Key advocacy groups believe a website designed to provide information about support to people with disability could be a positive step towards reaching more culturally and linguistically diverse people.
The website, called the Disability Gateway, aims to connect all people with disability, their families and carers with support services across sectors including health, housing, employment, transport and everyday living.
The information about services is available in a range of languages and audio or written formats and the Government has rolled out an advertising campaign to promote the platform and attract users.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) Dwayne Cranfield says his organisation feels privileged to be working with the Government to translate for the Disability Gateway.
“NEDA will be working with multicultural communities to translate the Disability Gateway into a multilingual platform, hence opening up access to people from a multitude of cultural and linguistic backgrounds,” Mr Cranfield says.
“We will collaborate both with people with a disability and people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds, to ensure the website is as inclusive, accurate and culturally appropriate as possible.
“I personally think that a dedicated gateway, in a person’s preferred language, is a great way for us to get one step closer to CALD communities and understand what their needs are, in terms of disability support and services.”
The Disability Gateway has listen and easy read options for most of the information it presents, as well as links to translating and interpreting services and the National Relay Service for people with a hearing or speech impediment.
There are hopes the website will also benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) chief executive officer Damian Griffiths saying it could improve access by being a trustworthy source of information.
"FPDN hopes that the Disability Gateway can increase appropriate content for First People with disability, to ensure that the website is of the most benefit to our community,” he says.
“It is important that the Gateway is seen as a credible, independent information source so First People with disability can have better access to the services they need."
But work on updating the website should also be continuous to make sure the information remains relevant to people with disability and their support network, according to Sebastian Zagarella, CEO of People with Disability Australia.
“The challenge now will be to attract people to the site, make information accessible to a wide range of audiences and ensure the information being provided is useful and remains current – after all, people with disability have a wide range of needs,” he says.
“It would also be helpful for the Gateway to regularly assess its website accessibility and content against feedback provided by its end users.
“I believe the Gateway can reach people with disability, and their supporters, seeking advice, advocacy and good services, if its information is refined continually and promoted widely.”
The Disability Gateway can be contacted by phone on 1800 643 787 or emailed at [email protected].