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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1430 ..

Where systemic and structural ableism peddle shame, deficit and stigma, disability pride offers the antidote. The Youth Disability Advocacy Service in Victoria recently produced a video on disability pride where Veronica, a young activist, shared the following:

Our disabilities are what make us unique. And as a community being able to share this uniqueness, will help society grow.

I share this quote because it illustrates how much disability pride benefits society as a whole.

We have disability rights activists to thank for turning the entire concept of disability on its head, through the social model of disability. Disability is not a burden, a problem or a deficit; it is the result of unsuitable and inaccessible environments and unequal power structures. Disability pride complements this reframing, underlining the truth that disability is a fundamental and necessary facet of human diversity. It spotlights the vitality, the validity and the value of diversity.

My colleague Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John has reflected on disability pride as both a gift and a fuel for activism. He says:

And as the disability movement goes forward, one of the things we’ve got to gift to the next generation, and to keep alight firmly in ourselves, is that sense of pride and celebration of ourselves as disabled people … Disabled people are coming into our power as a community. And part of coming into your power is coming into a radical self-love, from which you can spark joy and hope.

What he has said highlights why disability pride is that important next step that we need to take as a community. It looks at the whole person and it is founded on love and hope. Disability pride’s time has come—as a movement, a discourse and a lens through which to deliver policies and programs.

As Minister for Disability, I will work for improvements to the NDIS for it to fully meet its potential to provide adequate funding for individuals, including funding for respite services and individual and systemic advocacy services. I will advocate for people with disability to have access to secure, affordable housing options that meet their needs. I will advocate for support for people with disabilities over the age of 65 who require assistance outside the NDIS to access the community. I will advocate for the elimination of barriers in education, training, employment, transport and services.

The ACT government is committed to strategies, programs and policies which meet the needs of the ACT community. In a world where we are more connected than ever, there is an entire community who know what services and policies are required for people with disability and their full participation in society, and that is people with disabilities. They are telling us what they need, if only we will listen. I commit to listening, understanding and taking action for an inclusive Canberra for people with disabilities.

I present the following paper:

Disability Policy—Ministerial statement, May 2021.

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