Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

University leading disability awareness campaign

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas today threw her support behind a student-led campaign at the University of New South Wales to create an accessible campus for students with disability.

Senator McLucas joined students for a barbecue for the launch of the Disability Awareness Campaign, which aims to give students with disability a voice.

Senator McLucas also took questions from students in a panel session alongside respected academic and former Senior Australian of the Year, Ron McCallum AO, who serves on the Committee of Experts for the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Paralympic swimming gold medallist Prue Watt.

Senator McLucas praised the students driving the event, including the Students with Disabilities Officer, Joel Wilson who expanded the university’s previous campaign from a week to a year to raise awareness of the issues students with disability face.

“I congratulate the students and the University for showing leadership and action in creating an inclusive community,” Senator McLucas said.

“The University provides a Student Equity and Disabilities Unit and a student appointed to advocate for students with disability.

“The University of New South Wales also has a fully accessible Disability and Welfare Room—a new space for any student with disability or welfare concerns to hang out, relax and chat.

“Yet we know more can always be done. Going to university is an exciting milestone in young people’s lives, but the fact is many Australians still face significant barriers when doing so.

“During the year, the Disability Awareness Campaign will tackle disability issues at the university, including accessibility of campuses, services available to students with disability, employment for people with disability following university, and attitudes towards people with disability.

“It will also raise awareness of the discrimination students with disability face, and encourage them to speak out to remove some of the misunderstanding surrounding disability.”

Senator McLucas reiterated the Australian Government’s commitment to creating an inclusive and accessible society for people with disability.

“The Federal Labor Government’s $1 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme will roll out from mid-year in five launch sites across the country—in the Barwon area in Victoria, the Hunter in New South Wales and across South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory,” Senator McLucas said.

“And our National Disability Strategy, a 10-year reform plan, will help us create better services, programs and community infrastructure so that people with disability have access to a quality education, to health care, support to get a job and to access buildings, transport and media.”