Thursday, 3 September 2020
Questions without Notice
People with Disability
My question is to the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator Ruston. Can the minister update the Senate on how the Morrison government is guaranteeing essential services and ensuring that people with disability have equal opportunities on our road to economic recovery?
I thank Senator Chandler for her question. The government is absolutely committed to ensuring that people who live with disability are included in all aspects of community and also to making sure that we provide them with the equal opportunity that they deserve. We recognise that part of that has got to be making sure that we are well-informed about the requirements of people with disability, and that's why research funding is so important in achieving understanding as well as being able to achieve good outcomes. That's why we've recently announced a partnership with the Melbourne Disability Institute at the University of Melbourne, a National Disability Research Partnership. The government is providing 2½ million dollars in seed funding to establish this partnership, which will focus on disability and mainstream services, including such things as health, education, housing and justice. Over the next two years this partnership will prepare and progress a research agenda, a research capability road map, and practical guides for disability-inclusive research into partnerships with the disability community.
We recognise that data and evidence is absolutely essential when it comes to developing good policy and evidence based policy. That's why we've provided a further $15 million to make sure that we can develop a national disability data asset. This asset will help governments across the whole country, as well as policymakers, understand how people with disability are supported through services, through payments and through programs, across the multiple levels of services and service systems that exist within the country at many levels, including state and federal. The sharing of this de-identified data through the data asset will allow governments to better understand the life experiences and outcomes for people with disability. We believe that this is an essential part of developing an inclusive and equal opportunity for all Australians, including those with disability.
Clearly, getting a job and keeping a job is an absolute game-changer for anybody, no matter where they live or who they are in this country, and it shouldn't be any different for somebody who lives with a disability. That's why we have partnered with the ABC to showcase the incredible work of our up-and-coming content makers who live with disability and to help increase the employment opportunities for those people. The Regional Storyteller Scholarship program is now in its third year and offers $60,000 worth of funding to provide opportunities for regional Australians with disability to undertake a scholarship with the ABC. This scholarship provides opportunities for people to further their career aspirations in content-making, allowing them to showcase their skills and experience through a wide range of avenues that are offered through the ABC. Can I take this opportunity to congratulate this year's scholarship winners, who were announced in June. I'd encourage anybody who wants to be part of it to apply for next year.
The next National Disability Strategy will be laid out by governments across Australia about how we can work together, state and territory and federal government, to make the lives of people with disability as good as we possibly can. We are working with the states and territories on the new strategy. I recently released a position paper, which has kicked off the second stage of the consultations. The position paper outlines the key features that we are proposing to include in the new strategy and is informed by the previous strategy and the successes—and some of the non-successes—of the previous strategy. We are inviting all Australians, whether or not they live with disability or have experienced disability, to have their say on this position paper, because we want to make sure that the next National Disability Strategy is as informed as it possibly can be to make sure it provides the support and the initiatives for people who live with disability and to make sure that our next strategy is the best strategy it can be.