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DisAbility Update Magazine

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DisAbility Update Magazine

    Issue 41 disAbility update June 2009

Contents

    About disAbility update ........................................................................................... 1 Top of the Class...................................................................................................... 3 State Budget delivers for disability .......................................................................... 3 Community living a passport to independence ....................................................... 4 Kimberley talks respite ............................................................................................ 5 Bus stop murals connect with community ............................................................... 5 Excellence in disability services honoured .............................................................. 6 Human rights and disability rights where to from here? ..................................... 7 Shorten to speak on human rights and disability .................................................. 10 New vision for Perth theatre ................................................................................. 11 Cinemas open up.................................................................................................. 12 Round table, round two leaders focus on the future ......................................... 12 Survey taps disability travel market ...................................................................... 13 Opportunities open up for volunteers .................................................................... 13 Young volunteers prepared for emergency ........................................................... 14 Trainee of the Year not daunted by distance ........................................................ 15 Resting peacefully at Fairholme............................................................................ 16 Nominate now for WA‘s 2009 Count Us In Awards............................................... 16 The DG‘s column .................................................................................................. 17 Disability Services Commission Board Reference Networks ................................ 19 Noticeboard .......................................................................................................... 20 About disAbility update

disAbility update is published quarterly by the Disability Services Commission,

    146160 Colin Street, West Perth WA 6005.

Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the State

    Government or the Disability Services Commission.

Contrbutions and feedback from agencies and interested parties are welcome. Copy

    deadline for June issue is Tuesday 5 May 2009.

    All communication should be directed to:

The Editor

    disAbility update

    Disability Services

    Commission

    PO Box 441

    West Perth WA 6872.

Tel. 9426 9260

    Fax. 9481 6808

    TTY. 9426 9315

    ISSN 1442-343X

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Top of the Class

Disability Services Minister Simon O‘Brien was on hand to offer congratulations to

    graduates at this year‘s Babbingur Guide Dog Graduation Ceremony at the

    Association

    for the Blind of WA in Victoria Park.

There were four guide dog graduate pairs:

    ; Claire McGlew and Swanee,

    ; Jeremy McGlure and Presley,

    ; Damian Andreou and Jenkins, and

    ; Alaistair Dowsett and Spud.

    Graduates were presented with a Babbingur plaque made of clay with the the Guide Dog‘s paw print alongside the owner‘s handprint symbolic of their journey in life

    together. Association for the Blind of WA chief executive officer Margaret Crowley explained that the word Babbingur came from the Nyoongar language and described a loyal and devoted friendship.

    WA became the first state in Australia to introduce guide dogs through the Association in 1951.

Mr O‘Brien also launched the annual Community Open Day of the Association‘s

    Centre for Excellence on the same day as the Guide Dog Graduation Ceremony. The Centre for Excellence, which opened in September 2007, is a 6000 sqm centre housing state-of-the-art facilities including the Vision Management Centre, the Confident Living Centre, Lotterywest‘s Children‘s Centre, Handa Sports Academy

    and Recreation Centre, the Industry Skills Centre, the Braille and Talking Book Library, the Woodside Guide Dog Discovery Centre and the Guide Dog Conference Centre.

Mr O‘Brien commended the Association for the Blind of WA on the holistic range of

    services it offered for the whole person, rather than just the disability.

    The Association for the Blind was established in 1913. The most recent ABS figures estimate more than 50,000 people in WA are blind or vision-impaired.

State Budget delivers for disability

    The disability sector was a big winner in the 2009/10 State Budget, with a substantial increase in allocations over the preceding year.

    The State Government has met its election commitment to big growth dollars to disability services, with a total pledge of $383.4 million recurrent funding an

    increase of 8.5 per cent over last year‘s allocation.

    Combined with $7.2 million in growth from the Commonwealth Government through the National Disability Agreement, the Disability Services Commission‘s overall budget for 2009/10 is $470.1 million, with $32.5 million for new and expanded services.

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Highlights

    Accommodation support: A record number of people with disabilities will be supported to live as independently as possible in their local communities, including 175 people accommodated through the Combined Applications Process, 21 young people supported under the Young People in Residential Aged Cared Program and an estimated 60 people to be supported through the new Community Living Plan.

    Alternatives to employment and post school options: In addition to a commitment of $43 million over four years, an additional $5.4 million has been allocated to the Alternatives to Employment program, benefiting some 800 young people who are unable to undertake full-time employment. In 2009/10, $1.7 million will also be allocated to post school options, to help an estimated 135 school-leavers make the sometimes difficult transition to life after school.

