people with disability

People with a disability, especially young people, are facing another wave of attacks and victimisations by the federal government in a new crackdown on those receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

In mid-December, the then-minister for social services, Kevin Andrews, announced that his department would begin investigating people on the DSP. This will be carried out by the Coalition’s leading attack-dog, Scott Morrison, who inherited the ministry after a cabinet reshuffle removed him from the position of immigration minister.

Under the cover of Christmas, 10 peak representative bodies of people with disability were defunded by the federal government.

Hang on, how does that work? Is this government not rolling out the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) that seeks to consult widely with people with disabilities and their advocates? Is this not the promise of a new arena of flexibility and choice, a “consumer-led” initiative that puts disability rights and voice front and centre?

People with a disability or a mental illness and their families have not had sufficient access to the services, programs and funding necessary for fully independent inclusion in society.

For a person with a disability to participate in the community, in many circumstances, equipment and organisational assistance is needed.

World Autism Awareness Day will be held on April 2 and members of the autistic self-advocacy movement are campaigning for basic services and social acceptance.

Autistic activists from groups like the Geneva-based Autistic Minority International, Wrong Planet and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network are organising to be heard as a community rather than being primarily represented by experts and professionals in the field.

Hundreds of blind people and their supporters have linked white canes in front of Vision Australia Enterprises in support of blind manual workers facing the sack at the end of this month. The white cane chain stretched more than 200 metres, doubling back across the length of the Kensington worksite. It received widespread media coverage.

The crowd, which gathered on September 15, chanted, “people before profits” and “have some vision, change your decision”, referring to Vision Australia’s decision to close its supported employment program because it failed to make a profit.

I disagree with a few points in the article “Blind workers fight for jobs at Vision Australia”. There are lots of parts of welfare to work which are not great but there is a particular part which helps people with disabilities be able to compete on the labour market or become self employed more easily.

The Victorian Blind Workers Union and United Voice Queensland have stepped up the fight to save the jobs of 73 vision-impaired workers. The workers are due to be sacked within three months by Vision Australia Enterprises in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.

Not-for-profit organisation Vision Australia plans to cease its supported employment program due to financial problems.

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