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PWDA Alert
  Tuesday 8 October 2013
Dear ,
On 3 and 4 September, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) reviewed Australia for its compliance with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Geneva.
An Australian Civil Society Parallel Report Delegation (the delegation) made up of representatives from Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs), disability advocacy organisations, legal and human rights organisations attended the review to ensure that the views of people with disability were provided to the CRPD Committee.  These views are contained in the CRPD Parallel Report, Disability Rights Now
Members of the Australian delegation sit working around a table
Australian Civil Society Parallel Report Delegation
The CRPD Committee has now released its Concluding Observations for Australia.  The Concluding Observations outline positive reforms that Australia has implemented to progress the rights of people with disability, as well as recommend areas where concerted action needs to be made.
The delegation is very pleased that nearly all the issues that it raised with the CRPD Committee are addressed by the Concluding Observations.  The Concluding Observations congratulate Australia for the positive reforms that have been implemented:
  • The National Disability Strategy;
  • The National Disability Insurance Scheme;
  • International cooperation programs that support disability inclusive development; and
  • The Australian Law Reform Commission Inquiry into equal recognition before the law for people with disability, as well as pilot supported-decision making initiatives.
However, the Concluding Observations outline principal areas of concern and corresponding recommendations, including:
  • Legislative reform that incorporates all rights under the CRPD into domestic law;
  • Review of interpretative declarations on articles 12, 17 and 18 with a view to withdrawing them;
  • Establishment of engagement mechanisms for people with disability, through their representative organisations to participate in the development and implementation of legislation and policies;
  • Adequate resourcing for DPOs;
  • Strengthen anti-discrimination laws;
  • Inclusion of women with disability in public programs and policies on the prevention of gender-based violence;
  • Increased effort to promote and protect the rights of children with disability, including measures to enable them to express their views;
  • Immediate measures to replace substitute decision-making with supported decision-making, which respects the person’s autonomy, will and preferences;
  • Training for the justice system to ensure access to justice;
  • End the use of prisons for the management of unconvicted persons with disability, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons with disability;
  • Repeal of legislation that authorises medical interventions without the free and informed consent of the person concerned;
  • Immediate steps to end restrictive practices in environments such as schools, mental health facilities and hospitals; and establish an independent national preventative mechanism;
  • Investigate violence, exploitation and abuse experienced by women and girls with disability in institutional settings;
  • Adopt national, uniform legislation prohibiting the use of sterilisation of boys and girls with disability, and of adults with disability in the absence of their prior, fully informed and free consent;
  • Develop and implement a national framework for the closure of residential institutions and allocate the resources necessary for persons with disability to live in the community;
  • Recognition of Auslan as one of the national languages of Australia;
  • Increased effort, research and policies in the area of inclusive education;
  • Immediate end to the use of the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT);
  • Nationally consistent measures for disaggregated data collection by age, gender, type of disability, place of residence and cultural background; and
  • Comprehensive assessment of the situation of women with disability and of the situation of children with disability.
PWDA's Co-CEO Therese Sands said, "It's evident that the voice of people with disability in Australia has been heard. I think we're just very pleased that the lived experience at that grass roots level was taken to a global level in the UN, that the UN listened and then they provided these comments back to the Australian Government to benefit the people with disability who are affected every day by these issues."
The Concluding Observations can now be used in advocacy efforts by people with disability, their representative and advocacy organisations. They should also be used by governments throughout Australia to review, plan and implement further actions for progressing the rights of people with disability in Australia.
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People with Disability Australia (PWDA) (02) 9370 3100 1800 422 015