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Greens announce plan to end disability discrimination and build a more inclusive Australia

Australian Greens  Senator Jordon Steele-John has announced plans to dramatically improve the lives of the more that 4 million Australians living with disability, and ensure equal access to education, employment, public infrastructure and services for everyone.

Senator Steele-John said that outisde of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which will only about 450,000 of the more than 4 million disabled people, there was little strong public policy addressing the very real and constant challenges faced by the disabled community every single day.

"It's 2019 and disabled people - my community - are still significantly less likely to recieve the same standard of education, are less likely to be employed, less likely to own their own home and less likely to be financially independent, yet are more likely to be abused or exploited, more likely to die young and more likely be lonely, depressed or face mobility issues within their own community," he said.

"Never before has a political party been willing to address these challenges as a comprehensive package, and I am proud to be able to put this policy forward.

"Firstly, we will ensure that the NDIS is fully funded, properly staffed and accountable to the people it supports not the bureaucrats managing its rollout.

"This means an end to arbitrary staffing caps, a fit-for-purpose IT system that is accessible for participants and providers alike, and a guarantee that no individual will miss out on the services and supports they need to be able to live a good life.

"To make our communities more inclusive we'll invest $400 million to boost accessible public transport nationally, and establish a $1 billion Accessible Infrastructure Fund and a $5 million Accessible Nature Fund to improve the accessibility of existing public spaces, including access to tourism activities and places of natural significance for disabled people.

"To address the chronic shortage of public housing and the disproportionate impact this has on disabled people we'll build 500,000 fully accessible public and community homes under the Federal Housing Trust.

"And to enable these new services to be accessed by all, we'll invest $58 million over the next four years to advance captioning, audio description, relay and translation, and Auslan interpretive services as well as a further $3.5 million to establish a National Disability Telecommunitcations Service.

"Inadequate funding for disability in schools is leading to segregation and isolation for disabled students, further perpetuating the unemployment and poverty faced by so many later in life.

"We will support schools to develop inclusive education practices in line with existing human rights commitments, develop a new national standard of inclusive education training in line with world's best practice and give all current and future teachers the opportunity to train, retrain and be regularly upskilled in inclusive education practices, by providing a pool of $100m per year to universities.

"We also want to see the Australian Public Service leading the way by raising the level of full-time employment representation for disabled employees to 15 per cent by 2030, up from its current level of just over 3 per cent today, at a total cost of $9.7 million to account for necessary workplace adjustments and supports.

"Finally, to end the violence, abuse and neglect of disabled people in institutional and residential settings there must immediately be a Royal Commission held to expose the perpetrators, rectify chronic and systemic failures and give justice to survivors.

"It's time to think about disability differently. It's time to build our places and spaces differently, change attitudes and recognise that we are all different and unique. Together, we can build a more inclusive and accessible future for all of us."


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