1. Resource Disabled People’s Organisations in the ACT to ensure the most marginalised people are engaged and represented at the systemic level;
2. A majority of speakers and participants at all disability related ACT Government facilitated and funded forums and consultation processes must be people with disabilities;
What is currently being done?
People with Disabilities ACT, Women with Disabilities ACT and Advocacy for Inclusion provide cross disability representation. Each organisation covers different areas and has different expertise according to their core constituency. These are the only formally constituted disability representative organisations in the ACT. All three organisations have disabled peoples organisation (DPO) status, and work collaboratively to ensure all people with disabilities in the ACT are represented to government and the community. The funding for disabled peoples organisations is very uncertain and will cease at June 2017.
Article 4.3 of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stipulates that states parties must actively engage and closely consult with disabled people through their representative organisations in the development and implementation of legislation and policies. Representative organisations provide important systemic advocacy to inform government and influence society at the policy level.
The three disability representative organisations (DPOs) in the ACT provide representative systemic advocacy for various cohorts of people with disabilities in the ACT. All organisations are run by and for people with disabilities. Advocacy for Inclusion uniquely provides direct individual advocacy and self-advocacy to highly marginalised individuals, which creates a particular capacity to act as a representative voice for people living in supported accommodation, people with cognitive and communication impairments, and people experiencing violence. A commitment is sought to appropriately fund disabled peoples organisations in the ACT over the long term to ensure the representative voices of people with disabilities are able to participate across all areas of government consultation and policy development.
A related issue is the lack of disability representation across all areas of government, such as forums and advisory committees. It is common for people with disabilities to be heavily outnumbered as speakers, members of advisory groups, and consulted participants across all areas of government policy development. This demonstrates a lack of commitment to “nothing about us without us”. People with disabilities must be engaged as equals if we are to achieve true representation and equality. A commitment is sought to have people with disabilities as the majority speakers and participants in all forums and processes about disability which are sponsored by the ACT Government.