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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Shut Out: the experience of people with disabilities and their families in Australia

Call to lift disabled out of ‘exile’
Stephanie Peatling, Sydney Morning Herald, August 5, 2009 .

A national insurance scheme that would cover the costs of those with disabilities should be investigated, says the parliamentary secretary for disabilities and children’s services, Bill Shorten.

The scheme would provide someone born with a disability or who incurred one through accident or illness with consistent funds throughout their life. ‘‘Many Australians with disabilities remain in internal exile,’’ he said.

Mr Shorten will today make public a discussion paper calling for a national plan for those with disabilities. It argues that the existing system of providing services to those with disabilities is too flawed to be fixed and needs to be replaced.

Instead of a ‘‘welfare model’’ the paper calls for more individually tailored programs to help people participate fully in the community.

As well as improving care and support services, Mr Shorten wants a national system to focus on people being given enough help to to find and maintain work.

Better access to public buildings and transport was also essential, he said. ‘‘You go to some suburbs and the shops are inaccessible, not just to people with disabilities but young mums and older people. I don’t know how some buildings get approved.’’

Click here for the story in the Herald online.

The report was prepared by the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council. The Council's Deputy Chair, Kirsten Deane, is acknowledged and thanked "as the primary author of this report". Kirsten is the current President of Down Syndomre Victoria, and mother of a young daughter with Down syndrome.

  • The report, Shout Out: the experience of people with disabilities and their families in Australia is available to download here in a number of formats. An Easy English version is available upon request to FAHCSIA. Phone 1800 050 009, TTY 1800 555 677 and ask for 1800 050 009, email

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