Bi-monthly Update – January 2020

From the Chairperson

Welcome to 2020 and to the beginning of a new decade. These last months have seen Australians experience unprecedented bushfires and natural disasters, and has had significant impacts upon people, our animals and wildlife and also our communities. Our emergency and disaster management services, health, community services and disability services have all been working extremely hard in very difficult and sometimes extremely dangerous situations, and I would like to acknowledge and thank them for their efforts and also pay respects to people who have lost their lives. The safety and well-being of all members of our community is important. Disability inclusive disaster risk reduction is a fundamental human right for people with disability. Making sure people with disability know what their needs are in an emergency, have a plan and communicate that plan with their support network is a key part of preparedness.

Having community and disability support services who have undertaken formal planning for natural hazards, have a plan in place for how they will support their service users, and know each person’s individual plan is also important. And for Local Disaster Management, having inclusive, coordinated processes, increasing knowledge and capabilities about disability, and building resilient communities is also key. Key to the success of all of this is involving people with disability from the beginning in all aspects of the process.

As a member driven organization, of, by and for people with disability, it is important that people with disability continue to work together with our partners across all the service systems to ensure that people with disability, their families and workers that support them are well prepared for emergencies. Alongside this, it is also important that our services are well prepared to prevent, prepare, respond and recover to disasters that are inclusive and accessible for people with disability.

Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction

Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Queensland Framework and Toolkit cover page
Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Queensland Framework and Toolkit cover page.

Research tells us that people with disability have often been left out of these conversations and I am proud of the work that QDN was part of last year in partnership with Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, University of Sydney, and Community Services Industry Alliance that has focused on this. The project Disability inclusive and Disaster-resilient Queensland has produced a Framework and Toolkit that was launched by Minister O’Rourke on 3 December 2019, International Day of People with Disability. This work provides a roadmap for people with disability, community and disability support services and local disaster management to work together to deliver to increase the resilience of people with disability to disaster. I encourage QDN members, supporters and our allies to go to the QDN website or Collaborating 4 Inclusion that has this framework and toolkit and lots of other resources and tools that can help people prepare, respond and recover.  Click here to access more information on the QDN website, or click here to access more information on the Collaborating 4 Inclusion website.

National Disability Strategy

The Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council met in Perth on 13 December 2019 and discussed a range of issues. One of keen interest was the National Disability Strategy beyond 2020. A report, ‘Right to opportunity: Consultation report to help shape the next national disability strategy’, on the stage 1 consultation process has been released in December 2019. At the meeting the Council agreed to undertake further engagement with the Australian community, focusing on people with disability in 2020. As I said last year, this needs to be the decade of action. We need a National Disability Strategy that is going to drive true action and change and QDN will continue to advocate strongly for a strategy that delivers this for people with disability.

Elections in 2020

2020 is a busy year with both Queensland Local Council elections in March and a Queensland State Election in October. QDN is busy preparing for this and engaging with members to get feedback about priorities and issues impacting Queenslanders with Disability. I would encourage everyone to take an active role in your local communities to speak with candidates about key issues impacting you and more broadly people with disability. Queenslanders with disability make up almost 20% of the population, and it is important we have a strong voice. QDN members continue to raise the important issues of jobs, accessible, affordable housing, quality and timely healthcare, accessible transport, inclusive education, and the delivery of quality, safe disability and aged-care services. QDN will release our Local Government election priorities in February and will continue to keep members informed.

I wish all members well for the beginning of 2020 amongst many local and global pressures.

Nigel Webb, Chairperson

From the CEO

Welcome to QDN’s first e-Bulletin for the new year and new decade and I echo Nigel’s messages to people and communities affected by the bushfires and natural disasters, condolences to those families who have lost loved ones, their homes, animals, and their livelihoods. As this e-Bulletin goes out, it also appears we are in the midst of a global health epidemic with the coronavirus. This decade has certainly started off in an unprecedented way.

Accessible and Affordable Housing

Everyone wants a place to call home and accessible, affordable, secure housing continues to be a key part of QDN’s work. As I spoke about last edition, the Queensland Government is currently undertaking a review of its Queensland’s tenancy laws to ensure the rental needs of Queenslanders are met now and in the future. Approximately 36% of Queenslanders currently rent, with numbers on the rise. In 2016 there were over 72,000 Queenslanders living in rental properties with a disability, this number has increased dramatically from around 53,000 in 2011.

