PWD E-Bulletin


Issue 75 February 2012 - ISSN 2202-0705

Welcome to PWD’s E-Bulletin. This e-bulletin goes out to members and interested others regularly by email. For members who do not have access to email, a printed version of the e-bulletin will be sent by post.

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Disability Rights Defenders

There is now a NEW way to support PWD – Disability Rights Defenders can now sign up online! Click here to set up a regular donation to PWD and automatically become a DRD.


Disability Rights Defenders help change lives by making a significant financial contribution to support the work of PWD through regular, monthly, tax-deductible donations. Regular donations help us pursue essential projects, such as systemic and legal advocacy projects, assist with conducting members’ and stakeholders consultations, enable us to work with Disabled People’s Organisations in the Pacific and in providing information and training to people with disability and their associates. Click here if you'd like to know more about the Disability Rights Defender Program.


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New South Wales News

Housing NSW - New Obligations for Housing Pathways Applicants

From 1 May 2012, all social housing applicants in NSW will be required to make sure their contact details are up to date or risk having their application closed.


Housing NSW has introduced changes to the ‘Managing the NSW Housing Register Policy’, which will affect the way the Department manages waiting lists for social housing in NSW. With the introduction of Housing Pathways in 2010, NSW now has a single waiting list for social housing applicants. Applicants on this list are approved by Housing NSW or participating community housing providers. This list, the ‘NSW Housing Register’, is managed by Housing NSW. As part of managing the Register, Housing NSW conducts a yearly Housing Eligibility Review, contacting all applicants on the Register to reconfirm their interest in social housing and to update their contact details. Contact is generally made by postcard or SMS. At other times, Housing NSW or a community housing provider may formally contact applicants with a request for further information.


Housing NSW is making some changes to the way they manage the Register. From 1 May 2012, social housing applicants who do not respond to a request for contact from Housing NSW or a participating community housing provider by the date specified on their correspondence, will have their application closed. This means the applicant’s name will be removed from the NSW Housing Register and they will no longer receive any offers of social housing.


When an application is closed because an applicant has not responded to contact and they wish to be re-listed on the NSW Housing Register, they will need to complete a new application form. The applicant’s waiting time will commence from the date of their new application. Relisted applications will no longer be backdated to reflect an earlier waiting time.


Housing NSW will be sending a letter to all applicants who have not responded to the most recent Housing Eligibility Review to advise them that they need to contact Housing NSW or a participating community housing provider to secure their place on the Register.


It will be critical for social housing applicants to keep their contact details up to date to avoid having their name removed from the list for social housing.


There are a number of ways in which social housing applicants can update their details to ensure they are not removed from the waiting list:

  • Online through the Keep Your Application Active form on the Housing Pathways website at  
  • Phone the Housing NSW Housing Contact Centre on 1300 468 746 (1300 HOUSING) or
  • Visit a local Housing NSW office or community housing provider participating in Housing Pathways to update your details.


PWD is a member of the 'Housing NSW ‘NGO Housing Partners Reference Group', which is a consultative forum for non-government peak organisations to give advice and feedback to Housing NSW on a range of housing issues, such as the potential impact of changes to the Housing Register for applicants who have a disability.

  • PWD will continue to work with Housing NSW to ensure the Department remains firm on its commitment that:
  • People who are not reasonably able to keep in touch with Housing NSW or a participating community housing provider, will not be disadvantaged by the changes;


Housing NSW and participating community housing providers develop guidelines covering situations where an applicant has a valid reason for not responding to correspondence such as disability, illness or homelessness.


For further information visit the Housing NSW Website at For further questions about the changes, contact Housing NSW at 


For more information contact on PWD’s participation on the ‘NGO Housing Partners Reference Group’, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

IDRS/CID conference: From Outlaws Towards Inclusion

On 17 February 2012 PWD attended a conference run by the Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS) and the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) called ‘From Outlaws Towards Inclusion’. This conference addressed challenges facing organisations and people with intellectual disability since The Framework Report (2001) on the human service needs of offenders with intellectual disability was released.

Presentations at the conference included subjects ranging from the personal experience of a person with intellectual disability previously involved in the criminal justice system, to analysis and updates on the progress of policy, to latest research.

An excellent summary of the conference, along with copies of presentations and other material relating to the Framework Report can be read at the CID website by clicking here.

Improving Accessibility to Sydney New Year Eve Events 2011

The Sydney New Year’s Eve event continues to be one of the largest fireworks displays in the world and the world’s most watched New Year’s Eve celebration.  As such, access to the various NYE events is critical to enable full enjoyment and participation of people with disability in the celebrations. PWD participated in the consultations conducted by the City of Sydney, which resulted in a number of initiatives to improve the accessibility of this event.

