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PWDA E-Bulletin
Edition #100 March 2016
ISSN 2202-0705

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Dear ,
Welcome to PWDA’s March E-Bulletin.

Our E-Bulletin goes out to subscribers regularly by email. Please share this E-Bulletin with anyone you might think would like to receive it.

Show your support for the human rights and equality of all people with disability and become a member of People with Disability Australia. You’ll join one of the fastest growing disability rights movements in Australia. There is strength in numbers for all of us, so taking membership (free) is an easy way to ensure disability retains the profile and presence we deserve.

To be added or removed from our E-Bulletin mailing list or to change your details, please email, click on the "Unsubscribe / Change Profile" link at the very end of this E-Bulletin or contact PWDA on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin.

  • What's happening with Homecare in NSW?
  • PWDA Advocates profile: Mount Isa
  • Update to Disability Persons Organisations
  • Meeting with Chinese Disabled Peoples Organisation
  • Release of Royal Commission research report
  • No national redress scheme disappointing
  • Announcement of Criminal Justice hearing
  • Planning focus groups across NSW, Vic, ACT, Qld
  • Submission to NSW Family and Domestic Violence Blueprint
  • Submission to Legislative Council Inquiry into Elder Abuse
  • Update on BSWAT legal case

From the President

Welcome to this March edition of E-Bulletin

I want to begin this edition of E-Bulletin by again paying tribute to the life and achievements of one of our founders, Faye Druett OAM, who passed away last week. You can read a longer version of my tribute to Faye here.
 Photograph of Craig Wallace
Craig Wallace
President of People with Disability Australia
Faye was a valued member of the PWDA Board and Executive for many years, a past CEO and an early champion for our organisation. She was indomitable, unwavering and the stalwart of our movement. When she spoke it mattered. She pushed us to do governance well and reminded us when we didn't.

Faye lived the mantra the ‘personal is political’ and supported and mentored many people with disability, including current members, board members and employees of PWDA to become strong advocates. She held numerous meetings and events in her own home on many evenings and weekends on actions and campaigns for the rights of people with disability.

Faye was there at the beginning of PWDA in the 1980s, saying on our 30th anniversary that: "If you want to work hard with committed people, who are working towards ensuring the rights of and inclusion of all people with disability in an equitable community come and join us. I wouldn’t have done anything else in the last thirty years but work, in various capacities, for People with Disability Australia."
PWDA extends our sincere condolences to Faye's friends and family. A  celebration of Faye’s life and work, to honour her leadership and the immense contribution she made to disability rights and freedoms, will be held on Saturday 16 April 2016.  More details are available  here.

In mid-Febrary, I welcomed the announcement that the Hon. Mrs Jane Prentice MP is to be appointed Assistant Minister for Disability Services in the proposed Turnbull Ministry. The Ministry announcement means that disability will have a named Minister of state at the Federal level for the first time since 2013.
While disability has been covered in other portfolio’s the size of the challenges which confront us as well as the scale of the NDIS implementation warrant a dedicated disability minister.

The appointment of a named Minister also highlights the need for advocacy on a number of levels within Government and I hope that going forward Government will revisit the need for a dedicated Disability Discrimination Commissioner, who has a disability, within the Australian Human Rights Commission.

PWDA continues to fight and advocate strongly for continued funding for the NDIS against misleading stories about the costs of the scheme, which ignore its investment returns, and I spoke out strongly at the end of January on Sky News and in The Australian (paywalled) on these issues.
We were also part of an important joint statement from the Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA).
More recently, I have been speaking out against proposals for the Commonwealth to have more control than the States and Territories for the NDIS, bringing with it fears about changes to eligibility and funding changes for the NDIS.  We were part of the ACDA media release calling on Prime Minister Turnbull to rule out removing the independence of the NDIS and any retrograde shift to an outdated rationed disability support system.  We have also been campaigning against any changes to the NDIS – get involved at #HandsoffNDIS.