The Making Renting Fair in Queensland is an alliance of community organisations who are advocating for tenancy law reforms and QDN has been an active member of the Making Rental Fair in Queensland campaign. Previously the Queensland Government undertook the Open Doors to Rental Reform Consultation. Now they have developed a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement that identifies policy options to change Queensland’s tenancy laws and the impacts of each option.

At this stage we expect that draft legislation will be announced in February/March 2020 before it goes to a parliamentary committee for further public consultation. Improving tenancy rights is an important issue for people with disability and QDN believes these reforms will go a long way to allowing renting Queensland households to make their house their home and balancing the scales for renters and landlords. I see these reforms will deliver benefits to Queensland renters, particularly vulnerable renters and people with disability with greater security and safety for renters. I encourage QDN members to get involved in this campaign and we will keep people informed and updated. As Nigel said, 2020 is an election year and housing continues to be a major policy area raised by QDN members so it is important that Queenslanders with disability have a strong voice and we let candidates know what is important to deliver on improved housing for people with disability.

Tune Review

2020 has also seen the release of the Tune Review report and a number of key policy actions in the National Disability Insurance Scheme space. QDN sent out an eblast about the announcement about the report released on 20 January 2020 and more information later in the e-Bulletin. The report makes 29 recommendations to the Commonwealth Government on changes to the NDIS Act and overall scheme. There are a range of recommendations, but I wanted to draw attention specifically to the recommendation that relates to Supported Independent Living (SILS). SILs is an area where that QDN members have been raising some challenging experiencing challenges in negotiating and getting the information they need to make informed decisions and have choice and control in regard to their NDIS funding and supports.  QDN looks forward to hearing the Commonwealth Government’s response to the report, including if the recommendation to review the operational guidelines of SILs is adopted. QDN will continue to raise these issues and continue to share the experiences of Queenslanders with disability to inform this work going forward.

New Evidence Based ILC Strategy

I understand from the communique of the meeting on the COAG Disability Reform Council in Perth on 13 December 2019 that the council has agreed on ways to strengthen cooperation among governments and the NDIA on the commissioning and monitoring of the Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grants programs. At the meeting the Council agreed the NDIA will develop a new evidence-based ILC strategy, including the role of local area coordination with an initial evaluation by the end of 2020. I believe the role and functions of ILC is a key area of the NDIS and more broadly ILC services are key to achieving systemic outcomes and change aligned with the National Disability Strategy. This will be an important evaluation and one that I hope brings positive change to deliver improved outcomes for people with disability and their families and on the original intention of ILC.

QDN Funded for Peer Support and Peer Groups

In funding announcements made before Christmas, I am pleased to let members, supporters and allies know that QDN has been successful in receiving an ILC grant focused on peer support and peer groups. This will enable QDN to consolidate and strengthen our existing 19 groups across the state and grow and build some more virtual and face-to-face groups new groups – groups that will that will be a range of locations, area of interest and virtual groups. I look forward to giving members some more information after we finalise discussions with the NDIA around the detail of this work. in the coming months about this work, and to working together with our allies that shows the #powerofpeers.

Paige Armstrong, CEO

Have your say

Disability Royal Commission Update

The Disability Royal Commission (the Commission) announced last week two community forums to be held in Logan (4 February 2020) and Ipswich (5 February 2020). Community forums are an opportunity for the Commission to update the community about their work, and for people with disability to share their stories in an informal environment.  While we acknowledge that the Commission’s announcement of these forums has come at short notice, QDN encourages members to attend if possible, to ensure Queenslanders with disability’s voices are heard.

Click here to register to attend.

In December 2019, the Commission released its first progress report. The report highlighted the work the Commission has already done, including its hearings in Brisbane and Townsville. The progress report also outlined the next steps for the Commission, including the launch of a new website in early 2020 that aims to be more accessible and user-friendly for people with disability.

Click here to access the progress report, including Easy Read versions.

Ways to have your say

The Commission’s Issues Papers

The Commission has released three issues papers for public feedback. QDN is developing submissions on each of the issues’ papers on behalf of our members. If you would like to provide feedback or share your story as part of our submissions, you can email kswift@qdn.org.au or call 1300 363 783 to make a time to speak to one of our policy staff. We are always seeking members’ views to include in our policy submission, so encourage all members to get in touch and have their say. Alternatively, you can send in your own submissions. See below for more information on each of the issues papers or you can click here to access more information.

Group Homes Issues Paper Submissions close 28 February 2020

The Commission is interested in the experiences of people with disability who have lived, or who are living in group homes. Click here to find more information about the group homes issues paper.

