Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Australia pledges ongoing commitment to people with disability in the developing world

A summit bringing together world leaders, policy makers and researchers to examine the urgent needs of people with disability across the world took place in South Korea today.

The first of its kind focusing solely on people with intellectual disabilities, the Global Development Summit in PyeongChang aims to raise the profile of people with intellectual disability and ensure that people with disability share in the benefits of development and have their voices heard.

Addressing the Summit entitled Ending the Cycle of Poverty and Exclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas said Australia is demonstrating its commitment to people with disability in developing countries.

“People with disability are among the poorest and most vulnerable in the world. Their needs should be a top priority in global policy and development discussions,” Senator McLucas said.

“We are committed to including people with disability in the development process, recognising their potential and honouring their dignity.”

“Last year, Australia provided an estimated $108 million in aid to improve the quality of life for people living with disability across the developing world.”

The Summit explored obstacles that prevent people with intellectual disabilities from being included and accepted as part of the larger global development agenda. It will help provide a way forward for people with intellectual disability to be included in development.

World leaders including renowned human rights activist and Myanmar politician, Aung San Suu Kyi, international researchers, students and policy makers in the fields of intellectual disability, education and health, and dignitaries including the Prime Minister of South Korea, Mr Kim Hwang-Sik and President of Malawi, Mrs Joyce Banda attended the Summit

Held in conjunction with Special Olympics World Winter Games (26 January – 6 February) in which five Australian athletes are competing, the Summit is also a chance to promote the importance of sport as a vehicle to support people with disability improve the quality of their lives.

“Last year an additional $2 million over four years was committed by the Australian Labor Government to use sport as a vehicle to improve the quality of life of people with disability in the Pacific,” said Senator McLucas.

“This brings the total funding Australia has committed to development through sport from 2006 to 2014 to over $30 million.”