Over the last five years, the NDIS has gained the overwhelming support of State and Territory Governments, both sides of Federal politics and the Australian community in a way that few reforms have before. Australians have simply decided this is the right thing to do.
It’s time to take the NDIS out of the annual pre-Budget and policy fights to provide peace of mind for people with disability, families and carers. In the lead up to the election I would urge all PWDA members to make it clear that funding certainty for the NDIS is a make or break issue important to you – regardless of how you vote.

Prior to Christmas I was very pleased to hear that the long-standing BSWAT wage case has been settled, with employees with disability to receive 70% of their backpay. This is better than the 50% the Government was previously offering, and it will be tax free. This money will also not affect Centrelink payments or concessions.
PWDA would like all ADEs to start setting wages using fair wage assessment tools that do not discriminate on the basis of a person’s disability. It was never right to pay people a few dollars an hour for valued work.
Recently, the writer Benjamin Law, from the SBS program The Family Law, raised close to $4000 for PWDA by swimming in the Cole Classic in Sydney, in honour of his friend, and ours, Stella Young. On behalf of PWDA, I sincerely thank Benjamin for such a generous donation.
We are also continuing to fight for fair redress for people who have suffered violence and abuse at the hands of disability institutions. Late last year I welcomed the Federal Opposition’s promise to establish a National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. The Government has also committed to looking at redress in its response and I hope we will soon see this issue move from talk into action.
Membership is what makes PWDA strong and I hope you will spread the word about joining PWDA. Joining is online, easy and free.

 Craig Wallace
PWDA President
Follow Craig on Twitter via @CraigWtweets

Election results and AGM reports
Five Board members were elected to the PWDA Board at the 2015 AGM for a two year term. They are Samantha Connor, Kristy Trajcevski, Alex Jones, Suzy Keene and Justin Ray. George Taleparos was also coopted to the Board. The full membership of the PWDA Board is available on our website.

You can see a video, with captions and Auslan translation, on the PWDA website, as well as our annual report, and the Returning Officer's report.


Problems with Homecare emerge after changes in NSW 

In the last few months, People with Disability Australia (PWDA) has experienced a spike in the number of calls for in-home services. These have been mainly for domestic assistance but some have been requests for personal care and other services.
The increase in calls have come at a time when the former Home Care Service of NSW has been transferred to a non-government provider called Australian Unity. The NSW Government has now withdrawn from home care service provision.

IMAGE: Green road sign. The word Advocacy is spelt out in white capital lettersIMAGE: Green road sign. The word Advocacy
is spelt out in white capital letters

Since the Home and Community Care (HACC) Act 1985 there have been variations in the way home care services have been funded and delivered across Australia. Now the not-for-profit and for-profit sector is entirely responsible for the delivery of in-home support in NSW. This has resulted in serious problems in terms of capacity.
The home care services sector is now finding it extremely difficult to provide services to younger people with disability. HACC services were always supposed to be available to both frail aged (65 years or older) and people with disability under 65 years of age. Now the latter are missing out because service providers are at capacity and have either closed their books or put potential clients on waiting lists.
People in need of home care have often been referred directly to PWDA rather than another service provider. Some callers have been under the impression that PWDA is a home care service but as it is, all we can do is to refer the caller elsewhere.
The capacity problem is not confined to one region. Both urban and rural NSW have been experiencing shortages of services and feedback has come from community sector professionals from the Far North Coast, the Riverina and Western Sydney to name a few areas. They all say the same thing: too many clients and not enough services.
If you personally have experienced denial of in-home support PWDA wants to hear from you. Please contact PWDA by phone, through our website or social media - see the contact details at the end of this bulletin.
David Skidmore, Disability Rights Information Officer
PWDA Advocacy profiles:
Mt Isa, Valerie Brown and Denise Robertson   
Picture of the Dajarra town sign in red desert countryKarumba town sign sticking out of flood watersSign saying Welcome to Boulia with desert background
Photos of town signs from Dajarra, Karumba and Boulia - some of the areas that Valerie and Denise visit as part of their advocacy work from PWDA's Mt Isa office.

