Page 819 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 6 April 2022

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People with disability know what needs to change, and we must listen and act so that more Canberrans can live with pride, support and dignity. Importantly, this process has been co-designed by the ACT Disability Reference Group to ensure that the consultation process has many accessible and varied opportunities for people to get involved and have their voices heard.

This includes public forums, listening surveys and kitchen table conversations so that people that you know and trust can get together to chat about what is important and share ideas. The Disability Reference Group will also have a critical role to hold the ACT government accountable in the implementation of the strategy, once it is developed, ensuring that people with disability, their families, carers and the sector have an oversight role.

The disability strategy will strengthen and support a range of other ACT government strategies and plans in progress or under development which aim to improve outcomes for people with disability, including the ACT disability justice strategy, the ACT disability health strategy, the inclusion in education strategy, ACT disability employment strategy and Canberra Health Services Disability Action and Inclusion Plan.

The ACT government is committed to co-designing the strategy with people with disability, the disability sector and the broader community. The consultation process officially launched on 31 March and will centre the voices of people with disability to deliver outcomes which benefit our whole community, not just those with disability.

By enabling and empowering people with disability to lead policy development, we can make sure that the ACT disability strategy is grounded in a wider range of information, ideas and perspectives, ensuring that the strategy best reflects local needs, strengthens people with disabilities’ ownership and support for the work and ensures that people with disability can reinforce their rights at each step of the way.

Through the consultation period we will be using the disability and broader community’s views to shape key priorities of the new ACT disability strategy. This includes creating a blueprint as to how we create an inclusive future, strengthening and consolidating the ACT’s commitment to Australia’s disability strategy, supporting the priorities of the national strategy whilst incorporating a local viewpoint which supports Canberrans with disability, and building on the achievements of previous and current ACT disability commitments.

This is an opportunity for genuine co-design. Canberrans with disability, their families, carers and the sector have been adaptive, flexible and creative to solve problems raised from climate change and natural disasters to the ongoing pandemic and economic disruption. We can all learn from people with disability, who have so often had to change the way they do things to fit in to our community.

Now is the time for us all to become more inclusive and accessible, to support people with disability, to remove the barriers they face and to create a Canberra where we can all live with pride, dignity and respect. I encourage all Canberrans to participate.

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