These initiatives included:

  • Development of a Sydney New Year’s Eve Action Plan’ in consultation with the disability sector to address the accessibility of the New Year’s Eve events in the Sydney CBD;
  • First time audio description of the fireworks, broadcast on digital radio NYE2011;
  • Improvements to physical access at the NYE viewing sites;
  • Development of a ‘Accessibility Map’ and other accessibility-related Information about the events made available on the City’s Website;
  • Auslan Interpreters at the Lord Mayor's Party and Picnic events;
  • Increased and improved way-finding signage;
  • Making available a range of ways in which people with disability could contact the City prior to the event to discuss their requirements on an individual basis;
  • Development of a new email address  to improve access to information on accessibility;
  • Development of a ‘Feedback Form’, which is available on the City’s Website to allow opportunity for people to comment on 2011 events and to have input to planning for the 2012 NYE Events at

Many of these initiatives were the direct result of feedback from disability stakeholders who participated in the consultations.

The Sydney New Year’s Eve Team will be reviewing the Accessibility Action Plan through a consultation process during 2012 and PWD will continue to provide input to this process.  For more information or to be included in the consultation process please email the City of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve Team at

PWD recognises the key role that Local Government plays in providing opportunities for people with disability to access and participate in their communities, and we will continue to work with all levels of Government to facilitate accessibility to community events, services, facilities and infrastructure. 

For more information on PWD’s consultancy and training services that PWD provides to Local Government, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

NSW State Long Term Transport Master Plan

Over the next 12 months, Transport for NSW will be consulting with key stakeholders from industry, government, business and the community to better understand transport needs and to collaboratively develop a new, comprehensive plan for all modes of transport across all of NSW.


The ‘NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan Discussion Paper’ was released on 27 February 2012 and is now open for comment. The Discussion Paper draws on the ideas contributed at the launch on 30 November 2011 consultation with Advisory Groups and online feedback.  PWD has provided direct input to the planning process through participation at the launch focus groups and as an ongoing member of the NSW Transport Access Advisory Committee. 


The purpose of the Discussion Paper is to:

  • Examine the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the transport system in Sydney and across NSW;
  • Put forward some options to stimulate debate, in particular asking how innovation and carefully integrated planning and investment might achieve a sustainable transport system that meets the state’s needs.
  • Seek views from the community and industry on how the ‘NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan’ should respond to the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the NSW transport system.


The submission process is part of a wide consultation program which includes a series of Regional Forums for key stakeholders and residents. These will be held throughout NSW between February and May 2012.


There are a number of ways you can provide direct feedback to Transport for NSW, including sending your feedback via the online feedback form available on the Transport for NSW website at; emailing Transport for NSW at; or posting a written submission to:

NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan team
Transport for NSW
GPO Box K659
Haymarket NSW 1240


A copy of the Discussion Paper can be downloaded at  A copy of the Launch Feedback Report can be found at:  For further information visit;Phone: 1800 802 888 or join the conversation on Twitter @NSWMasterPlan 


For more information on PWD’s participation on the NSW Transport Access Advisory Committee, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

City of Sydney Calls for Community Input to Development of Local Area Plans

The City of Sydney is inviting organisations and individuals to participate in ‘2030 in Your Village’, an opportunity for community members to provide input in the development of new community-based plans for each of the ‘villages’ within the City’s LGA.  These Local Area Plans (LAPs) will be used to assist the City of Sydney in future planning, management of services and allocation of funding.


Over the next two months, the City of Sydney will be hosting workshops for each village group so the community can discuss these plans with City staff, provide feedback and share ideas. Using comments from the workshops and other submissions, a village plan for each village group will be prepared for Council’s consideration and funding in future budgets. 


For information on the workshops and to see the draft LAPs, go to: or by calling the City’s Village Planning Team on 02 9265 9333 or email

Supported Living Fund – Proposals now open

The Supported Living Fund (SLF) is an initiative from the NSW Department of Family & Community Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) that aims to provide people with disability with a greater opportunity to create a good life and build person centred and sustainable living arrangements. The focus is on giving people with disability, their family and their carers a truly flexible and individualised option in the planning of ongoing living supports.


The funding can only be used for support that is related to a person’s disability, not something that any person without a disability would be expected to pay. The Fund is not an income supplement and it cannot be used for illegal items or activities, gambling, fees for sex workers, household expenses and items, tickets for recreation activities, daily living expenses and vehicle running costs.


People with disability have been invited to formally submit an application form to apply for the Supported Living Fund.  This Form is known as My Proposal.  The Proposal form can now be downloaded via the following links: electronic form (PDF) or the form for printing (PDF).


This Proposal form is for consideration in the Round 1 intake - if you are not ready to apply now, please note that there will be another Round later in 2012 and a further Round in 2013.