Valerie Brown and Denise Robertson are PWDA's individual advocates based in Mount Isa, but working across communities hundreds of kilometres in every direction. They support many people with disability living in remote areas and with far fewer services than exist in the cities, including in remote Aboriginal communities.
The advocates regularly go out to communities on a regular basis to maintain their connections with those communities, and to maintain trust with people who don't have a history of getting help and support. There are no computers or mobile phones in some areas, which makes the visits even more important.
Brain injury is a big issue in this region, with many people ending up in in the criminal justice system, rather than getting the disability supports they need. It's also hard to retain specialist staff, such as OTs, so people don't get basic assessments which is a huge problem for the NDIS as it rolls out.
The advocates won't turn people away, but funding issues mean they will find it harder to get to all the communities who need support. They worry about people who are going to be left out of the NDIS because they live in remote communities.

For individual advocacy support contact the Disability Rights Information Service (DRIS) between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm (AEST) Monday to Friday on (02) 9370 3100 or Toll Free on 1800 422 015 or TTY Toll Free on 1800 422 016 or email


What's happening with PWDA’s Disability Support Organisation (DSO)?
PWDA’s DSO is one of 18 DSOs nationwide.  The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), the agency running the NDIS is funding DSOs to establish community-based peer support networks.
These networks will enable people using the NDIS to meet, have a good chat, gain information about, and comment on how the transition to the NDIS is already affecting, or might in the future affect them, their families and associates.

PWDA's DSO now has five part time employed Peer Connectors busy developing and resourcing groups in communities of people with disability who -
  • Identify as LGBTIQ (Sydney metro);
  • Have dual sensory impairment (deaf-blind), or are in the blind and low vision community (Greater Sydney area);
  • Are of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (Nepean/Blue Mountains area);
  • Are living with HIV (Sydney metro, and soon to be western and south western Sydney);
  • Are boarding house residents (Hunter Region).
The trial sites of the NDIS are now well-established and the roll-out is getting nearer in time for many regions across the country – the DSO network can help you get prepared.

PJ, a member of one of PWDA's peer support group, sitting with his arms crossed and looking at the camera

PJ, a member of one of PWDA's peer support group, says they are
great because he gets the information he needs.
Some of the people involved with the Hunter group have spoken about what the DSO means to them:
P.J. says: "The group is good to learn about each other and to reflect about learning as well. It is good to get information."

R.G. says: "The group has helped and is good because we receive important information to operate our own skills. There is more interaction through participating in meetings but most important is [our peer connector] is a fellow ‘consumer’ and we are all on an even level.

We have only been meeting a little while and I have gotten three big things from the meetings. The first was that Michael [our peer connector] taught me to ask questions of my service providers. The second was being able to negotiate a shorter time for notifying the service of my not being able to go out for the day due to my mental health. I now only have to give 24 hours’ notice which is much better I got this from our second meeting.

The third big thing was that Michael went away and got information for me about how to get my statements from my service provider or the NDIS. I cannot use a computer or read very well and did not know how to get the information I wanted and Michael got the information. He put it into easier language for me and explained it and I went away and got what I wanted myself. Now I know where my NDIS money is being spent.
General feedback from the groups:

  • I can’t read so information given verbally is good for me.
  • Having the NDIS information simplified or ‘interpreted’ is helpful.
  • Having written information is no use to me so it is good to have the group to explain things and to talk with each other about things.

If you are interested in knowing more about the DSO or in getting involved in one of the above peer networks contact Ann Penhallurick at PWDA – (workdays Mondays-Wednesdays).


Regional Capacity Building with the Chinese Disabled Peoples Federation (CDPF)
On 24 February, PWDA provided training for 14 representatives of the Chinese Disabled Peoples Federation (CDPF) as part of our continued support for the China-Australia Human Rights Technical Co-operation (HRTC)   Program facilitated by the Australian Human Rights Commission.  The training was about disability and human rights from an Australian DPO perspective, and we discussed the skills that PWDA staff use as advocates across our individual advocacy, systemic advocacy, and capacity building work streams.

