The 2010 Disability SA Conference provided a mantra for the Sector to move ‘forward together”. What is clear to me is that there has already been a positive shift in momentum within the Sector. The Hon Kelly Vincent MLC has already affected real change by preventing expenditure cuts in the 2010 State budget and rather, delivering an increase in funding of $97m over the next 4 years. Kelly and d4d have also put the Mandatory Reporting Bill firmly on the Parliamentary table. And then there is the Social Inclusion Board championed by Monsignor Cappo who highlighted the faults of our current system and gave strong assurances that he will recommend a strong shift in social change for the ailing disability sector to the Labor Government. There be will the implementation of a strategic plan by the Social Inclusion Board by mid November 2011.
The NDIS is still set firmly on the Federal Government radar supported by sound economic evidence from Bruce Bonyhady and the Productivity Commission. Past history of enthusiasm from the previous Parliamentary Secretary in Disabilities the Hon Bill Shorten has instilled hope in to the Sector which has continued despite his absence from the Disability Portfolio. Support from newly appointed Federal Senator Jennifer Macklin as the Families Community and Disability Senator who has a strong track record of social reform from previous portfolios, along with Senator McLucas as the Parliamentary Secretary in Disabilities, will now allow Senator Bill Shorten to wave his economic wand over the disability Sector as the newly appointed Assistant Treasurer.
We have come a long way since the early 1980’s, where visual images of institutionalised people with disabilities created a culture bound by restrictive practices commensurate with the Nazi Concentration Camps. That Orwellian approach of sociological framework continues only to disempower people with disabilities limitations and rules. And yet there is strong evidence that the disability gradient remains strongly upward with a 7% increase in demand. What we need is a commitment from our major stakeholders to demonstrate a balanced mix of management and leadership skills to create a guiding coalition to unite the Sector. Complacency will only serve to maintain an unchanged narrow path for people with disabilities.
The United Nation Convention of the Rights for People with Disabilities is still the powerful tool for the major stakeholders to adopt within the disability sector to create a united claim. Already there is strong evidence that cost benefits exist with the implementation of a rights based approach rather than a charitable approach. There will be a reduction in organisational and bureaucratic expenditure, improvement in staff and workplace practices and an increase in economic benefits by the inclusion of people with disabilities in the economic participation of our country. A rights based approach will create etiquette for the disability sector. It will promote respect for the inherent dignity of people with disabilities. This not about being politically correct, just about some good old fashioned respect and courtesy.
Dignity for Disability