A transformative new strategy supported by targeted action plans and a robust outcomes framework will help drive change for people with disabilities over the next decade in Toowoomba Region and across the country.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031 would be supported by a $250 million investment by the Morrison Government to break down barriers for the 4.4 million Australians with disabilities.
“People with disabilities deserve to have the same opportunities as all other Australians,” Minister Ruston said.
“Importantly, key reporting mechanisms will tell us what is and is not working and ensure greater transparency across the life of the Strategy.”
Member for Groom Garth Hamilton welcomed the release of the Strategy and said that it would assist individuals in the Toowoomba Region community to reach their full potential.
“Our focus should be on the ability and capability of each and every person so that people with disability can contribute and thrive in the classroom, workplace and wider community,” Mr Hamilton said.
Launched to mark International Day of People with Disability, the Strategy has been signed and agreed to by all levels of government and was developed in close consultation with the disability community.
The Morrison Government will fund a range of initiatives to support the Strategy’s success including:
- $76.8 million for Targeted Action Plans ranging from employment, safety and community attitudes to deliver initiatives over a one to three year period
- $40 million to extend the National Disability Data Asset to facilitate more comprehensive measurement and assessment of the impact of services and programs accessed by people with disabilities, with necessary and appropriate safeguards
- $12.5 million to fully establish a National Disability Research Partnership to translate research into policy and implement a national disability research agenda
- $81.2 million for the Disability Gateway to improve its functionality and ensure people with a disability, their families and carers can continue to navigate and find the services they need
- $19.5 million for better reporting and measurement including developing an Australia’s Disability Strategy Survey
- $9.9 million to improve individual advocacy services; including
- A new pilot program to provide individual disability advocacy as part of the Disability Gateway phone and internet resources; and
- A Program Management Centre established to improve access to, and quality of, individual advocacy services, including by introducing best practice service delivery models
- $10.1 million to ensure people with disabilities continue to be involved in the Strategy’s implementation, including through a new Advisory Council
Disability Discrimination Commissioner Dr Ben Gauntlett has been appointed Chair of the Strategy’s Advisory Council which would support the Strategy’s implementation.
“The Advisory Council gives people with disability a permanent role in helping to guide the Strategy over the next decade,” Dr Gauntlett said.
“The success of the Strategy requires a whole-of-community response and only by having the public, businesses and governments working together can we ensure all aspects of Australian life are inclusive and accessible.”
The Strategy will record progress through the publishing of annual data, a two-yearly implementation report to the Australian Parliament, in addition to state, territory and local government monitoring under disability inclusion plans.
As part of the framework’s strong focus on jobs, Minister Ruston also launched the Disability Employment Strategy, Employ My Ability, to increase workplace engagement and improve recruitment practices.
“We know that work provides people with a sense of independence, confidence and financial security,” Minister Ruston said.
Joint Chairs of the Disability Employment Advisory Committee Dylan Alcott OAM and Simon McKeon AO said it was critical we turn the dial on demonstrating the business benefits of employing a person with a disability.
“This strategy highlights the many benefits to employers who focus on inclusion, such as increased revenue and productivity, happier staff and greater customer satisfaction,” Mr McKeon said.
Dylan Alcott said we all have a role to play in changing attitudes.
“Businesses, organisations – the whole community – we all benefit when more people with disabilities have jobs and careers,” Mr Alcott said.
According to Australian Bureau Statistics data, 47.8 per cent of people with disabilities in 2018 were employed compared to 80.3 per cent of people without disabilities.