PWDA meeting with Chinese Disabled Peoples Organisations.
CDPF representatives came from a variety of organisations including  the China Association of the Blind, the Qinghai and Guangdong Associations of the Deaf, the Shaanxi, Liaoning, Jiangsu and Gansu Associations of Persons with Physical Disabilities, China Association of Persons with Intellectual Disability and Relatives, and the China Association of Persons with Psychiatric Disability and Relatives.



Update on the BSWAT Payment Scheme
Agreement has been reached with the Commonwealth to settle the long-standing wage case in the Federal Court on behalf of a group of supported employees assessed under the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT).

IMAGE: A sign on the road that says 'UPDATE'.
IMAGE: A sign on the road that says 'UPDATE'.
Agreement has been reached with the Commonwealth to settle the long-standing wage case in the Federal Court on behalf of a group of supported employees assessed under the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT).
Since early October 2015, the Commonwealth and employees’ legal representatives (Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, AED Legal Centre and Counsel) have participated in formal mediation to reach a settlement. The case was settled on the grounds that the Commonwealth’s BSWAT Payment Scheme will increase to 70% of lost wages (compared with a previous offer of only 50%).
PWDA welcomes the Commonwealth’s offer and think this is a great outcome for all supported employees eligible for a payment under the BSWAT Payment Scheme.  See our joint media release with AED Legal Centre, Christmas win for employees with disability

While workers will only get 70% of their back pay, this is better than the 50% the Government was previously offering, and it will be tax free. This money will also not affect Centrelink payments of concessions.
It is also important to know that the BSWAT Payment Scheme will have no negative impact on their jobs or on Australia Disability Enterprises (ADEs) as the Commonwealth Government will be providing the funds for the back pay.
PWDA encourages all eligible employees to register under the BSWAT Payment Scheme.

Employees can register for the BSWAT Payment Scheme by:

Visiting the website at
Phoning the BSWAT Hotline on 1800 880 052

If you are not clear or you are unsure about anything please call AED Legal Centre on (03) 9650 2533 and leave a message or email

For further information on PWDA’s advocacy on employment issues, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Project Manager, on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

BSWAT background
In December 2012, the Full Federal Court ruled that the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) used to set wages for employees with intellectual disability in ADEs was unlawful under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). In May 2013, the High Court of Australia agreed that BSWAT disadvantaged employees with intellectual disability.
Since then, the legal case for fair wages has continued - full background to the case here:

For further information on PWDA’s advocacy on employment issues, contact Samantha French, Advocacy Project Manager, on one of the numbers listed at the end of this E-Bulletin or email

Follow Sam on Twitter @SamPWDA


PWDA Royal Commission Disability Support Project

PWDA is continuing to travel across Australia to provide information about the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to people with disability and their supporters. 

IMAGE: Logo for the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

IMAGE: Logo for The Royal Commission
into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

Abuse survivors with disability urgently need national redress scheme
The recent announcement that the Federal Government would not fund compensation for survivors  of childhood sexual abuse was extremely disappointing.

The Royal Commission last year recommended a national redress scheme to make available counselling, support and a monetary payment to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, a recommendation PWDA supported.

The Federal Government says it will coordinate a nationally consistent approach, and appears resistant to a national redress scheme which leaves much uncertainty for survivors, as some states have already begun their own redress schemes. The process of the development of the approach remains unclear, especially as to the inclusion of survivor advocacy groups.  In addition, the Royal Commission recognised in its report, coordinating eight separate schemes is likely to be complex.

The Federal Government also failed to comment on the Royal Commission’s recommendation that whatever scheme is selected, it should be established and ready to receive applications by 1 July 2017. We fear that without a strong commitment now, survivors will inevitably face delays, many living lives of destitution in the meantime. Some survivors were abused in several states and jurisdictions. Without a national scheme, they could potentially have to apply multiple times in multiple regions.

PWDA strongly believe that a national redress scheme is the best way to ensure justice for people with disability abused as children. The lack of access to justice and the particular factors that impact people with disability means that they may miss out altogether on any kind of compensation for the awful abuse that happened to them. They also often struggle to access the services that all survivors need to deal with what happened to them. A national redress scheme would help level the playing field for people with disability and ensure justice for all survivors.

