilities that many communities lack.

Damian Griffis said: “Very few Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities have an understanding of the language of the disability service system, so our view is that for the application of the DisabilityCare in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to have long-term and life-changing impact, it will need to have a different look and approach than what is advocated for the rest of the Australian population. This will take time,  but it is critical to get it right. Too often the expectation is that Aboriginal people with disability and their families should seek out assistance when the appropriate approach should be for supports to go to them.” 

There is higher instance of disability among Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians. For the DisabilityCare scheme to successfully enable people with disability to participate, and prosper as a result, there must be wholesale reform and community members must be resourced to adopt the available measures in order to succeed and share these successes amongst their communities.

Fast Facts:

  1. The prevalence of disability amongst Aboriginal and Torres Islanders is significantly higher than of the general population.
  2. The proportion of the Indigenous population 15 years and over, reporting a disability or long-term health condition was 37 per cent (102 900 people). The proportions were similar in remote and non-remote areas. This measure of disability does not specifically include people with a psychological disability.
  3. The high prevalence of disability, approximately twice that of the non-indigenous population, occurs in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for a range of social reasons, including poor health care, poor nutrition, exposure to violence and psychological trauma (e.g. arising from removal from family and community) and substance abuse, as well as the breakdown of traditional community structures in some areas.
  4. Aboriginal people with disability are significantly over-represented on a population group basis among homeless people, in the criminal and juvenile justice systems, and in the care and protection system (both as parents and children). Source

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