Page 3761 - Week 11 - Thursday, 24 November 2022

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Health and Community Wellbeing—Standing Committee—Report 3—Appropriation Bill 2021-2022 and Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill 2021-2022—Update on recommendation 11—Development of a Disability Health Strategy—Ministerial statement, 24 November 2022.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (10.27): As Minister for Disability, I would like to make a few remarks in support of the Minister for Health’s ministerial statement on the disability health strategy. As members of this Assembly are aware, the ACT is currently in the process of developing an ACT disability strategy. In addition to the ACT disability strategy, having a specific disability health strategy led by the Minister for Health demonstrates the ACT government’s commitment and priorities in supporting the disability community.

As the Minister for Health has already said, the disability health strategy aims to ensure better health and wellbeing outcomes for people with disability. I know this is something that has come through as a theme in many of the ACT disability strategy consultations. That reflects how important accessible health care is for people with disability. Health policy has traditionally viewed disability through a medical model rather than a social model. The social model of disability says that people with disability experience barriers in society, whether they be physical barriers—such as buildings not having a ramp or accessible toilets—or societal attitudes, such as assumptions about what a person can or cannot do.

This is in contrast with the medical model of disability, which takes an approach to seeing people with a disability that says people with disability are disabled by their impairments or differences. The medical model sees disability as a barrier that is inherent to the person, in contrast to the social model, which sees disability as being created by societal barriers. The disability health strategy provides an opportunity to challenge and renew the way that we understand disability and to shift to a social model of disability. I look forward to seeing how this strategy continues to be developed.

I want to thank the Disability Health Strategy Reference Group, the Health Directorate, and the Minister for Health, for driving the development of the disability health strategy in consultation with the community. The disability health strategy is of critical importance to our community, given that we know that COVID continues to impact those most at risk in the community. For people with disability, it takes an enormous amount of energy to have these kinds of challenging conversations at a time when they continue to experience existential threats from COVID, and when it often feels as if the community around them has forgotten the impact of our actions on their lives.

But it is the courage and the creativity of leaders in our disability community, and of the public service, that enables the conversation to continue. I want to acknowledge

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