Health Care for People with Cognitive Disability Issues Paper Submissions close 20 March 2020

The Commission wants to understand the experiences of people with cognitive disability in accessing or receiving health care. Click here to find more information about the health care for people with cognitive disabilities issues paper.

Criminal Justice System Issues Paper

The criminal justice system issues paper is looking at how people with disability, including young people and First Nations people, are over-represented across the criminal justice systems in Australia. The issues paper is also calling for responses about prisons and forensic mental health facilities where forced treatment and restrictive practices may be used. Click here to find more information about the criminal justice system issues paper.

Upcoming Commission Events

The Disability Royal Commission will host the following events in Queensland in the first half of 2020:

  • February 2020
    • February 4: Community Forum – Logan, Queensland.
    • February 5: Community Forum – Ipswich, Queensland.
    • February 6: Engagement with First Nations People, Organisations and Communities – Brisbane.
  • March 2020
    • March 4-5: Engagement with First Nations People, Organisations and Communities – Queensland.
    • March 24-27: Public Hearing – Education, Brisbane.
  • April 2020
    • April 27-1 May: Public Hearing – Justice, Brisbane.
  • May 2020
    • May 6-7: Community Engagement Activities – Brisbane.
  • June 2020
    • June 16-18: Community Engagement Activities – Far North Queensland.

Important Commission Links

Legal Support:  National Legal Aid (NLA) together with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) will provide a free, national legal advisory service for people engaging with the Royal Commission.  You can contact NLA on 1800 771 800.

Click here to access National Legal Aid.  Click here to access the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services

Financial Assistance:  This area of the Commission can be contacted directly on 1800 117 995.  If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service and give 02 6141 4770 as the number you would like to call.

Advocacy:  Advocacy services funded under the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) have been given additional funding to support people with disability. Information about the program can be found at National Disability Advocacy Program, along with a Disability Advocacy Finder tool to help you locate a service provider near you.  Alternatively, you can contact the Disability Royal Commission Hotline on 1800 517 199 or at the following email DRCEnquiries@royalcommission.gov.au to assist you to find your nearest advocacy service.

Click here to access the National Disability Advocacy Program and the Disability Advocacy Finder.

Counselling support during the Disability Royal Commission is available from Blue Knot Foundation on 1800 421 468.

Invitation to contribute to QCIE’s Submission: Disability Royal Commission Education

The Queensland Collective for Inclusive Education (QCIE) is making a submission to the Disability Royal Commission and is inviting members of QDN to provide feedback to their submission.

The QCIE submission will focus on themes that relate to the Queensland Education System.  QCIE want to capture the issues and experiences of children with disability and their families currently in the education system as well as adults who have completed their education.  They are interested in hearing from you about:

  • Your school experience, including specific incidents of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation,
  • The impact this has, and continues to have, on your wellbeing and life,
  • If you felt your school acted to keep you safe and what you feel should have been done to support you,
  • What you feel needs to happen to ensure a child’s right to an inclusive education is respected and realised.

If you would like to provide feedback to the QCIE submission, please email qldcollectiveie@gmail.com.

Next step to shape a new National Disability Strategy

The ‘Right to opportunity: Consultation report to help shape the next national disability strategy’ has been released to inform the development of a new National Disability Strategy for beyond 2020. The report provides a summary of feedback from the national public consultations that were held earlier in 2019 and raises issues that are important to people with disability, including employment, health and community accessibility.

There will be further opportunities for engagement with people with disability and the broader Australian community in early 2020. QDN will keep members updated as information becomes available.  Click here for more information.

QDN’s Work

Local Support Group Update

Members of the Hot Topics group celebrating Christmas with Santa
Members of the Hot Topics group celebrating Christmas with Santa.

QDN’s Local Support Groups (LSGs) are peer-led peer support groups that meet across Queensland to provide an opportunity for people with disability to come together, connect with their community, learn new things, and have their voices heard. All people with disability are invited to attend their local group and we extend a warm welcome to group members who have joined since our last e-Bulletin.

Congratulations to all LSG Convenors and members who worked together throughout 2019 to support their local community, organise information sessions, workshops, community events, social gatherings, digital stories, and more!

In addition to regular group meetings, November saw LSG Convenors come together in Brisbane to further their co-design work on self-management resources to assist people with disability and LSG members. Convenors also received information around the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission and Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction project to pass onto their LSG members. LSG Convenors will next come together in February to receive additional information and training to further support members of their community.

End of year Christmas parties allowed LSG members to reflect on their many achievements of 2019 but also to take time to celebrate with each other (and Santa).

