Australia’s Disability Strategy – what it means for you

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A new vision has been created to replace the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which will affect the lives of all Australians with disability and their families.

Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031 will guide the way Australian society is governed and make it more inclusive and accessible for people with disability.

This article breaks down the different areas in which the Strategy aims to make changes over the next decade so you can learn about what to expect from all levels of Government.

Employment and Financial Security

This outcome has three priorities:

  • Increasing employment
  • Improving the transition of young people from education into employment
  • Strengthening financial independence

Some examples of how these priorities might affect your life include better programs to support you into employment or to stay employed, to start your own business, or advice to help develop your career.

You might also see more focus on people with disability being paid fairly for their work and effort to increase the awareness of employers about the reasons why they should hire people with disability.

Inclusive Homes and Communities

There are six priorities under this area:

  • More affordable housing
  • Making housing accessible and giving people choice over their living situation
  • Access to activities ranging from sport to religious and cultural events
  • Accessible designs for buildings and outdoor spaces
  • Access to transport
  • Access to information and communication

This outcome aims to increase the inclusivity of people with disability across the community.

For example, anyone should be able to use a public park or stadium, attend a concert or live in a home that is safe and comfortable.

There could be lots of changes to rules, laws and guidelines for the building industry, Government departments and private companies to support this.

Safety, Rights and Justice

Six priorities fall under this outcome:

  • People are safe from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • Better responses to people who have experienced trauma
  • Promoting gender equality and preventing violence
  • Rights of people with disability are promoted, upheld and protected
  • Equal access to justice
  • A criminal justice system that responds to complex needs

The Strategy says fewer people with disability should be seen in the criminal justice system and that this can be achieved with more diversions and better transition supports.

It also promotes more awareness for court judges, legal professionals and court staff, and more accessible legal information, plus trauma-informed training for workers.

Personal and Community Support

The four priorities in this area are:

  • Access to supports that meet individual needs
  • NDIS provides eligible people with access to reasonable and necessary disability supports
  • Informal support is acknowledged and supported
  • People are supported to access assistive technology

To achieve these, changes will be made to mainstream services, like relationship or financial counselling, to make them more accessible, as well as to specialist disability services.

Support for parents, siblings, family members, friends and voluntary organisations that help people with disability will also be strengthened.

Education and Learning

This outcome has four priorities:

  • Access and participation in high-quality early childhood education and care
  • Build inclusive education to improve outcomes for school students
  • Improve pathways and access to further education and training
  • Increase opportunities to participate in lifelong learning

Changes in these areas could include improvements to early childhood education and the school system to make access and participation equal for all children.

You can also expect more access to education and training after school through support for students with disability in career planning and continuing education for adults with disability, for example through professional development.

Health and Wellbeing

The three priorities for health and wellbeing are:

  • All health services can meet the needs of people with disability
  • Prevention and early intervention is timely, comprehensive, appropriate and effective
  • Mental health supports and services are appropriate, effective and accessible
  • Disaster preparedness, risk management plans and public emergency responses are inclusive

Examples of how this might look in action include more person-centred health care and more equipment, training and facilities for quality health care.

Mental health services could also be changed to better support people with disability, and emergency services will consult people with disability in planning for disasters and recovery after disasters.

Community Attitudes

The four priorities under this heading are:

  • Employers value the contribution of and recognise the benefits of employing people with disability
  • Key professional workforces can confidently and positively respond to people with disability
  • Increase representation of people with disability in leadership roles
  • Improving community attitudes

This outcome area will involve a lot of changes in industries with private businesses and other organisations, not just within Government.

There is already work on changing the attitudes of employers about the potential of employees with disability and there should also be changes in the attitudes of workers in health, education, justice, emergency services and community services.

More information

You can read the full 72 page Strategy here.

The Strategy is also available in an easy read format, a summary is available in Auslan, and the documents have been translated into 13 other languages.

What else do you hope to see change in the next ten years? Tell us in the comments below.

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