Welcome to 2019!
Here is a snapshot of Q A I’s recent work as we begin the new year:
• The Human Rights Act campaign: QAI has been involved in the campaign for a Human Rights Act in Queensland since the inception of the Rights4Qld Alliance. We have auspiced the campaign to give it formal legal status and have engaged in continuous lobbying over the past four years. We were thrilled by the tabling of the Human Rights Bill 2018 in Parliament on 31 October 2018 and made a supportive submission and appeared at the Public Hearing into the Bill on 4 December 2018.
• Work ensuring the new fleet of trains commissioned by Queensland Rail meet the accessibility standards for people with disabilities: The Forde Inquiry report into the commissioning of the NGR trains determined that the primary fault was poor communication between middle managers in Queensland Rail and Transport. The state government responded by restating its commitment to refurbishment of the trains to make them more (but night strictly) compliant with the DSAPT. QAI wrote numerous letters to Minister Bailey, supported two discrimination complainants, and an RTI application to pressure the government to refurbish. In the long term, we want legislated accessible procurement.
• Providing input into the national review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport: The DSAPT is under review, and this is a chance for people to have their say about the many changes that need to be made. One example: the need to ensure that government at every level consults with people with disability about access issues that may arise with every major infrastructure (or minor) project.
• We convened a two day Combined Advocacy Groups of Qld (CAGQ) forum in late November: this brought together key disability advocates from throughout Queensland who convene bi-monthly teleconferences in a two-day, face-to-face workshop.
• The Disability Violence Project: We have been following up from the Violence Forum, uploading the educational videos to our FaceBook page and YouTube channel and making pamphlets available through relevant outlets. There has been a great response from individuals and professionals to these resources. Copies of the pamphlets can be obtained by contacting QAI and the education videos are available here: https://qai.org.au/systems-advocacy/national-disability-strategy/violence-against-pwd-in-their-homes/.
• Successful advocacy for the retention of the Disability Support Pension by people in prison: QAI was very gratified that the long campaign to reverse the proposal by the Federal Government to suspend the Disability Support Pension for People in prison was successful, with the result that the DSP is now retained for a period of two years whilst in prison, rather than being reduced to 13 weeks.
• Work on the second stage of the inquiry into implementation of OPCAT: The Federal Government ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture in December 2017 and is now one year through the three year timeframe permitted for implementation of this treaty. QAI has been heavily involved in work in preparation for implementation, with a particular focus on ensuring OPCAT is disability aware and responsive.
• Implementing a pilot program providing decision-making support for people with disabilities to access NDIS funding: The federal government has funded a nine-month national pilot for the provision of advocacy and decision-making support for people interacting with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) who have limited decision making capacity and no alternative decision-making support. The pilot recognises that there is a cohort of people with disability who have not transitioned to the NDIS from existing state or territory services or who have done so but do not have people in their lives who can help them engage with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and assist them to develop and implement an individual plan.
• Providing input into the post-NDIS reshaping of the Disability Services Act (Qld): QAI advocated for the statutory appointment of a Disability Commissioner who can promote disability issues and advocate for disability awareness in state government service delivery, whether it be in health, housing, tourism, the built environment and so on.
• Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability Conference 2018: Nick Collyer presented about human rights and the need to remove discriminatory provisions from the Queensland Criminal Code that prohibit sexual expression by a wide range of people with disabilities; Emma Phillips presented on the topic of ‘Free and Equal in Dignity and rights’… Not if you have an intellectual disability: A grassroots campaign for a Human Rights Act in Queensland.
• Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law Congress 2018: Niamh Fields presented “Is this to be their fate for the indefinite future? Judicial interest in systemic issues in Queensland”; Jo Sampford presented “Lost and found in translation: Cross-disciplinary conversations between lawyers and doctors”. Find their presentations here.