Consultation with the Australian community is now open to shape the future of Australia’s disability policy for 2020 and beyond.
The current National Disability Strategy, which aims to drive a more inclusive approach to all Government policies and programs is due to expire at the end of next year.
The Government is looking for input from the public through an open survey, face-to-face workshops and an online forum.
Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher announced the national consultations will take place from April and peak bodies and people with disability are encouraged to take part.
“Ten years ago the launch of the first National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 paved the way for major changes to the disability landscape in Australia,” Mr Fletcher says.
“With one-in-five Australians living with disability, it is critical for all Australians, and particularly those with a lived experience of disability, to have their say about the future policies of our nation.
“We want to provide an opportunity for the more than four million people with disability, as well as those who love and support them, to shape the new strategy and tell us what is important to people with disability.”
“All governments must work together to help people with disability take control of their lives and have equal access and opportunity.
He says all Australian governments will work together on the Strategy.
Director of Policy and Advocacy, People with Disability Australia (PWDA) Romola Hollywood says the peak body welcomes the consultation and hopes it will improve from the last decade.
"The National Disability Strategy has been in place since 2010, however, resourcing and delivery on successive implementations plans over the last 10 years has fallen shorten of the agreed goals and vision.
“This needs to change.
“We believe a robust and inclusive consultation process is a critical first step to achieving change.
“We urge all people with disability to register and have your say about what you want the National Disability Strategy to cover: issues with transport, justice, health and education all need to be included.
Ms Hollywood says PWDA has advocated strongly for increased resourcing and accountability on delivery of previous Strategy implementation plans and will be involved in the upcoming consultations.
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability, Sarah Henderson says the disability policy landscape has changed significantly since the implementation of both the National Disability Agreement and the National Disability Strategy and it is vital people with disability have their say in the policies and programs which affect them.
“As we approach another decade we need to ensure our policies and programs reflect the changed environment and build on opportunities available today as well as what may emerge over the next decade," Ms Henderson says.
“There will be many ways for everyone to have their say, including completing an online survey or participating in face-to-face or online community workshops in your State or Territory.”
In designing the new strategy, the consultation will also consider the findings and recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s Report of its Review of the National Disability Agreement.
To find out how you can get involved or complete the online survey visit https://engage.dss.gov.auu