From today, Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan will add Disability Discrimination to her portfolio and will focus on improving dignity, respect and equal opportunities for people with disability.
“As I commence my term as Acting Disability Discrimination Commissioner, I want to reinvigorate a national discussion about how we create opportunities for people with disabilities to enter the workplace,” said Commissioner Ryan.
“It is important that we have this discussion at a time when the Government is considering significant changes to the welfare system, including the disability support pension. The only way we can reduce welfare dependency is to address the barriers to paid employment that are faced by people with disabilities,” she said.
“These barriers start from the moment a person leaves their house: is there reliable, accessible transport to get to work? It continues as they reach a workplace: Is the workplace design accessible? Are there flexible workplace practices that can accommodate people’s distinct needs? And it continues on with prevailing attitudes and stereotypes about what people with disabilities are capable (or more commonly, deemed incapable) of achieving.”
THE federal government is “open” to negotiating the most controversial element of its budget welfare measures, making young people wait six months for the dole, in a concession that Labor branded an “unravelling”.
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews told ABC radio yesterday he first wanted to test the strict welfare measure, which would save the budget $1.2 billion if completed in full, in a hostile Senate.
“We’ll see then what the other parties and the independents in the Senate have to say about it,” Andrews said.
“We will see what they say … in NZ everybody faces a one-month delay before they can go on benefits, but that’s a different system to what happens in Australia.
“But my door is open … if the independents or the minor parties want to talk about it, then obviously we will talk about it.”
Graeme Innes AM
Disability Discrimination Commissioner
July 2, 2014
'Address to the National Press Club'
Australia's Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes will complete his term of office on 4 July. In this presentation, Commissioner Innes will review his eight and a half years in the role. Appointed by the Howard Government, in 2005 he was re-appointed by the Rudd-Gillard government.
The Federal Government announced - as part of budget savings measures - that his position would not be filled by a full-time Commissioner who has lived experience of disability, and knowledge of the disability sector. Instead, one of the current Commissioner's will fill the role on a part-time basis.