Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

The Way Forward: A National Disability Strategy

Joint Media Release with:

  • Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services

People with disability, their families and carers will benefit from a National Disability Strategy being developed by the Australian Government to increase their economic participation, social inclusion and wellbeing.

The National Disability Strategy (NDS) is an innovative and desperately needed change of approach to disability planning and policy, and is a clear signal of the Rudd Labor Government’s commitment to a long-neglected section of our community.

Australia’s disability system has been hamstrung by buck-passing and a culture of reactive crisis management, to the detriment of those it is meant to support. This was recognised by a recent Senate Inquiry, which called for a strategy to provide national direction and focus for the development of disability legislation, policy and standards.

The Australian Government’s National Disability Strategy will deliver a whole-of-government approach to disability planning, in collaboration with states and territories and in consultation with people with disability and other stakeholders in the disability sector.

With an emphasis on working smarter, it will set out practical action plans for service delivery, policy development and quality assurance, as well as a research agenda informed by state, territory and international expertise.

Through leadership, partnership and cooperation, instead of blame shifting and bickering, the NDS will go a long way to ensuring people with disability are afforded the same rights of dignity and social inclusion that all Australians are due.

Just one practical measure the NDS will implement is a national accessible parking scheme – a commonsense measure that will give improved access and availability of parking options for people with disability and their carers.