COAG Endorses Road Map for Disability Reform
16 February 2011 at 11:57 am
The National Disability Strategy – billed by the Federal Government as the first national strategy to provide a long term disability action road map – has been endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
More than 2,500 people with disabilities and their carers were consulted during the development of the strategy, which sets out a ten year national plan for improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.
The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin says the National Disability Strategy will help the Government create better services, programs and community infrastructure so that people with disabilities have access to a quality education, to health care, support to get a job and to access buildings, transport and media.
A statement endorsed by all heads of government in Australia says the commitment to the National Disability Strategy recognises the need for greater collaboration and coordination by all governments, industry and communities to address the challenges faced by people with disabilities. It says a new approach is needed to guide policies and program development by all levels of government and actions by the whole community, now and into the future.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Senator Jan McLucas says adopting the strategy follows through on one of the Government’s election commitments which will result in real improvements in the lives of people with disabilities.
Senator McLucas says the COAG endorsement of the strategy marks the first time in Australia’s history that all governments have committed to a unified, national approach to improving the lives of these people, their families and carers.
McLucas says the strategy sets a 10-year reform plan for all governments to address the barriers faced by Australians with disabilities and will ensure that mainstream services and programs including healthcare, housing, transport and education, address the needs of these people.
The government announced six community participation initiatives aimed at removing barriers and expanding opportunities for people with disabilities and their carers.
- $5 million to support Local Governments to make public spaces more accessible;
- $3 million to support leadership development for people with disabilities;
- $1 million to promote liveable housing design;
- $1 million to provide digital playback devices and improved access to digital content in public libraries;
- $500,000 to improve cinema access for people with hearing and vision impairment;
- $500,000 for the disability website, Ramp Up.
The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to conduct an independent inquiry into the costs, benefits and feasibility of a national long-term care and support scheme for people with disabilities, including a national disability insurance scheme.
Macklin says the Government will carefully consider the Productivity Commission’s report when it is delivered in July this year.