    Respite: Work has already begun on the first of five out-of-home respite facilities to be built across the State with an allocation of $11.75 million over four years. A preelection commitment to establish a $3.75 million fund over four years for a new school holiday respite program has been boosted by an additional $620,000 for enhanced school holiday programs for children aged 13 to 18 years in 2009/10.

    A more detailed summary of the 2009/10 State Disability Budget can be found on line at http://www.disability.wa.gov.au/dsc/corpdocuments/budgetbulletins.html.

Community living a passport to independence

    Doing the dishes, watering her plants and relaxing in front of the TV after a long day at work are just some things Jessica Farr enjoys every day.

    Most people probably take routines for granted but up until a few months ago, such independence was something Jessica could only dream about.

    Jessica, 24, was born with Down syndrome and is legally blind and hearing-impaired. Apart from two years in a supported group home, she has lived with her family her entire life.

    But a new Disability Services Commission initiative has opened up a world of independent living for Jessica.

    The Commission‘s new Community Living Plan, with funding of $1.2million in 2009/10, is helping people like Jessica with individually-tailored arrangements to support them live independently in their own home.

    In Jessica‘s case, her family and her local area coordinator consulted with Jessica to work out what support she needed.

    They found her a private unit close to transport, arranged for a Meals on Wheels dinner every night and got domestic help in one day a week.

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Jessica manages everything else herself preparing her own breakfast and lunch,

    taking the bus to and from work, as well as her own laundry and housework.

Jessica‘s unit is just round the corner from her family home — making it easier for

    her family to visit and help with errands. And because Jessica is well-known to the people in the neighbourhood, it‘s easy for her to get around locally.

    Jessica has received support with housing and domestic help under the Community Living Plan. Just a small amount of funding and planning had made a huge difference to their lives, said Jessica‘s mother Robyn Kleber. ―Jessica loves her own peace and quiet and this has made such a huge difference to her life. It‘s given her much more control of her own life,‖ Mrs Kleber said. ―I feel such a sense of peace that Jessica‘s living a fulfilling and normal life.‖

    ―I love my independence,‖ confirmed a beaming Jessica. ―Doing the dishes, all the chores, washing up, watering the plants.‖

Kimberley talks respite

People living in the state‘s north have had their say about plans for a purpose-built

    respite facility to be developed in the West Kimberley the first of five to be created

    in WA as part of a State Government commitment over the next four years.

    In April, staff of the Disability Services Commission held consultations in Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Kununurra and Halls Creek, to hear from local stakeholders about what kind of model of service will best meet their needs. A total of 60 people attended the sessions.

    The diverse cultural makeup and vast distances in the Kimberley region make for some unique challenges. Many users of the facility will be Aboriginal and live very traditionally, but even within this population there is considerable diversity and there is no catch-all model of what is culturally appropriate. Transport is also going to be a significant consideration, with other regional centres being several hours away from the Broome location by road and more than an hour away by air.

    The sessions provided valuable perspectives from consumers and service providers that will enable a service design to respond to the broadest possible range of expressed needs and desires.

    A report and recommendations are now being prepared, with a final decision about the design of the facility and the service model expected to be made by the Commission in September.

    Bus stop murals connect with community

Coming soon to a bus stop near you bright murals, enchanting characters and all

    manner of colourful backdrop.

    The bus stop makeovers are courtesy of residents from Disability Services Commission accommodation facilities who have been working with WA artist

    Robyn Valpin to create artistic backdrops drawn from their own inspiration.

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    Most of the residents are part of The Lost Generation Project run by DADAA (Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts), which uses the arts as a means of reconnecting participants with their community.

    The Lost Generation refers to people with intellectual disabilities who have been institutionalised for most of their lives and have little or no connection to their community.

    Commission spokesperson Sue Ross says painting local bus shelters has been one way the participants can give back to their community while also raising awareness of The Lost Generation Project.

    Residents from City of Melville homes in Butler Street, Harris Road, Justinian Street, Aldridge Street and Norwich Hostel have so far transformed bus shelters in Willlagee, Brentwood, Bicton and Bull Creek.

    Commission staff as well as local community members have also pitched in to lend a hand with a paintbrush, says Sue.

The bus stop makeovers are part of the City of Melville‘s Adopt-a-Stop program

    which received a $15,000 grant from the Office of Crime Prevention to assist with delivering Adopt-a-Stop workshops throughout Melville.

Further information on Adopt-a-Stop can be found on-line at

    www.melvillecity.com.au/arts-events.