If you have not registered to attend a supported living information seminar, you are encouraged to contact Family Advocacy on (02) 9869 0866 or 1800 620 588. These seminars will provide further information on supported living, as well as help with completing the Proposal form. Read about the information sessions (PDF).


Should you need further assistance, Carers NSW are also able to help with any questions you may have about completing the Proposal form. Please contact their Information Line on 1800 242 636.

Domestic Violence Training

The South East Sydney Area Health Service, in partnership with The Deli Women & Children's Centre, are running a Domestic Violence Training workshop for professionals in Health and Community Services, who work with people experiencing domestic violence but are not domestic violence specialists. Workers in specialist services such as women refuges or disability support services could also benefit from the workshop. Preference will be given to agencies providing services in the Eastern Suburbs Area, with a limit of two places per agency.


The workshop will take place on Wednesday 11 April, from 9am until 4pm, at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick and costs $80 per participant. For more information please contact the Deli Women and Children’s Centre on 9667 4664 or  

Women with disability photography project

Annalee Fortunado is a Sydney-based student completing her Masters of Documentary Photography at Sydney College of the Arts. For her major, Annalee is inviting women with disability to be part of producing a photography book and exhibition by May 2012.


The idea of the photography book and exhibition is to document the stories, character and lives of some women with disability. This is an opportunity for women with disability to tell their story the way they want it to be told, engaging the audience to see beyond disability and to question society’s often stereotypical view of women and disability. It also aims to raise awareness to the audience and to think about the layers of each woman’s story.


Annalee studied photography for four years at Nepean Art & Design Centre. Click here to view more information on her work.


If you would like more information and/or are interested in participating, please contact Annalee on or phone 0417 836 717.

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Other State and Territory News

Queensland: Re-launch of PWD’s Fraser Coast Office

On 16 February 2012 PWD re-launched its Individual Advocacy Service for people with disability across the Fraser Coast region. This service provides short to medium term, non-legal, issue-based advocacy support to people with disability who have serious and urgent issues.


The service was officially re-launched in Hervey Bay by PWD Board member Sheila King, Fraser Coast Individual Advocacy Manager Alan Grimsley and PWD Executive Director Matthew Bowden.  Clients, friends, supporters and local stakeholders were also present to help warm up the new office and celebrate our already two years of service to people with disability on the Fraser Coast.


At the beginning of 2011 the previous PWD office, based in Marlborough, was completely destroyed in the devastating floods which tore through Queensland. Since losing the office the team worked hard to keep the service running in the Fraser Coast despite not having a fixed address.


PWD acknowledges with great appreciation the funding we received through Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority Special Disaster Assistance Program, the Commonwealth Bank Community Groups Flood Assistance Grants Program, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s Join Forces program and the McDonalds for Flood Relief.


The PWD Fraser Coast Individual Advocacy Service is funded under the Australian Government’s National Disability Advocacy Program which is administered by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHSCIA). Through this program FaHSCIA provides over $ 16 million to help people with disability to overcome barriers which impact on their daily life and participate fully in the community.

Queensland: Funds for segregated schools  

‘Money earmarked for a new school for children with disability in far north Queensland should rather be spent on integrated schooling’, says Queenslanders with Disability Network Inc (QDN).


On 23 February QLD Premier Anna Bligh promised to build a $32 million ‘special school’ in Cairns, with 125 places for children with disability. Trinity Bay State High School was expected to host the new school, which would be built by 2014.

QDN chief Fran Vicary responded that the money should be used to provide integrated schooling for children with a disability. "If you do that, then you have naturally occurring social inclusion," she said.


Click here to read the full news story and the response from QDN


QDN is a state-wide network of people with disability, by people with disability, for citizenship and social justice. To learn more about QDN, please visit their website at

Victoria: Update from Transport Ticketing Authority

Myki is the smart card ticketing system that is replacing Metcard in metropolitan Melbourne and paper tickets on buses in selected regional towns. In future, myki  will be valid for travel on V/Line trains between major regional towns and Melbourne.


Work has now begun to progressively turn off all Metcard ticket vending machines across the metropolitan public transport network in Victoria, with machines at stations on the Williamstown, Werribee and Sydenham lines the first to stop selling Metcard tickets.


Concession passengers need to prepare for the turning off and removal of Metcard ticket machines, as when an unstaffed railway station is fully converted to myki, concession passengers without a myki will no longer be able to purchase a concession ticket at the time of travel.


Disability Support Pensioners and Carer Payment Recipients will receive their first concession myki free of charge and are entitled to free weekend travel. Click here to read more myki information for people with disability on myki website.


Education and information sessions are also available to help people make the switch to myki. If you would like to arrange a session please call the department on (03) 9651 7569 or visit their website.

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National news

Having a Say Conference 2012

PWD recently attended the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability's (VALID) annual Having a Say Conference, which took place from the 8-10 February 2012.