Release of Royal Commission research report

On 3 February, the ‘Feeling Safe, Being Safe’ report was released by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The report was commissioned by the Royal Commission, undertaken by Dr Sally Robinson of the Centre for Children and Young People at Southern Cross University. People with Disability Australia are pleased to have been partners in this research.

The research specifically sought the views of those children usually excluded from research due to their support needs, exploring what is important to them about safety in institutional settings. It found that children’s support needs often meant they had to be open to a variety of people in their lives. As the report says, ‘Children and young people also pointed out in a number of ways that it can be very hard to know what is safe or unsafe, especially for children and young people with higher support needs… They were vulnerable due to the multiple ways in which institutional practices acted to isolate them from local communities and long-term support relationships.’

The report has been very positively received, and we encourage anyone interested in the topic to have a read:

Announcement of Criminal Justice hearing

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recently announced a public hearing to be held in Sydney from Tuesday 15 March, on the topic of Criminal Justice Issues.

These issues include consideration of: “How the requirements of the criminal justice system, including in relation to oral evidence and cross examination, affect the investigation and prosecution of allegations of child sexual abuse in an institutional context, particularly where the complainant is a young child or a person with disability.”

As discussed at PWDA’s Parliamentary Forum last year, people with disability confront substantial barriers when seeking to report child sexual abuse. PWDA will be in attendance at the public hearing, which is open to any members of the community.

Planning focus groups across NSW, Vic, ACT, Qld

PWDA is currently planning focus groups associated with our research project, ‘What makes institutions safe for children with disability?’ in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. This project is designed to draw on the expertise that adults with disability have about institutional settings, especially those they experienced as children.

Further information about the sessions is available from Meredith Lea, Project Support Officer Violence Prevention on and updates about locations etc will be made via the Disability Support for the Royal Commission website.

  • Sydney: Tuesday 22 March, 2016 at PWDA’s Redfern offices
  • Melbourne: Friday 27 May, 2016 at YACVic/YDAS’s Central Melbourne offices
  • Canberra: (location and date TBC)
  • Brisbane: Friday 17 June, 2016 (location and date TBC)

Submission to NSW Family and Domestic Violence Blueprint

The NSW Government’s consultation regarding the development of a Family and Domestic Violence Blueprint for NSW recently closed. PWDA’s submission argued that domestic and family violence experienced by people with disability is frequently not recognised as such. The legislative definition of domestic and family violence in NSW includes violence experienced by people with disability in residential and institutional settings, but this is not reflected in how police and disability and domestic and family violence service providers do their work. PWDA recommended that NSW ensure that police and domestic and family violence services understand the breadth of what constitutes domestic and family violence against people with disability.

PWDA also encouraged the NSW Government to revise some of the key policy changes in the area of domestic and family violence that have occurred as part of the It Stops Here reforms. This includes the reduction in funding specifically for domestic violence shelters and refuges, Safer Pathway, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme and the Domestic Violence Safety Assessment Tool.

We argued that these reforms currently excluded people with disability from the protections extended to the rest of the community, and recommended they be amended to ensure that they took full account of where and how people with disability experience violence.
PWDA hopes that the NSW Government’s Blueprint, to be released later this year, displays a commitment to ending domestic and family violence against people with disability.

For further information on this submission, please contact Dr Jess Cadwallader, Advocacy Projects Manager, Violence Prevention on

Submission to Legislative Council Inquiry into Elder Abuse

PWDA recently made a submission to the Legislative Council Inquiry into Elder Abuse.
In our submission, we identified the ways in which older people with disability experience violence, and the barriers they often face in reporting or escaping violent situations. PWDA urged the Inquiry to recognise and respond to violence experienced by older people with disability, and to address the ways in which this cohort is made more vulnerable to violence.

