4 December 2018
The ACT Disability Reference Group (DRG) met on 4 December 2018. Mr Dougie Herd, Community Co-Chair, chaired the meeting.
The group was updated on the Disability Justice Strategy. Consultations for the Strategy have now finished and a Listening Report has been published on the Your Say website The team are now synthesizing all the information into a final report which will include a plain language version of the executive summary and a recording of someone talking about the report, so that it is fully accessible.
The group was also updated about a forum run by the Office for Disability on 16 November. The forum was based around information on housing options for people with disability, bringing together guest speakers from ACT Government, Specialist Disability Accommodation providers, private building companies, community organisations and people with disability and their families and friends.
Sessions included information about Specialist Disability Accommodation funding, government policy levers and the role of developers, investors, financiers and lawyers; the wide range of models, services and approaches, both local and interstate, that are working well; and a world café style discussion, with participants stepping themselves through the “housing pathways” that were relevant for them.
The forum was well received by all who participated and families have already asked for another one in six months’ time. Information presented at the forum and each of the sessions which were filmed will soon be available on the ACT Office for Disability website
Following on from this, the National Disability Services is hosting a conversation with various accommodation providers on Wed 5 December.
2 October 2018
The ACT Disability Reference Group (DRG) met on 2 October 2018.
Mr Dougie Herd chaired the meeting. Ms Bernadette Mitcherson, Director-General of the Community Services Directorate, attended as Co-Chair.
The group was updated on the ongoing development of an ACT Disability Justice Strategy and the recent public consultation.
Ms Louise-Cooper Finch/ The ACT Service Delivery Manager from the NDIA joined the group to provide updates on issues that had been discussed at the DRG Meeting in June.
Discussions covered the School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) and some changes that have been implemented to improve participant experiences and outcomes. Members shared some of their concerns and issues.
The group also welcomed guest speaker Ms Mandy Donley, ACT Senior Practitioner to give a presentation on the new Senior Practitioner legislation and the framework it establishes for reducing and eliminating the use of restrictive practices, which will bring greater consistency of practice to how the use of restrictive practices is regulated, documented and minimised in the ACT.
For more information: https://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/quality-complaints-and-regulation/office-of-the-senior-practitioner
7 August 2018
The ACT Disability Reference Group (DRG) met on 7 August 2018.
Dr Mark Collis, Deputy Director-General chaired the meeting. It was noted as being the first meeting for Mr Rey Reodica (replacing Mr Steve Fox), representing National Disability Services ACT.
The meeting had a health theme with presentations on two disability and health projects, which have been funded by the Office for Disability. The first guest speaker for the meeting was Mr Craig Wallace (ACT Council of Social Service) who presented on the preliminary findings of the ‘Imagining Better for Disability and Health’ project commenced last year. The group spoke about the barriers identified through the project and the importance of better outcomes for people with disability
Ms Debbie Stanford (Human Capital Alliance) discussed an outline of the project they are undertaking to produce a resource package that is intended to support the health literacy and decision-making of people with disabilities in the ACT who need to access health services. The group discussed both the importance of better supports for the consumer to understand and navigate the system, and the corresponding responsibility for health services to effectively share and communicate information.
Representatives from Canberra Metro delivered a PowerPoint presentation about the Light Rail and encouraged input from DRG members regarding access issues. All agreed that it is valuable to have ongoing conversations about operations and infrastructure of Light Rail and that the DRG can articulate some of the community concerns. Canberra Metro is currently planning a “Confidence Day” at which the public will be able to check out the Light Rail vehicles and gain confidence and familiarity with the new form of transport. It is likely to be scheduled in October or November 2018. See the Canberra Metro website for updates:
The group received an update on the Disability Justice Strategy and the current public consultation. See the YourSay website for more infomation: https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/disability-justice-strategy
There was also some discussion of the Peer-to-Peer Inclusion in Employment project being run by the Canberra Business chamber:
12 June 2018
The ACT Disability Reference Group (DRG) met on 12 June 2018. Mr Dougie Herd, Community Co-Chair, chaired the meeting. It was noted as being the last meeting for Mr Steve Fox National Disability Services ACT, and the potential last meeting for Ms Fiona May, ADACAS, as they both move on to different opportunities.