At the conference, PWD gave a presentation on the Shut In Campaign, presenting the audience with slides in Easy English which explained the basis of the campaign and why it is important. Shut In is the national campaign to raise awareness about people with disability in institutions; take action to close institutions; and to advocate for housing and supports that enable people with disability to live in the community in the same way as everyone else. For more information on the Shut In Campaign, please visit   


The Having a Say conference brought together self-advocates and adults with disability from across Australia and internationally to celebrate the diversity and achievements of people with disability. The Conference included presentations, workshops, performances, and recreational activities.


The Having a Say conference aimed to empower people with disability through the opportunity to ‘have a say’ about issues that affect their lives, opportunities to celebrate ability and achievement, being part of the planning and running of the conference, opportunities to be heard by politicians, government and service providers, and the opportunity to be part of developing strategies to address issues and recommendations made at the conference.


Click here to learn more about the conference at the VALID website.

Click here to read a story about the conference which appeared in the Geelong Advertiser on 10 February 2012.

Implementing Human Rights in Closed Environments 2012 Conference and progress on the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT)

PWD recently attended the Implementing Human Rights in Closed Environments 2012 Conference, which took place on 20 and 21 February at Monash University Law Chambers in Melbourne.


The conference brought together eminent international and national experts from government agencies, intergovernmental agencies, monitoring and oversight mechanisms, non-government organisations, practitioners and academics working on implementing human rights in closed environments.


The "closed environments" examined at the conference included prisons, police cells, closed psychiatric and disability settings and immigration detention. The conference discussed different ways of identifying the impact in practice of human rights legislation on the functioning of these closed facilities; how to understand and influence the work of the monitoring bodies whose role it is to scrutinise the treatment of people held in closed environments; and how to propose strategic frameworks for implementing human rights in practice.


The conference also closely examined implications for Australia as it considers ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) which has been an area of PWD’s recent advocacy. In December 2011 PWD joined 29 other legal, human rights and prisoner advocacy bodies urging that Australia ratify the Optional Protocol. Last week, on 28 February, the next step in the ratification of OPTCAT was achieved as the Federal Government tabled in Parliament a National Interest Analysis that proposes Australia ratify the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). Submissions are now being sought by the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) on the content of the National Interest Analysis.


For more information see the PIAC website at

For more information on PWD’s position in OPCAT and its relevance to people with disability contact Sonya Price-Kelly, A/Executive Director on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email


For more information on the Implementing Human Rights in Closed Environments 2012 Conference with links to papers presented, click here to visit the Monash University Website.


The conference also launched a new publication called Monitoring and Oversight of Human Rights in Closed Environments Proceedings of a Roundtable. Click here for more information.

Concerns over sterilisation of women and girls with disability

PWD welcomed recent media coverage on the issue of sterilisation of women and girls with disability, which highlighted this practice as a continuing violation of the rights of people with disability.


Christina Ryan from Advocacy for Inclusion and Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA), Stella Young from the ABC and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes all appeared on ABC radio speaking out about the ongoing practice of sterilisation of women and girls with disability and the physical and mental cost on the people involved. Click here to read this story on the ABC TV website - Concerns over sterilisation of girls with disabilities.


PWD supports national, uniform legislation for the prohibition of non-therapeutic sterilisation of children, regardless of whether they have disability, and judicial authorisation of therapeutic sterilisation, only where the procedure is necessary and appropriate in order to save the child’s life or to prevent serious damage to the child’s health.


Once legislation encompassing prohibition is passed, PWD believes the judicial mechanism used to authorise therapeutic sterilisation will be able to provide the necessary safeguards against procedures being carried out for non-therapeutic purposes, such as menstrual management and contraception.


PWD’s position on the sterilisation of women and girls with disability can be read in our Ebulletin 60 and in our Media Release issued on 12 March 2010, Forced sterilisation of children with disability is unacceptable.

Improved Scrutiny of Legislation for Compatibility with International Human Rights Obligations

On 21 April 2010, the Australian Government released a new Human Rights Framework for Australia in response to the report of the National Human Rights Consultation Committee. The Framework contains measures that are aimed at enhancing understanding and respect for human rights across the public sector and ensuring appropriate recognition of human rights issues in legislative and policy development. Click here to learn more about the Framework.


As part of these changes, the ‘Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth)’ took effect in January 2012.  Among other things, the Act requires that all Bills introduced to either house of Federal Parliament be accompanied by a Statement of Compatibility, setting out an assessment of whether the Bill is compatible with human rights. This represents significant progress in the consideration of Australia’s human rights obligations in the development of legislation by policy-makers and its considerations in Parliament. 


The Act also provides for the creation of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. The Committee has yet to be established, although indications are that it will be done soon.


