A new national advisory council providing advice to the Australian Government on the needs of people with disability, their families and carers is meeting for the first time in Canberra today.
The 28 members of the National People with Disabilities and Carers Council (NPWDACC) were announced by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten. They include people with disability, carers, advocates and representatives from the disability sector.
“This extraordinary and diverse group of Australians have a demonstrated commitment to ensuring people with disability, their families and carers have the same life opportunities as everyone else,” Ms Macklin said.
One of the main jobs for the Council will be to advise the Government on the development of the National Disability Strategy, an election commitment and a key recommendation of the 2007 Senate Inquiry into the Commonwealth, State and Territory Disability Agreement.
The Council will consult widely with stakeholders and the community to ensure people with disability, their families and carers have a significant voice in the development of this important Strategy.
“The Strategy will set the direction of future disability policy in Australia and deliver real outcomes for people with disability, their families and carers. It will focus on caring needs, education, training, accessibility, employment, income and social inclusion,” Ms Macklin said.
“This Government recognises more has to be done to give people with disability, their families and carers real opportunities to be a part of Australia’s social, economic and cultural life,” Mr Shorten said.
“The Council not only has the know-how, skills and experience to deliver advice on innovative approaches to improving support and inclusion, they also know how to get things done.
“The Council’s work will also build on the Government’s recent ratification of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 17 July 2008 and look at ways to ensure equality for people with disability in all life areas,” Mr Shorten said.
Membership of the Council includes Anne Sherry (a DS NSW member) and Kirsten Deane (a member of DS Victoria), both parents of people with Down syndrome.