Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

COAG endorses Australia’s first National Disability Strategy

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

The first national strategy to provide a long term road map for improving the lives of Australians with disability, their families and carers has been endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said the National Disability Strategy would help to ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians.

“The National Disability Strategy 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,” Ms Macklin said.

The strategy is the product of extensive consultation across the country – more than 2,500 people with disability and their carers had their say in its development.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Senator Jan McLucas said the adoption of the strategy was one of the Government’s election commitments to people with a disability, their families and carers.

“Agreement of the National Disability Strategy by Commonwealth, state and territory Governments is a major step forward. It will result in real improvements in the lives of people with disability.”

“It is the first time in our history that all governments have committed to a unified, national approach to improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers,” Senator McLucas said.

“The strategy sets a 10-year reform plan for all governments to address the barriers faced by Australians with disability and will ensure that mainstream services and programs including healthcare, housing, transport and education, address the needs of people with disability.

“The strategy provides the framework for change. We will continue to work with people with disability, their families and carers, and the disability services sector, to deliver changes that will improve people’s lives.”

Six community participation initiatives to remove barriers and expand opportunities for people with disability and their carers support the strategy.

These are:

  • $5 million to support Local Governments to make public spaces more accessible;
  • $3 million to support leadership development for people with disability;
  • $1 million to promote liveable housing design;
  • $1 million to provide digital playback devices and improved access to digital content in public libraries;
  • $500,000 to improve cinema access for people with hearing and vision impairment;
  • $500,000 for the disability website, Ramp Up.

In 2008 the Australian Government committed to doubling Commonwealth funding for specialist disability services, with more than $6.2 billion over five and a half years under the National Disability Agreement.

The Government has also asked the Productivity Commission to conduct an independent inquiry into the costs, benefits and feasibility of a national long-term care and support scheme for people with disability, including a national disability insurance scheme.

“We will carefully consider the Productivity Commission’s report when it is delivered in July this year,” Ms Macklin said.

The National Disability Strategy is available at Council of Australian Governments website.