December 3 marked the International Day of People with a Disability (IDPwD) and the launch of Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031. The strategy was presented in Canberra but celebrated across the nation, with the 10-year plan offering a seat at the table for children and young people with a disability in Australia.
Children Young People with Disability (CYDA) has warmly welcomed the release of Australia’s Disability Strategy saying that it is the most promising blueprint in Australia’s history for ensuring children and young people with disability get a fair go.
Mary Sayers, CYDA CEO said that the direct needs of children and young people have been traditionally overshadowed by people speaking on their behalf but having a consultation process that provided a direct seat at the table where young people and caregivers have had a direct say heralds the start of a positive new era in government consultation and community attitudes to disability.
More than one in six people have disability and they face intersectional and compounding discrimination in our institutions, our systems and communities. Therefore, it so important we get this right and have the commitment of all levels of government as well as the community,” said Ms Sayers.
What informs Australia’s Disability Strategy?
The Disability Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (which continues until September 2023) will further advance the ongoing development of the Strategy as a roadmap for a more inclusive and just society with the Advisory Council required to assess and complement changes based on these findings. Early education has been a key focus of the Royal Commission to date, and Mary Sayers believes early childhood education sets children up with the foundations for success and social participation in their later life.
High quality early childhood education sets children up with the foundations for success for educational inclusion and attainment, employment, and economic and social participation in their later life. Inclusion must begin from the earliest ages so we welcome the focus on access and participation of children with disability inearly childhood education and care.
CYDA’s research shows that students who feel more accepted, included and involved in their schooling are more likely to be engaged in classroom learning, in extracurricular activities, in interpersonal relationships, and in the wider school community so it is great to see that building capacity for inclusive education is a key recommendation of the strategy.
What does Australia’s Disability Strategy mean for Victorians?
Australia’s Disability Strategy is the priority of Australian, state, territory, and local governments. The Australian Government provides a number of disability services nationally, so you can get the same service no matter which state of territory you are in, although some services are delivered mainly by state or territory governments.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing is responsible for disability policies and issues in the Victorian State Government. They are also responsible for state-based disability services that sit outside of the NDIS. The Victorian Disability Advisory Council provides advice to the Victorian State Government and helps people with disability to have a say in disability matters. Victorian councils also work to support, promote and improve local communities. Learn more about Victoria’s disability services and responsibilities for children and young people with a disability.
“We know many young people with disability experience poor post-school transitions and there is a focus on stronger pathways to help young people transition successfully from education to employment is imperative as there is a direct link between tertiary education attainment and improved employment rates and income,” said Ms Sayers.
We would love to hear what you think of the new strategy and how you think it will transform community attitudes toward disability in Australia. You can read more about events impacting Victorians in our Culture archives.