Evidence suggests that the Victorian and ACT systems of scrutiny of legislation for compatibility with human rights have had an impact in making legislation more human rights compliant. PWD urges the NSW Government to consider introduction of similar legislation and systems for scrutinising NSW legislation for compatibility which human rights.


The Commonwealth scheme has two significant differences to the existing State and Territory schemes:

  • The definition of human rights incorporates the seven major human rights treaties to which Australia is a party. This means that Statements must consider a much larger set of rights, but also treaties that impose different obligations on the state in respect of limitation and realisation of rights.
  • The obligation to table Statements of Compatibility is not accompanied by any role for courts in assessing compatibility of legislation with human rights. Accordingly, there is no prospect of the accuracy of an assessment of compatibility made in a Statement being considered by a court.


The impact of these differences and particularly the absence of court oversight on the effectiveness of the scheme will need to be assessed over time, as will the quality and depth of the analysis contained in the Compatibility Statements. A key role in the success or otherwise of the Commonwealth scheme will be played by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, especially given the absence of court oversight.


PWD is engaging in the implementation of the Framework to ensure that it is robust in protecting and promoting the rights of people with disability. PWD recognises there are many opportunities to achieve enhanced human rights outcomes through the National Human Rights Framework.


The Framework will be reviewed in 2014 and many in the human rights sector see this as the next opportunity to restate views in support of a Human Rights Act.


For further information on the range of initiatives under the Australian Human Rights Framework, visit the Attorney General’s Department Website at  To request a hard copy of the Framework or if you have any questions about the new scrutiny arrangements that are not answered in the FAQs, contact the Human Rights Policy Branch on (02) 6141 3415 or email:


PWD will continue to monitor and provide input to the range of initiatives under the Australian Human Rights Framework as it impacts on people with disability.


For more information contact Sam French, Advocacy Projects Manager on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

Students with disability a key priority of the Gonski Review

On 21 February 2012, Children with Disability Australia (CDA) issued a media release which welcomed the release of the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling, which identifies students with disability as a key priority area of the suggested reform. CDA is the national peak body for children and young people with disability aged 0-25 with the mandate of building respect, recognition and inclusion for children & young people with disability


In the media release, CDA highlights how education is an ongoing major concern for young people with disability and their families and says that Gonski review identifies key problems and recommends urgent actions to address the present systemic deficiencies.


“It is very pleasing to see students with disability as a focus of the suggested reforms” says Stephanie Gotlib, Executive Officer of CDA, in the media release.


Click here to read the full media release. To learn more about CDA, please visit their website at

ABC Audio description trial to commence mid 2012

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), Blind Citizens Australia, Media Access Australia and Vision Australia have welcomed the announcement by Senator Stephen Conroy of an audio description trial to commence on ABC1 television in the second half of 2011, which will provide a voice description of the visual broadcast for people who are blind or vision impaired.


Audio description provides a narrative soundtrack that runs alongside audio and describes actions and non-verbal cues that are occurring on screen so that people who are blind and vision-impaired can fully enjoy programs on television. The trial will run on ABC1 for 14 hours per week over a 13-week period in the second half of 2012.


Click here to read the full Media Release issued by ACCAN on 22 February 2012

Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund

The Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples' Education Fund (ADIPEF) aims to assist indigenous and non-indigenous people with disability to participate in both formal and informal education programs through providing small grants. The fund is looking to distribute small six monthly grants of up to $2,500 to assist people with disability to continue their learning.


People with disability of any age may apply for any assistance for both formal and informal education. Deadlines for Application are 31 March and 30 September 2012.


To apply, please contact Frank Hall-Bentick on 03 9429 4210 or  Click here for more information

Call for proposals: Arts Activated Conference 2012

The Arts Activated Conference 2012 aims to bring together the growing culture of inclusive Arts in Australia. Planned for 30 -31 October 2012 in Sydney, the call for proposals for papers, performances or workshops that address the Arts Activated Conference theme Desire and Destination is now open.


Keynotes from international artists Kiruna Stamell UK (Moulin Rouge, East Enders, Cast Offs) and Petra Kuppers US (Find a Strange and Twisted Shape, Somatic Engagement, The Scar of Visibility) will set the stage for the Arts Activated Conference.


Call for proposals are open until 16 April 2012 and a submission form with guidelines is now available for download from

Registrations for AND 2012 National Conference now open

The Australian Network on Disability (AND) National Conference, “Raising the Bar 2012”, is now open for registration. The conference will focus on innovative organisations making a difference to the inclusion of people with disability (both in Australia and globally), and is an excellent opportunity for businesses to share knowledge and resources, with the aim of building their disability confidence and offering more jobs and better customer service to people with disability.