In our submission, PWDA made a number of recommendations regarding how violence in these residential and institutional settings should be addressed and ultimately reduced. In particular, PWDA argued that the rights of older people with disability to be free from violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, torture and ill-treatment are often violated. Additionally, the rights to equal recognition before the law, to access justice and to live independently and be included in the community are often violated in these settings.

PWDA also urged the NSW Government to support the call for a national Royal Commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in all settings.

The General Purpose Standing Committee will be holding public hearings in February and March.
For further information on this topic, please contact Meredith Lea, Project Support Officer, Violence Prevention on

PWDA is busy getting ready for the next state of NDIS roll out in July this year. Both the Federal and State governments are seeking recommendations on how the NDIS could be best implemented.
PWDA has identified a major gap of a coherent and coordinated framework of action between NDIA and State/Territory Housing Authorities.
Wheelchair symbol inside a house
IMAGE: Wheelchair symbol in a house.

PWDA now has a policy focus specifically looking at housing with Aida Morden joining the team. She is working on several submissions and has identified that NDIS participants and their carers need to discuss housing choices and decisions before talking to the NDIS planner and making their plan.
Stories about housing have been sought from PWDA members and constituents via social media, and will help develop our submissions to the following inquiries:
  • Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme;
  • Council on Federal Financial Relations Affordable Housing Working Group; and
  • Response to the Specialist Disability Accommodation Pricing and Payments Framework.

PWDA sponsored and participated in the symposium Housing for People with Disability: A place to call home in Brisbane recently, conductedby Griffith University. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) presented their research on housing for people with disability. PWDA was co-author of this research..

For more information regarding the above, contact Aida Morden by email


International News
7 Issues That Matter To Disabled Voters In 2016
9 February
Bustle, s.e.smith
With all eyes on Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, the candidates are facing growing demands from all sides to fully articulate their platforms, so that voters can start making some tough decisions. However, one group of voters hasn't been well-represented in discussions about the upcoming presidential race.

Disability Rights Ohio, National Federation of the Blind, and Autistic Self Advocacy Network Celebrate Landmark Decision Ordering Fair Pay from Sheltered Workshop
3 February
PR Newswire
In a precedent-setting opinion issued by an administrative law judge from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), three clients have been awarded minimum wage going forward and back pay from Seneca Re-Ad, a sheltered workshop run by the Seneca County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

Study Reveals Significant Overlap Between Police Brutality Deaths And Disabilities
9 March
Think Progress, Alex Zielinski
Researchers have uncovered a commonly missing factor in police brutality stories: A victim’s disability. According to an in-depth study published this week by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a disabled advocacy group, up to half of all people killed by law enforcement are living with a disability.

National News

New Zealand parents left 'broken' after Australian-born child denied NDIS access
6 February
ABC AM, Natasha Robinson
Severely disabled children born in Australia are being denied access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) because their parents are New Zealand citizens.

Tim Wilson should be replaced by a disability commissioner: advocates
15 February
Sydney Morning Herald, Judith Ireland
Disability advocates are calling on the Turnbull government to use the vacancy created by Tim Wilson at the Human Rights Commission to appoint a full-time disability commissioner.

Australian Capital Territory News
Disabled lost in benefits limbo amid Centrelink pension crack down
15 February
Canberra Times, Noel Towell
Disabled Australians could be forced to wait up to a year for their disability support claims as the government's crackdown on the pension clogs the system with thousands of medical examinations.

Disability advocates seek seamless pathways for getting around Canberra
17 February
666 ABC Canberra, Kim Lester and Genevieve Jacobs
Wheelchair accessible buses, taxis and car parks are vital for people with mobility issues, but disability advocates say getting to and from these services can be inadequate and even dangerous.

New South Wales News
 NDIS will pay for itself: new analysis forecasts huge jobs growth
15 February
Sydney Morning Herald, Rachel Browne
Fears of a funding shortfall in the National Disability Insurance Scheme are unfounded according to the findings of an economic report which shows that the program will spark a multi-billion dollar jobs boom in NSW.

