Today is International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD), raising awareness, understanding and acceptance, and acknowledging the achievements and contributions of people with disability.
IDPWD is a United Nation sanctioned day to be celebrated worldwide and puts a well-deserving spotlight on people with disability.
Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, and Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Stuart Robert, have acknowledged the amazing contribution Australians with disability make in communities across the country.
Minister Ruston encourages employers to hire people with disability as an everyday, normal business decision to boost job opportunities for people with disability.
“International Day of People with Disability is an opportunity to celebrate the important contribution Australians with disability make in the workforce and to focus our attention on changing employer attitudes so that every Australian who wants to work is able to do so,” she says.
“Getting a job and having a job is an absolute game-changer in anybody’s life and that shouldn’t be any different for somebody who has a disability.”
She also recommends schools get involved in the Grow Inclusion competition to win up to $3,000 for accessible resources and materials by promoting accessibility and inclusion through morning teas, assemblies and discos.
Minister Robert also acknowledges today’s International Day of People with Disability alongside residents of Project Independence, an Australian Capital Territory (ACT) housing development helping people with intellectual disability realise their dream of owning a home and living independently.
“The theme of this year’s International Day of People with Disability is ‘promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership’, which is also a key focus of the Government,” Mr Robert says.
“I am honoured to spend time with residents of Project Independence, a great example of an innovative approach to providing choice and control to people with disability and aligns with core principles of the NDIS: person-centred, supported decision-making and participation.
“The NDIS provides people with significant and permanent disability the supports they need to participate fully in their communities helping to realise their social and economic potential.”
The Government aims to build a more inclusive and accessible society for the more than 4.4 million Australians who live with disability.
Commissioner for the Disability Royal Commission, Alastair McEwin, made a statement today about the importance of International Day of People with Disability (IDPWD).
“As disabled people, we are the experts in our lives. We are the ones who have experienced segregation. We are the ones who have experienced social barriers. And we are the ones who continue to experience violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in Australia. As experts in our lives, we will lead the change to ensure an inclusive society,” says Commissioner McEwin.
“Disabled leaders are everywhere. Disabled people lead community organisations, academic pursuits, businesses, artistic endeavours and scientific innovation. Sadly, however, disabled leaders are often not recognised nor given the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers to achieve their full potential. And they are significantly underrepresented at the highest levels of public office and organisations, and in private enterprise.
“An inclusive society is one where disabled people are represented at all levels of leadership. It is important that our younger members of the disability community have a wide range of disabled role models to learn from as they develop and emerge as leaders themselves; as empowered leaders with a strong sense of autonomy, independence and commitment to equality.
“Disabled people must be able to participate in environments that are universally designed, inclusive and fully embrace their disability. These aspects are outlined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“The importance of leadership by and participation of disabled people in all aspects of our society cannot be emphasised enough. It is imperative for true inclusion.”
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of People With Disability Australia (PWDA), Jeff Smith, says, “PWDA welcomes the annual International Day of People with Disability as an opportunity to celebrate and promote the achievements and inclusion of people with disability, around Australia and across the world.
“This year, we are proud to partner with the Disability Leadership Institute, the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and our Disabled People's Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) colleagues to support the National Awards for Disability Leadership which highlight some of the great work that people with disability are doing to advance our rights.”
Disability advocate, Dylan Alcott says, “Happy International Day of People With Disability to my 1.3 billion brothers and sisters out their living [with disability] all across the globe!
“I ask everyone on this day to challenge your perceptions of what you think people [with disability] can do, cause it’s always more than [you] think.”
To get involved in International Day of People with Disability 2019, visit https://www.idpwd.com.au/