The conference will be held at Hilton Sydney on Wednesday 16 May 2012 and features a range of speakers, including Kate Nash OBE from the UK as a keynote speaker.  Click here to learn more about the speakers. Kate has 20 years’ experience in working strategically to effect long-term attitudinal and major social systems change in relation to people with disability.

Click here to visit the AND website and register.

AFDO & NCID Media Release: Lack of vision is a breach of UNCRPD

In a Media Release issued on 22 February 2012, by the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and the National Council for Intellectual Disability (NCID) called on the Federal Government to reject the report Vision for Inclusion for People with Disability Through Sustainable Employment, which was issued by its Vision Advisory Group in late 2011.


AFDO and NCID are asking the Federal Government to reject the Advisory Group’s report as inappropriate and ineffective for Australia to meet its international obligations to people with disability.


In the Media Release, AFDO CEO Lesley Hall argued that the Advisory Group failed to lay down a vision of real employment for people with disability and instead continued to wrap the language of inclusion and wages around old segregated models of employment that are contrary to the vision and findings of international research and policy.


AFDO and NCID further argue that the Advisory Group plan “pedals low expectations that people with disability can’t work in the open labour market, and need to be segregated from the open workforce. This segregation and poor quality of employment is a breach of the Disability Services Act and contrary to Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)”. In response to the Report, AFDO has suspended its membership of the Advisory Group.


AFDO and NCID conclude the Media Release arguing that people with disability deserve a new plan which offers a vision of inclusion and employment with appropriate wages for people with disability, in line with the demands of the UNCRPD.

Digital Switchover Taskforce Update

Between 2010 and 2013, Australia is switching off the analog TV signals and converting to digital-only TV. The next stage will be on 5 June 2012 where areas of Southern and Central NSW, ACT and Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) will be converted.  Households that do not have a digital set-top-box or digital TV on that date will no longer be able to watch free-to-air TV.


The Digital Switchover Taskforce is aware that many people in the community, such as older persons, people with disability or those with low incomes, may need particular assistance to convert to digital TV


The mySwitch tool on the Digital Ready website,  enables residents to find information about the digital TV services they should expect to receive at their location and advice on how to get the best digital TV reception, including information about local transmitters.


The Australian Government is also providing practical and financial assistance to help eligible households switch to digital TV. Two assistance schemes are currently available; the ‘Household Assistance Scheme’ and the ’Satellite Subsidy Scheme’.


The Household Assistance Scheme offers free installation of TV equipment for eligible pensioners, this includes a digital high definition set-top box, antenna and cabling if required, and you own your own home.


Centrelink will write to eligible pensioners inviting them to apply however people can check their eligibility by calling 1800 556 443 or visiting a Centrelink Service Centre.


The Satellite Subsidy Scheme (SSS) offers installation at a subsided cost of satellite TV equipment for eligible households. Eligible households will receive a letter from the Digital Switchover Taskforce inviting them to apply. Households can check their availability and apply online via the Digital Ready website or by calling 1800 20 10 13.


For more information about the switch to digital TV, visit or call the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13.

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International News

Submission from WWDA to the preparation phase of the United Nations ‘Analytical Study on Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities’

In mid June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution to accelerate efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women. The Resolution called for a study to be conducted on the issue of violence against women and girls and disability, with the report of the study to be presented to the 20th session of the Human Rights Council in 2012.

PWD Organisational Member Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA)'s submission to the preparation phase of the UN Analytical Study on Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities, provides an overview of the legislation, regulatory frameworks, policy, administrative procedures, services and support available within Australia to prevent and address violence against women and girls with disability.

The information provided in the Paper demonstrates that there have been, and remain, significant systemic failures in legislation, regulatory frameworks, policy, administrative procedures, availability and accessibility of services and support, to prevent and address the epidemic that is violence against women and girls with disability. Underlying these systemic failures is a culture throughout all levels of Australian society that devalues, stereotypes and discriminates against women and girls with disability, and invariably perpetuates and legitimises not only the multiple forms of violence perpetrated against them, but also the failure of governments to recognise and take action on the issue.

The paper concludes that, as a matter of urgency, and consistent with recommendations from other key Australian disabled people’s organisations, the Australian Government should establish and adequately resource an independent, statutory, national protection mechanism for ‘vulnerable’ adults, where the requirement for mandatory reporting is legislated. WWDA further asserts that the Australian Government, in consultation with people with disability, should act immediately to develop and adopt, a gendered National Violence and Disability Prevention Strategy, which includes targeted, gendered initiatives to build capacity of individuals and organisations to prevent violence against people with disability and to ensure appropriate responses when it does occur.

This paper is available from WWDA’s website or you can contact WWDA at if you would like a copy emailed to you.

High Level Panel on Rural Women and Girls with Disabilities - Economic Empowerment and Political Participation

On 28 February 2012, WWDA co-sponsored the ‘High Level Panel on Rural Women and Girls with Disabilities - Economic Empowerment and Political Participation’ at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Helen Meekosha, a WWDA Board Member, spoke on the panel.

