Open Letter: Now is the time to act on pandemic measures for people with disability

Submitted by convenor on Fri, 3/4/2020 - 15:19

Media Release

People with disability, and their organisations, across Australia are calling for urgent action, again, to keep us safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 70 national, state and territory disability organisations have come together to urge the National Cabinet to take the urgent action we need to keep people with disability free of the COVID-19 virus.

Today, we are releasing our letter to the National Cabinet, with the ten vital points for action. We are hearing more and more each day from people with disability who are being directly impacted by the virus, and the measures taken to deal with it.

Australians with disability represent some of the most excluded of all Australians in relation to the impacts of coronavirus. Our needs remain largely and are rarely if ever, mentioned in any press conference, media release or government conversation about coronavirus.

At the same time, many people with disability are particularly at risk from COVID-19, because of barriers that exist to our inclusion, and our need for ongoing support.

We are deeply concerned by the lack of specific and targeted measures from all levels of Australian Governments to proactively protect and support people with disability, their families, carers and support persons from the impact of COVID19.

We believe that each of the following list needs to be urgently addressed now, to safeguard the lives of people with disability.

Guarantee continuity of supports for all people with disability.
Expand criteria for COVID19 testing to include people with disability and their support persons.
Urgently improve information and communications to be inclusive of all people with disability.
Take measures to remove the barriers to adequate healthcare for people with disability.
Include recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) in the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight.
Urgently define what constitutes an ‘essential service’ for people with disability.
Ensure effective measures are in place to recognise and respond to violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of people with disability.
Prevent discrimination of students with disability in the provision of education.
Ensure the human rights of people with disability in congregate settings are upheld.
Adequately resource Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) and Disability Representative Organisations (DROs) to enable support of, and advocacy for, people with disability.

Read the full open letter here.

Organisations endorsing the open letter:

First Peoples Disability Network
Women with Disabilities Australia
People with Disability Australia
National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Children and Young People with Disability Australia
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
Disability Advocacy Network Australia
Deaf Australia
Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia
Deafblind Australia
Deafness Forum of Australia
Brain Injury Australia
Inclusion Australia
Blind Citizens Australia
Down Syndrome Australia
Physical Disability Australia
Every Australian Counts
Disability Resources Centre Advocacy
Ideas
Disability Justice Australia
Enhanced Lifestyles
National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum
Imagine More
Advocacy Western Australia
Midland Information Debt and Legal Advocacy Service
Melbourne East Disability Advocacy
Queensland Advocacy Incorporated
Family Advocacy
Grampians Disability Advocacy
Syndromes Without A Name
Advocacy Tasmania
Southwest Advocacy Association
Victorian Rural Advocacy Network
Assert 4 All
Colac Otway Region Advocacy Service
Disability Information and Advocacy Service
Gipplsland Disability Advocacy
Community Resource Unit
AED Legal Centre
ANTaR
Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health
People with Disabilities Western Australia
Association for Children with Disability Tasmania
Association for Children with a Disability Victoria
All Means All
Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education
Southern Disability Advocacy
Rights Information and Advocacy Centre
Regional Disability Advocacy Service
Youth Disability Advocacy Service
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services
Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
Barwon Disability Resource Council
North East Citizen Advocacy
Julia Farr Youth
Leadership Plus
VALID
Women with Disabilities Victoria
Citizens Advocacy Perth West
Speakout Advocacy
Developmental Disability WA
Women with Disabilities ACT
Council for Intellectual Disability
Citizen Advocacy Sunbury
South Australian Council on Intellectual Disability
Parent to Parent Queensland
People with Disabilities ACT
Aspergers Victoria
Disability Advocacy and Complaints Service of South Australia
Disability Advocacy Victoria

More information:

El Gibbs
Director, Media and Communications, People with Disability Australia
0408 682 867

media@pwd.org.au

To view the full open letter (PDF)
To view the full open letter (Word)
To view the full open letter (Plain English)
To view the full open letter (Easy Read)

The open letter is available as Auslan here.