Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Closing the gap for Indigenous people with disability

Joint Media Release with:

  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard

The Gillard Government will set a new target aimed at increasing access to services for Indigenous people with disability.

This will strengthen efforts to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage by ensuring that the benefits of DisabilityCare Australia are realised for Indigenous people.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Disability Reform Jenny Macklin today announced the proposed new target at the launch of the First Peoples Disability Network Australia’s 10 point plan for the implementation of DisabilityCare Australia.

The Government also announced $900,000 over three years for the First People’s Disability Network Australia to provide services to assist Indigenous Australians to understand and access support from DisabilityCare Australia.

The Gillard Government is committed to closing the gap for Indigenous Australians with disability.

We must ensure that DisabilityCare Australia increases support and services for Indigenous people with disability and a target will drive these efforts.

We know the prevalence of severe or profound disability among Indigenous people is around twice the rate for non-Indigenous Australians.

Unfortunately many Indigenous people are reluctant to identify themselves as a person with disability and often do not seek help with disability services.

A new target will concentrate efforts on closing the gap for Indigenous Australians with disability and ensure they are not left behind in the implementation of DisabilityCare Australia.

The target will be developed through a working group of key Indigenous and disability stakeholders, chaired by Damian Griffis, Executive Officer of First Peoples Disability Network, in parallel with discussions with state and territory governments.

The working group will be asked to report to Government on options for a possible target that could be agreed by the Council of Australian Governments. An interim report is to be provided by mid July 2013.

We want to build on the ambitious targets we have already set to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage in the areas of health, education and employment.

With the launch of DisabilityCare Australia only six weeks away the Government is working hard to ensure that Indigenous people with disability are prepared for the launch.

DisabilityCare Australia is seeking to employ Indigenous planners and local area coordinators where ever possible, and is also engaging at a local level with Indigenous organisations.

In addition, DisabilityCare Australia is developing cultural training packages for its staff as well as developing information about the scheme for Indigenous Australians using culturally appropriate methods, including outreach and interpreters.

This information will assist Indigenous people with disability, their families and carers to understand personal planning and person-centred support delivery.

In consultation with the Co-Chairs of the National Disability Strategy Implementation Reference Group and the First Peoples Disability Network, the new Indigenous Working Group will be comprised of members representing the following organisations:

  • National Disability Strategy Implementation Reference Group
  • First Peoples Disability Network
  • National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
  • National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations
  • Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care
  • NPY Women’s Council
  • MJD Foundation (Machado-Joseph Disease)
  • University of Sydney