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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4029 ..

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

International Day of People with Disability

Ministerial statement

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (10.30): I thank members for the opportunity to present a ministerial statement on the eve of International Day of People with Disability.

Each year International Day of People with Disability, or I-Day, is celebrated on 3 December. The annual observance of I-Day was proclaimed in 1992 by a United Nations General Assembly resolution. I-Day promotes awareness and understanding of disability issues and encourages support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of people with disability. I-Day also seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of inclusion of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life, and celebrates the contributions people with disability make to the diversity and richness of our community.

Each year the UN announces a theme to observe for I-Day. The annual theme provides an overarching focus on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disability. The theme for I-Day 2021 is “Leadership and participation of people with disability towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world”.

There is no doubt that this past year has been incredibly difficult and a challenging time for the whole community, especially people with disability, who may be at greater risk of negative health outcomes from COVID-19. However, this time of adversity has also seen us make great progress in listening better to people about what they need and becoming more responsive.

For all of the challenges that the health emergency has presented, it has also required businesses, workplaces and friendship circles to embrace communication in a more disability-inclusive way. For many people with disability, pre-COVID ways of meeting and working were inaccessible. Our built infrastructure, rigid work hours and ways of travelling are not always accessible to people with disability.

Reflecting on this, it is essential that, post-COVID, we not only retain but build upon these more flexible and accessible ways of living. We have the opportunity to create a more inclusive post-COVID world, where the reasonable adjustments and accommodations made by employers, businesses and services are accepted as not only mainstream practice but also the norm.

Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 health emergency many people without disability experienced exclusion and isolation. For people with disability, this is not

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