Autism experts at odds with NDIS plan
25 February
Sydney Morning Herald, Rachel Browne
A panel of autism experts commissioned to advise the National Disability Insurance Agency on the condition has recommended children with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis receive at least 20 hours a week of early intervention, delivered either one-to-one or in a small group.
Mother and child with disability asked to leave Matilda at the Sydney Lyric Theatre
1 March
Sydney Morning Herald, Kate Aubusson
The mother of a teenager with developmental disabilities says she was subjected to discrimination at a Sydney theatre when they were asked to leave 10 minutes into a performance.


Northern Territory News
Disabled boy locked in bus on hot day in Katherine
23 February
NT News, Christopher Walsh

A  disabled  student  was locked on a bus in Katherine last Thursday afternoon in sweltering heat after the school bus driver failed to spot him at the end of his shift.

Queensland News
 No bail for Rebecca Kymberley Ison on charges of endangering property by fire
25 February
The Courier-Mail, Kate McKenna
A TEENAGER who allegedly used a cigarette lighter to set fire to clothing at Kmart – two days after being punished over other offences – has lost a bid for bail after a magistrate said she was a “very high risk” of re-offending.
Queensland set to slow NDIS rollout as funding falls short
3 March
The Australian, Rick Morton
The Queensland government will have to slow down the rollout of the National Disability ­Insurance Scheme because it does not have the money to bring in the reform at the speed it wants to and the federal government will not relinquish funds raised by a hike in the Medicare levy.


South Australia News
The 10 worst spots for disability access in Adelaide
11 February
The Advertiser, Anthony Templeton
A physical disadvantage adds an unenviable degree of difficulty to everyday life. Impediments seem to appear at every turn, especially in the city. From dangerous, uneven surfaces, to inaccessible buildings, communication systems out of reach and transport difficulties, Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent takes Anthony Templeton on a tour of the 10 least accessible spots in the city and North Adelaide – and what they found may surprise you.

Tasmania News

Students with disabilities sail the Derwent River
18 February
ABC PM, Felicity Ogilvie
In Tasmania, primary and high school kids with intellectual and physical disabilities are getting the chance to go sailing, courtesy of the Sydney based charity Sailors with Disabilities.

Victoria News
 Yarra Trams driver refused to deploy wheelchair ramp, man with MS says
11 February
ABC 774 Melbourne
A Melbourne man with MS who uses a mobility scooter says a tram driver repeatedly refused to deploy a ramp to help him board so he could get to hospital for treatment, and he had to be lifted on by passengers.

State Disability Minister Martin Foley demands Federal Government lifts its game on NDIS
10 February
Geelong Advertiser, Mandy Squires
STATE Disability Minister Martin Foley has put the Federal Government on notice over delivery of the NDIS.
National Disability Insurance Scheme stoush triggers alarm
8 March
The Age, Miki Perkins
What does a man in his forties hope for in life? A decent job and some money in the bank perhaps. For some, a family. For others, travel and a rich social life. 

Western Australia News

Wendy Martin’s Perth festival: home, disability, empathy, dance
11 February
The Australian, Victoria Laurie
A giant’s shadow looms over Wendy Martin as she prepares to open her first Perth International Arts Festival today.
WA rejects disability takeover
8 March
The West Australian, Andrew Probyn and Phoebe Wearne
WA is refusing to cede control of its disability services to the Federal Government, putting Colin Barnett at loggerheads with his former heir apparent Christian Porter.

New Resources
National Disability Conference Initiative
An allocation of funds is provided each year to support national and international disability conferences held within Australia.

About PWDA
People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy organisation. Our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations committed to the disability rights movement.

PWDA was founded in 1981, the International Year of Disabled People, to provide people with disability with a voice of our own. We have a cross-disability focus and represent the interests of people with all kinds of disability.

As a non-profit, non-government organisation we depend on public donations, bequests and fundraising activities to maintain our commitment to improving the lives of people with disability. As a deductible gift recipient, all donations of $2 or more are fully tax deductible. Your tax deductible donations support the work of PWDA. If you are able to support us, please visit
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People with Disability Australia Incorporated
PO Box 666 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
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