    Excellence in disability services honoured

    Directions Family Support Association in Armadale and PLEDG Projects in Bunbury took out top honours at this year‘s Disability Services Standards Excellence Awards.

    Directions Family Support received the Excellence Award for its innovative range of programs and quality experiences for people with disabilities while PLEDG Projects was commended for its efforts at the inclusion of children with disabilities in classrooms and other settings.

    Both organisations were delighted with the honour and Directions Family Support Association acting chief executive officer Elizabeth Small said the Excellence Award was an acknowledgment their organisation was on the right track.

―It‘s also a recognition of listening to the families and what their needs are,‖ she said.

    PLEDG Projects director Darrel Wills said the independent monitoring behind the Awards allowed services to gauge how well they were doing and PLEDG was honoured and humbled to receive the Disability Services Commission Excellence Award.

    Disability Services Commission Board Deputy Chairperson Jim McKiernan, who presented the awards, said the judging panel looked for innovation and excellence as well as consumer, family and carer involvement in the services provided.

    Certificates of High Commendation were awarded to WA Baptist Hospital and Homes Trust Inc for its Lyneham Place group home in Bassendean, Enabled South

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    West for its Advocacy Services in Bunbury and i.d.entity.wa for its Willcock Avenue group homes in Balcatta.

    The Disability Services Standards Excellence awards are presented each year after disability service providers across the state have been assessed against the nine Disability Services Standards by independent monitors.

Human rights and disability rights where to from here?

    Australia‘s Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes brought Western Australia up to speed on the implications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

    Governments and communities face an urgent challenge to transform the situation of Australians with disabilities from one of poverty, disadvantage and exclusion to one of equal wealth, equality and income, according to Australia‘s Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes.

    Commissioner Innes was in Perth on 2 and 3 April to address forums organised by the Disability Services Commission on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and its implications for State and local government and the disability sector.

    With unassailable ethical argument backed up by compelling statistics, Commissioner Innes‘ address set out the way forward for government and non-

    government leaders to bring about sweeping social change for people with disabilities primed by the principles of the UN Convention, and guided by the practical paradigm of the Australian Human Rights Commission‘s Access to Premises Standards and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

    Staggering stats

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one in five Australians reports a disability. The rate increases with age, reaching 81 per cent among those aged 85 years and older affirming, according to Commissioner Innes, that disability is ―a normal part of life‖.

    But he took that perspective a step further, pointing out that the one million Australians who experience profound or severe disability equate to the population of Adelaide, and the further 2.5 million Australians caring for people with disability equate to the population of Adelaide plus Perth.

And what‘s more, figures indicate a strong correlation between disability and social

    and financial disadvantage, with people with disabilities significantly more likely to live in the most disadvantaged local areas, and far less likely to be participating in the labour force all statistics which lay a challenge before any progressive society‘s concept of a sustainable community.

Convention a ‗roadmap‘ to the future Australia is one of 50 countries to have both

    signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into effect in May 2008.

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The Convention is guided by eight principles:

    ; respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to

    make one‘s own choices, and independence of persons;

    ; non-discrimination;

    ; full and effective participation and inclusion in society;

    ; respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of

    human diversity and humanity;

    ; equality of opportunity;

    ; accessibility;

    ; equality between men and women; and

    ; respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities, and respect for

    the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

    As a party to the Convention, Australia is required to promote, protect, and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights by people with disabilities, and ensure that they enjoy full equality under the law. The Convention is monitored by the United Nations‘ Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which includes an

    Australian, Professor Ron McCallum.

Commissioner Innes pointed out that while the Convention‘s relevance to State and

    local government is not immediate being ‗a few tiers of government away‘ — its

    ratification is a marker of Australia‘s commitment to a ―paradigm shift‖ in attitudes

    and approaches to people with disabilities, who, rather than being seen as social protection, are now clearly ‗subjects‘ with rights, and active members of society.

    ―The Convention is a road-map towards a change in culture,‖ Mr Innes said. ―While it

    has not yet been adopted into national law, it sets the compass points for the Commonwealth Government in developing the National Disability Strategy.‖

    Access to premises

    Sixteen years after the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act, designers and builders are still not providing an adequate level of accessibility in Australia‘s

    built environment, partly because the Act itself is not clear enough about what constitutes discrimination.