The first guest speaker for the meeting was Ms Louise Cooper-Finch from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). Ms Cooper-Finch provided an update on the latest statistics for the NDIS in the ACT, and provided positive feedback on a Participant Pathway trial which has been run in Victoria.
Ms Laura Pound from the Justice and Community Safety (JACS) directorate, engaged the group about her work on the Victims Charter of Rights project (the Charter). There have been principles in legislation for the treatment of victims for over 20 years. The Charter will see a new Victims Charter of Rights introduced that will outline victim rights, justice agency obligations when dealing with victims, and a complaints resolution process. The previous Victims of Crime Commissioner consulted with various groups, including people representing the issues of people with disability, and has provided recommendations to inform the new Charter. DRG members provided feedback on the Charter and issues they feel should be addressed in it including a focus on restorative practice, an intermediary scheme and the need to recognise the experience of people with disability and how that impacts on experience of the justice system. Community consultation on the Charter has begun – details on scheduled consultations can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/d/australia--act/justice/?q=justice&loc=ACT%2C+Australia&date
The group spoke more broadly about the suite of work happening in the justice space including the responses to the Royal Commission recommendations, the Blueprint for Youth Justice, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Agreement and how all this work aligns with the Disability Justice Strategy. Consultations on the Disability Justice Strategy will begin soon and member discussed the draft consultation paper.
DRG members discussed steps needed to be taken to ensure better employment outcomes for people with disability. The group was informed about a Peer-to-Peer project being run by the Canberra Business chamber which pairs up businesses who have employed people with disability with businesses who want to employ people with disability but may be unsure how to. To attend a Peer-to-Peer information session, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/inclusion-in-employment-project-peer-to-peer-information-session-tickets-47490219525?aff=ebdssbdestsearch
10 April 2018
The ACT Disability Reference Group (DRG) met on 10 April 2018. Due to Michael De’Ath, Government Co-Chair and Dougie Herd, Community Co-Chair being unable to attend, Ellen Dunne, Director Office for Disability chaired the meeting. Deborah Eades, a newly appointed member to the DRG, introduced herself and noted her wish to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues remain on the agenda.
The DRG discussed their submission to theStanding Committee on Health, Ageing and Social Services Inquiry into the implementation and governance of the NDIS in the ACT (the Inquiry) and noted the good response rate from members of the community to the survey and drop-in consultations. Members requested that formal thanks be recorded for Mr Herd, for his role in coordinating the Submission.
An official from Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) attended the meeting, to discuss with DRG members how best to engage with people with disability to find out what is most important in the transport area.
TCCS are currently rewriting the Transport for Canberra Strategy (the Strategy) which will look at areas such as community transport, responsive transport, and future/global trends.
DRG members discussed transport issues as they impact on people with disability and advised that issues for TCCS include: way-finding and end-to-end transport issues; accessibility of the light rail; training for bus drivers around how to best support passengers with behavioural issues; street furniture placement; real-time transport information and how to support someone with an intellectual disability when things don’t go to plan (e.g. the bus breaks down or is late); and the need for TCCS to take into account the places where people with mobility issues may need to go more often.
The DRG discussed the the ACT Government’s Disability Commitment as it applies to the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020. Previous commitments have been Future Directions and INVOLVE. Members discussed the strengths and merits of INVOLVE 2015-2017 and highlighted particular features to be revisited. Progress on the commitment to the National Disability Strategy continues across government and further discussion will be held post a revisit of current strengths of INVOLVE..
6 February 2018
The ACT Disability Reference Group (DRG) met on 6 February 2018, the first meeting for 2018. Mr Michael De’Ath, Government Co-Chair, chaired the meeting.
Members of the DRG discussed developing a submission to the Inquiry into the implementation and governance of the NDIS in the ACT (the Inquiry), being undertaken by the Standing Committee on Health, Ageing and Social Services. The DRG decided to develop a set of online questions as well as hold an open public forum to gather information on how the NDIS is working in the ACT. The closing date for submissions is Friday 30 March 2018.
The DRG finalised their workplan for the next 18 months including developing sub-working groups for specific items.
Rachel Stephen-Smith, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, joined for the last part of the meeting, reiterating her appreciation of the work the DRG does, and her priorities in disability policy for 2018/19.