Presentation to Commonwealth forum (PowerPoint)

Cristina Ricci
Acting Director,
Disability Rights Team
Human rights for people
with disability as a
programme for action - not a
series of snappy slogans
Human rights for people with
disability as a programme for action
Clear actions
framework of accountability.
Employment in the Australian
Public Service
• In 1986 6.6% of the Australian Public Service
were employees with disability.
• This figure has steadily declined every year
since then and has now reached an all time
low of 3.0%.
Some statistics …
• About one in five Australians has a disability
• Currently almost one in two people with a disability
in Australia live in or near poverty (45%)
• Australia is ranked 27th out of 27 OECD countries
when it comes to relative poverty risk for people with
a disability
• The Productivity Commission recently reported that
the current disability support system is
“underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient...”
In a recent comparison of changes from 2003 to 2009, the
Australian Bureau of Statistics stated:
• While there have been significant improvements to
support those with a disability in many parts of their
lives, little improvement has been made in key areas of
everyday life over the last six years:
– labour force participation remained low at around 54%,
compared to 83% for people without disabilities; and
– Year 12 attainment was around 25% for people with disabilities,
compared to just over 50% for people without disabilities.
Advantages for some
Commonwealth Countries
1. Complex segregated education or employment
systems do not exist and therefore do not have to be
dismantled or dually funded.
2. Genuine development and nation building strategies
present real opportunities to embed change for people
with disability at the outset. Includes potentially:
• Better opportunities for consultation.
• Opportunities exist to focus on gender, children and
other marginal groups – for example Indigenous
peoples and other emerging communities
Advantages for some
Commonwealth Countries
3. Smaller population sizes and absence of existing
policies means emphasis on inclusion and desire for
progress and consultation with people with disability
can result in rapid policy development and framework
for action.
Employment - Australia
• Australia ranks 21st out of 29 OECD countries in the
provision of employment opportunities for those with a
• Disability Discrimination Act – positive requirement to
provide reasonable accommodation; recognised as
not effective in reducing discrimination in
• Employment rates for people with disability do not
seem to be improving. Decline in the rate of
employment of people with disability in the public
• No systemic national approach to setting targets or
Employment - Australia
• Problems with career progression
• Sheltered workshops (Australian Disability
Enterprises). Not seen as transition ot open
employment. There are 325 Australian Disability
Enterprise outlets across Australia employing
approximately 20,000 people with disability.
• Uncapped access to government-funded employment
support services to help people find a job, there are
problems with restricted access to government funded
support services on an as needed basis while
especially while in a job and for career progression.
Employment - Australia
• JobAccess - a one-stop shop information service for
people with disability, employers and service providers
in relation to employment.
• Employment Assistance Fund
• Employer attitudes significant barrier.
• National Disability Strategy – Policy framework
released February 2011. Addresses employment.
Area 3: ECONOMIC SECURITY. Identifies areas for
action but Implementation Plan yet to be released
Inclusive Education - Australia
• Disability Standards for Education 2005
(currently being reviewed) and Disability
Discrimination Act – positive requirement to
provide reasonable accommodation
• Disability Discrimination Act – 823 complaints
received 2010-11: 9% about education;
• Complex entrenched segregated schooling
system (special schools)
• Witnessing a new form of segregation –
separate classrooms at the regular school for
students with disability.
Inclusive Education - Australia
• Lack of national voice for children and young
people with disability
• The Australian Government has recently
established a Schools Disability Advisory
Committee, which includes two young people
with disability, to provide expert advice to the
Australian Government on how to better
support students with disability.
• Australian Curriculum, Assessment and
Reporting Authority has been developing a
new national curriculum for all students.
Inclusive Education - Australia
• National Disability Strategy – Policy
framework released February 2011.
Addresses inclusive education. Area 5:
LEARNNG AND SKILLS. Identifies areas for
future action but Implementation Plan yet to
be released.
Other important initiatives:
• Disability Standards on Access to Premises From 1 May 2011, any new building open to
the public, or existing buildings undergoing
significant renovation, will be required to
comply with the standards.
• Disability Standards for Accessible Public
Transport (2002; 30 year period)
• NDIS - The Australian Government has
commenced work with State and Territory
Governments to build the foundations for a
National Disability Insurance Scheme
1. Need a programme for action that is, with
clear actions, targets and measures to see if
the target has been achieved, and framework
of accountability
2. Consultation with DPOs is essential and
central, not disability service providers - and
advisory boards / councils have a role but are
not a substitute for consultation with DPO’s
3. Capacity building of DPOs necessary to
ensure consultation is effective
4. Capacity building of governments also
necessary re CRPD
5. Need a focus on women with disability
6. Need a focus on children and youth with
disability, including representation and
involvement in consultation processes
7. Need to ensure representation of all types of
disability, including people with intellectual
disability and people with psychosocial
8. Need to focus on other marginalised groups
including Indigenous communities and
emerging communities
Heading 1

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