Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

National consultation on disabilities convention report

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Robert McClelland MP, Attorney-General

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, today announced a national public consultation process on Australia’s first report under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Under the Convention, Australia is required to submit a comprehensive report every four years on measures taken to promote the rights and freedoms of those with a disability.

The draft report, which will be Australia’s first since becoming a party to the Convention in¬†August 2008, includes information about the development of the National Disability Strategy and explains our policies, programs and laws relating to the rights of persons with disabilities.

“This report demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to removing barriers and accommodating the needs of persons with disabilities to enable them to enjoy their rights on an equal basis with all Australians,” Mr McClelland said.

The Australian Government has taken significant steps to enhance and promote the rights of people with a disability, including:

  • acceding to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • developing Disability Standards for Access to Premises to provide minimum national standards for those with a disability to access public buildings;
  • reforming the Disability Discrimination Act and clarifying protections and obligations under the Act; and
  • enabling the Australian Human Rights Commission to inquire into the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Government is now seeking comment on the draft report from non-government organisations, persons with disabilities and their advocates, and other interested individuals.

Mr Shorten said the review was a valuable opportunity for the whole community to express their views on this important issue.

“People with a disability are still too often treated as second-class citizens in this country,” Mr Shorten said

“This Government has increased funding for disability services, raised the Disability Support Pension and offered extra support to carers, and has asked the Productivity Commission to investigate the possibility of a national disability insurance scheme.”

The Government is also developing a National Disability Strategy, to be released this year, which will outline our approach to further protecting the rights of people with a disability and encouraging their inclusion in society.

“The NDS will play an important role in protecting and promoting the human rights of people with a disability. We want to keep working to give Australians with a disability the right to equal treatment.”

Copies of the draft report and supporting documents can be obtained at Attorney-General’s Department Submissions close on 6 August 2010.