New Alliance for People With Disability
6 February 2015 at 2:09 pm
Disability advocates have welcomed an announcement that the Federal Government will establish the National Cross Disability Alliance.
The Alliance will be made up of five peak disability organisations that will provide advice to the Government on improving social and economic participation.
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield, said the move would help create a clearer voice for people with disability.
“The National Cross Disability Alliance will provide the Government with practical advice to help improve policies and legislation impacting people with disability across Australia,” Fifield said.
“It will be the Government’s primary source of grassroots policy advice on issues of national importance to people with disability.”
Fifield said the Alliance would hopefully reduce discrimination facing people with disability.
“Importantly, the new Alliance represents the social model of disability, which is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the National Disability Insurance Scheme,” he said.
“This is an important approach, as it recognises that the obstacles faced by people with disability are often more a reflection of societal barriers and discrimination, rather than a person’s specific medical condition or impairment.
“When these barriers are removed, people with disability can enjoy more choice and control to pursue their goals and ambitions.”
Fifield said the disability sector had been under pressure with funding stretched across a large number of bodies “with no clear rationale for why groups did or didn’t receive funding”.
“The disability sector has been calling for reform, and so the Government – for the first time – made the funding available through a competitive process,” he said.
“This new model will provide an improved framework for the views and interests of all people with disability to be communicated to Government. It will also provide opportunities for collaboration, leadership, development and innovation.”
The groups funded to form the National Cross Disability Alliance are:
People with Disability Australia
Children with Disability Australia
First Peoples Disability Network Australia
National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Women with Disabilities Australia
People With Disability Australia President, Craig Wallace, said the Alliance provided a model for the future.
“The Cross Disability Alliance provides a modern, coherent and more comprehensive national voice for people with disability. This means that people with any kind of disability can directly join, elect and hold accountable the peaks who represent them to Government,” Wallace said.
“We are at a crossroad for disability rights and it is right for us to come together at this vital time.”
Children With Disability Australia Executive Officer, Stephanie Gotlib, the Alliance came at a critical time for people with disability.
“It is a significant time of reform for people with disability in Australia. Major initiatives include the establishment of the NDIS, the National Disability Strategy and reform in education for students with disability,” Gotlib said.
“The Alliance will have a collaborative approach to working with people with disability, governments and the broader community.”
Alliance members will each receive up to $300,000 per annum, to June 2017.