This panel event was only the second time that a specific focus on disability has been discussed at any sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in the UN in all of its 56 years.

Ms Akiko Ito, Chief of the Secretariat for the CRPD within DESA (the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs), chaired the session.  The Australian government representative, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, opened with a strong speech on violence against women, advocating for the prohibition of forced sterilisation of young women and girls with disability.

Ms Meekosha spoke strongly about the impact of rurality and colonisation of Australia’s Indigenous people and the particular issues facing Indigenous women with disability in Australia.  Akiko Ito has requested a copy of Helen’s speech to be made available on the UN Enable website.

The ‘High Level Panel on Rural Women and Girls with Disabilities’ event was attended by many NGO constituents and government representatives from other countries.  There were also many women with disability who attended the event. 

PWD congratulates Ms Broderick and WWDA on their strong and successful advocacy on these critical issues.

Click here for more information about the event.

Supreme Court ruling gives Canadians with intellectual disability full equality in court

In a landmark judgment, on 10 February 2012, the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that Canadians with intellectual disability have the same right to testify in court as everyone else.

But an older law, the Canada Evidence Act (passed in 1893), imposed restrictions on litigants with intellectual disability, giving anyone charged with a criminal offence the right to challenge the competency of the accuser. The presiding judge would then examine the plaintiff to determine whether he or she understood the obligation to tell the truth. Those who failed this test would be denied the right to testify.

The new judgment was written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who said that, “those with mental disabilities are easy prey for sexual abusers. To prevent them from testifying because they cannot explain the nature of the obligation to tell the truth is to exclude reliable and relevant evidence and make it impossible to bring to justice those charged with crimes against the mentally disabled.”

Click here to read the full story in The Star.

ASEAN Dialogue on Inclusion in Southeast Asia

On 1-2 February 2012, the ASEAN General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA) hosted the first-ever conference on increasing political access in Southeast Asia.

The event took place in Jakarta, Indonesia and brought together over 100 representatives from disabled persons' organisations (DPOs), civil society, election management bodies, government and academia to foster dialogue and develop techniques to promote equal and full participation for persons with disability. 

Keynote speakers at the event included His Excellency Bapak Wardana, the Indonesian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia Hasan Wirajuda. 

USAID's Disability and Inclusive Development Coordinator Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, and Special Advisor for International Disability Rights of the State Department Judith Heumann, also presented on why increasing access to persons with disability is crucial.

Click here to watch McClain-Nhlapo and Heumann's presentation.

Click here to learn more about the conference and its results.

Protesters with disability clash with police in Bolivia

Dozens of people with disability fought with riot police on Thursday 23 February 2012 in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, at the end of a 100-day march for increased government aid money.

Police stood blocking the government palace as protesters tried to shove through in a violent face-off that lasted almost two hours, the BBC reported.

A video on the UK’s The Guardian website show protesters bashing riot officers with crutches and sticks and shield-bearing police struggling to hold the line.

As many as 50 protesters participated in the 1,000-mile, 100-day “Caravana por la Integracion” (caravan for integration) protest. The protesters complained that their annual $143 welfare check was not enough and demanded President Evo Morales triple that amount.

A 2004 report by the World Bank in 2004 estimated there are at least 50 million people with disability in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), approximately 10 percent of the region’s population.

Click here to read the full article from the Global Post.

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The Inside Story

From the President

“Welcome to the February Ebulletin, which is once again packed full of useful information for our Members and Ebulletin subscribers.


For those of you who are PWD members, you should have received from me a letter in the mail reminding you that it is time to renew your PWD Membership.


As I said in that letter, your membership of PWD is an important expression of your ongoing support of the disability rights movement and entitles you to important benefits including our LinkUp newsletter and participation in membership events and forums.


In order to continue your support and participation please complete the membership renewal form which we sent to you and return it to PWD with your membership fee as soon as possible.


For those of you who haven’t yet become PWD Members, I warmly invite you to contact our Membership Development Manager Daphnee Cook ( to learn more about the benefits of PWD Membership and how easy it is to join our organisation.


The more members we have, the stronger voice we are – so I really do encourage you to find out more about how you could become part of the disability rights movement.”


Jan Daisley, PWD President.

Disability advocate used pain to help others

A touching and fitting tribute to disability advocate Kim Walker appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 23 February 2012, celebrating her life and her achievements. The obituary was written by Jim Simpson, a close friend and colleague of Kim’s. The obituary was accompanied by a large colour photo of Kim.


PWD was greatly saddened by the passing of Kim Walker (also known as Carol Pein) on 26 December 2011. Kim was a PWD Life Member and leader within the disability rights movement in Australia and she devoted much of her life to defending the rights of people with disability.


