Message from the Chair
Dear Members and Colleagues,
In mid-September, Australia presented its 2nd and 3rd reports to the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee listened to presentations from the Australian Government, including from our Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Ben Gauntlett, and to presentations from Civil Society. After weighing up what they heard and read in written submissions, they have issued their Concluding Observations this week. These are still in their draft form.
The Concluding Observations have noted a number of positive aspects of Australia’s implementation of the CRPD. These included the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme; the new National Disability Employment Framework, the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, the establishment of the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council, and its international Development for All 2015-2020 development assistance programme. Importantly it also notes that the federal government has committee to introduce a seven percent employment target for persons with disabilities in the public service.
However, there were also a considerable number of issues on which they want more action to be taken. The Shortfalls are considered Article by Article. They commented on the ineffectiveness of the National Disability Strategy and the need for it to be properly funded. They recommend Disability Impact Analysis of legislative changes that may impact the rights of people with disabilities.
The UN Committee recommends that the Disability Discrimination Act be strengthened – something advocacy groups have called for over many years. They also reiterate their calls for support of organisations that advocate for women with disabilities.
Importantly, they also recommend that amendments are made to Federal law with mandatory rules on access for all new and extensively modified housing.
You can read the Civil Society Shadow Report to the UN on the AFDO website here, along with Civil Society submissions from a number of other bodies. The Government Report to the UN Committee is here. This report was actually submitted to the UN in 2018, but our appearance at the UN had to wait until an appropriate session (22nd Session of the UN CRPD Committee) to make the face-2-face delivery.
WWDACT thanks Dr Rosemary Kayess who is Australia’s representative to the UN CRPD Committee and its Vice-Chair at present, for her work on the Committee. We also thank the Civil Society Delegation to the UN who represented us so well.
The Concluding Observations are useful for an organisation such as WWDACT because they itemize areas where the UN expects improvements to be made over the next 4 years.
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