    To address this problem, nine years ago the Australian Government moved to establish Premises Standards which would define levels of access required to comply with the Act. Five years ago draft Standards were made available for comment. A Parliamentary committee inquiry into the Standards is currently reaching completion, with Standards due to be adopted late this year or early next year. Before they take effect however, changes will have to be made to the Building Codes of Australia, and Commissioner Innes estimates the Standards are not likely to be implemented until early 2011.

He described the length of time it has taken as ‗almost painful‘, but was quick to

    point out that when it happens, the Premises Standards taking effect will result in the greatest infrastructure change to improve accessibility that Australia has seen.

    Major changes that are proposed within the draft Standards include:

    ; requirements for accessible facilities in Bed and Breakfast and caravan or

    holiday park accommodation;

    ; increased requirements for accessible rooms in hotels and motels;

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    ; requirements for access into swimming pools with a perimeter of more than

    40 metres;

    ; increases in provision of accessible entrances and doorways to buildings;

    ; increases in circulation space requirements in lifts, accessible toilets and at

    doorways;

    ; improvements in the number and distribution of accessible spaces in cinemas

    and theatres; and

    ; increases in the areas covered by hearing augmentations systems in rooms

    with a built-in PA system.

    Commissioner Innes stressed that the dramatic across-the-board improvement to accessibility in the built environment through the Premises Standards will better the quality of life for everyone not just people with disabilities but older Australians, families with children and prams, transport and delivery workers especially, but everyone will enjoy the greater ease of movement around their community. Website accessibility

    While the Premises Standards will eventually transform our physical living spaces, cyberspace, according to Commissioner Innes, is just another space, and websites are the equivalent of buildings and premises and the same rules of right of access

    apply.

―Just as people with disability have the right to have equal, independent and

    dignified access to our government offices, shopping centres and schools, so we also have the right to have equal, independent and dignified access to the websites that are built for use by the public,‖ he said, ―…the UN Convention not only refers to

    bricksand-mortar buildings but also to the internet.‖

    Fortunately, standards for web accessibility have already been developed internationally.

    The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have set the international benchmark for web accessibility since 1999. In December 2008 a new version of the Guidelines was released, but the Australian Human Rights Commission has taken a careful approach in preparing to recommend the adoption of the new version in Australia. The Commission is seeking to engage with all levels of government as well as the broader web community to address a number of complicated implementation issues. While the Commission is developing detailed recommendations, the first version continues to set acceptable standards.

―The web is one area where universal access is a realistic objective,‖ Commissioner

    Innes said. ―By following the accessibility guidelines, you can have websites that are

    visually appealing, while still looking good to someone with low vision who is using a screen enlargement program, sound good to someone who is blind and using a synthetic voice to read it, and feel good to someone who is deaf-blind and using Braille to navigate the web.

―Access to the web is not an add-on extra, it‘s as much a right as access to public

    transport, access to education, and all the other rights that are asserted in the UN Convention.‖

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Conclusion: the power is ours

    While Australia has taken on a certain mantle of responsibility to its citizens with the ratification of the UN Convention, Commissioner Innes concluded that it fell to everyone State and local government, organisations, and individuals, to work to bring about the changes the Convention points to.

―Agendas as broad as the disability agenda, and issues as broad as those included

    in the UN Convention, are not advanced by national government alone…‖ he said.

―Much of the question about whether people with disability play an equal role in our

    community, and are welcomed as its members, lies in your hands.‖

A complete transcript of Graeme Innes‘ address to the forum can be viewed on the

    website of the Australian Human Rights Commission at

    www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/speeches/2009/waceo.htm.

    Update on developments

The Australian Parliament‘s Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee tabled its

    report on the inquiry into the draft Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards on 15 June 2009.

    A video presentation featuring Committee Chair, Mark Dreyfus QC MP, giving background to the inquiry and some of the evidence presented to the committee can be found on the Parliament‘s website at

    http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/laca/index.htm.

    Shorten to speak on human rights and disability

    The University of Western Australia‘s Institute of Advanced Studies in conjunction with the WA Disability Collective has announced that the 2009 Western Australia Disability Collective Lecture will be given by the Honourable Bill Shorten, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children‘s Services.

    Mr Shorten will speak on the human rights and social justice aspects of the National Disability Strategy, particularly in light of Australia‘s recent ratification of the International Convention on Human Rights and Disability.

    The lecture will be delivered on Thursday 6 August at 6:00pm in the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre at UWA. Admission is free and no RSVP is required.

    The lecture theatre is accessible and has an audio loop. An Auslan interpreter will be provided.

    Further information is available from the Institute of Advanced Studies on 6488 1340 or by email to iasuwa@uwa.edu.au.

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