Click here to read the full tribute to Kim Walker in PWD’s Ebulletin 74.

Job/Volunteer Opportunities

PWD Administration Assistant - Full-time 35 hrs week, Based in Redfern, Sydney NSW

PWD Advocacy Projects Manager (Systemic Advocacy team) - Temporary Full-time (10 month contract), Based in Redfern, Sydney

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PWD Media Releases

16 February 2012: Re-launch of Fraser Coast Individual Advocacy Service

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PWD Training Opportunities

PWD is currently reviewing its trainings on offer and making changes to its existing training packages.


In the 2011/2012 financial year, PWD will no longer be issuing a training calendar with fixed trainings but instead will be providing a training brochure detailing the training options on offer. In addition, we will also be marketing customised training packages that can be adapted to meet the needs and interests of individual organisations and/or services.


We will continue to offer our 2-day Responding to Sexual Assault training which aims to challenge myths surrounding sexual assault and people with intellectual disability, build capacity of staff to support victims of sexual assault, as well as decrease the vulnerability of people with intellectual disability to this crime. Also available is our 1-day Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) training which provides a discussion of the development of the CRPD, the rights enshrined in it and the practicalities of implementing these rights, as well as information about its available complaints process.


PWD will continue to provide Disability Awareness training, however in a new, flexible format with core and optional supplementary modules. Core modules will provide a general introduction to disability awareness, exploring the concept of disability, the myths and facts surrounding it, as well as respectful language and communication. Supplementary modules will include customised components that incorporate information, case scenarios and examples applicable to the context in which the training is delivered.


PWD will continue to focus on developing and delivering training in its expertise areas of abuse and neglect as well as disability and human rights. In addition, we remain open to discussing the development of specific trainings based on interest.


Click here for further information is available from our website.

Alternatively, contact PWD Training phone (02) 9370 3100 or email

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Upcoming Events

12-14 March 2012: Bangkok, Thailand Conference on Disability-Inclusive MDGs and Aid Effectiveness. UN Conference Centre. For more information visit


17 March 2012: Sydney Olympic Park, NSW Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) Independence Expo. For more information or to hold a stall, contact Rebecca Konstatzky on 02 9356 1106 or


26-27 March 2012: Melbourne, VIC Disability Advocacy and the Legal System: You Be The Judge. For more information visit


26-27 March 2012: Honolulu, Hawaii 28th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability & Diversity "Living to Our Complete Potential"  For more information contact email or telephone (808)956-7539 or visit their


29-30 March 2012: Australian Technology Park, Redfern Sydney ACOSS National Conference, Sharing the wealth of the lucky country. For more information visit


9-11 August 2012: Perth, WA 10th Biennial ECIA Conference and 1st Asia-Pacific Early Intervention Conference ‘Pathways to Participation: Engagement and choice for children’. For more information visit


17-21 September 2012: New Delhi, India TRANSED 2012: The 13th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled People. For more information visit


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About PWD

People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWD) is a national disability rights and advocacy organisation. Our membership is people with disability and organisations made up of people with disability. Individuals and organisations committed to the disability rights movement can join PWD as associate members.

PWD was founded in 1981, the International Year of Disabled People, to provide people with disability with a voice of our own. We have a cross-disability focus and represent the interests of people with all kinds of disability.

As a non-profit, non-government organisation we increasingly depends on membership fees, public donations, bequests and fundraising activities to maintain our commitment to improving the lives of people with disability. PWD is a deductible gift recipient so donations of $2 or more are fully tax deductible.

Your tax deductible donation will mean we can continue to maintain our services. If you are interested and would like to support PWD please visit

For information about membership, contact PWD on email or one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin.

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Privacy statement

We are committed to protecting your privacy. In doing so, we commit ourselves to conforming to the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Bill 2000, which came into effect in December 2001 and the National Privacy Principles issued by the Australian Privacy Commissioner. This newsletter is distributed by email. You have provided us with an email address. This email address will be used only for the purpose for which you have provided it and you will not be added to any other mailing lists unless you specifically request that this be done. Your email address will not be disclosed without your consent.

You can have your email address removed from the mailing list for this newsletter by sending an email to This newsletter contains links to websites. We cannot be held responsible for the privacy practices (or lack thereof) or the content of other websites.

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Contact us

Please note that PWD publishes items contributed by other organisations at our discretion. While we will assist where possible in the dissemination of information, we do not take responsibility for the promotion or advertisement of events organised by other organisations.

If you would like to receive PWD E-Bulletin in an alternative format or have an enquiry, contact PWD by email or on one of the numbers listed below.

People with Disability Australia Incorporated
PO Box 66 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
Phone 02 9370 3100, toll-free 1800 422 015
TTY 02 9318 2138, toll-free 1800 422 016

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