Media Release by Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Next step to shape a new National Disability Strategy

The Morrison Government is leading formal discussions today with states and territories on developing a new National Disability Strategy at today’s Disability Reform Council meeting.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston and Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Stuart Robert said the new strategy would help drive real, practical improvements in the lives of all Australians with disability.

“Today we are seeking agreement to release a position paper in early 2020, which will lay the foundation for the Disability Reform Council to develop and test a new strategy informed by consultation with people with disability,” Minister Ruston said.

“In the coming months we will focus on meeting with people with disability, their families and carers, and other stakeholders to discuss what is working and how we can address the challenges and barriers that remain.”

To inform the process the Government has released the consultation report Right to Opportunity, which explores the improvements and challenges people with disability have experienced since the implementation of the first National Disability Strategy 2010-2020.

Minister Robert said the consultation cited the NDIS as the biggest improvement for people with disability in the last 10 years but noted that respondents also emphasised implementation challenges, including for those who were not eligible for the Scheme.

“The NDIS is just one part of how government is helping people with significant and permanent disability but we need a national approach across states and territories to ensure people with disability who aren’t eligible for the Scheme are also well supported,” Minister Robert said.

“More than 4 million Australians identify as having a disability, with around 500,000 of these people expected to become NDIS participants. We look forward to working with our state and territory colleagues to ensure that all Australians with disability have access to appropriate supports, whether as part of the NDIS or from other service systems.”

As part of the consultation report more than 2500 people responded to an online survey – around three-quarters of whom identified as having a disability or being a family member of a person with disability.

Respondents highlighted that perceptions of people with a disability in the media had improved as had inclusion and accessibility in the community.

It also shows that while community attitudes and awareness of people with disability have improved in recent years, challenges and barriers remain including in disability employment, community access, and support for independence and wellbeing.

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