2020 is set to be a big year and local support groups are currently planning the year ahead that will include information on self-management, planning in emergency and disasters, and guest speakers on range of topics.

Now is the perfect time to get involved with your Local Support Group. Click here to find your closest group, or get in contact with QDN at lsg@qdn.org.au or on 1300 363 783.

ATSIDNQ UpdateATSIDNQ Logo

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network Queensland (ATSIDNQ) looks forward to another great year in 2020, with continuing advocacy and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Queensland.  ATSIDNQ has been reconnecting with existing services (respite centres, ATSI community and health organisations), and has established a relationship with the Disability Royal Commission.

ATSIDNQ has been invited to encourage any members, or people in the community, that may have experienced abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with a disability within the Education system to share these experiences.  Great new partnerships are expanding within the regions of Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Woorabinda, Yeppoon, Townsville, Roma and connected communities, and ATSIDNQ are excited to see where this leads in 2020.  Click here to access more information.

New Local Support Group Digital Stories

Through the Disability Community Events grant program from the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, both the Deception Bay and Gold Coast Hot Topics Local Support Groups have each recently hosted a day of activities in their communities to encourage people with disability to get connected with others and enjoy their local area. Attendees at each event used GoPros to film throughout the day and to help create a digital story that further encourages others with disability to get out and about in their community. Group members took on responsibility for filming so everyone could be the filmmaker and contribute to the story.

International Day of People with Disability on 3 December 2019 saw the work of the Deception Bay LSG highlighted as their digital story, ‘Creating inclusion, enabling adventure’, was launched at the Changing Lives, Changing Communities forum in Caboolture. The Hon. Coralee O’Rourke, Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors launched the digital story in front of over 60 members of the Caboolture community before it was made available online for everyone to enjoy.  Click here to access the digital story.

Attendees of the Gold Coast Hot Topics event enjoyed coming together to use public transport, connecting at a local café, learning about the inclusive features of the Broadwater Parklands and sharing experiences over a group lunch. Keep an eye out for their digital story, ‘Accessing our community’, which will be available soon.

The events and digital stories demonstrate how accessible spaces and places across mainstream, business and community interfaces enable full participation by people with disability as citizens in the life of their communities. They reinforce the importance of leadership by people with disability in pushing boundaries to improve accessibility within local communities as well as Queensland’s All Abilities Plan.

QDN’s Self-Management Project

QDN has received some funding through the targeted round of Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) for Disabled Persons and Family Organisations in December 2018. The project has built upon existing self-management resources and, using a co-design approach, developed user-friendly resources and tools to assist people with disability to understand what is involved in self-managing their NDIS plan and build capacity through QDN’s local support groups across the state.

These resources that have been co-designed with QDN’s local support group convenors will be finalised with Convenors when they come together in February. They include user-friendly tools and resources, such as factsheets and checklists, relating to each of the four topic areas identified by LSG Convenors.  The topic areas include:

  1. Self-management – What is it?
  2. Employing Supports and Services,
  3. Managing my NDIS Funding,
  4. Safeguarding.

During 2020, Local Support Groups across the state will be sharing these resources, tools and hosting conversations about self-management at meetings. Stay tuned for more information about Local Support Group meetings near you.

QDN part of Consortium Delivering Information for NDIS Providers and Participants about Quality and Safeguards

QDN member, Willie Prince, featured on the Everyday Practice website
QDN member, Willie Prince, featured on the Everyday Practice website.

On 21 January 2020, the Everyday Practice website was launched providing a free online education resource for NDIS Participants and NDIS Providers.  Everyday Practice has been designed to support NDIS Providers to understand and meet their NDIS responsibilities.   In addition, it aims to provide NDIS Participants with information about how to more easily identify what to look for in best practice NDIS service delivery.

Through funding provided by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, QDN is continuing to work with Amergin to deliver the Everyday Practice project, leading the work to co-design user-friendly resources and tools about the quality and safeguarding by and for people with disability. Everyday Practice is being delivered by a consortium of partners that includes QDN, Amergin, Community Resource Unit (CRU) and Richmond Fellowship Queensland (RFQ).

Everyday Practice contains:

  • A dedicated Helpdesk – providing a user-friendly support service to answer NDIS service delivery specific questions,
  • An online Forum – presenting subject-specific discussions across a range of topics, and
  • User-friendly Resources – providing NDIS Providers and NDIS Participants with a range of information on a range of topics to assist their understanding of what day-today best practice NDIS service delivery looks like.

Everyday Practice logoAs further resources are developed, they will be added to the Everyday Practice website.  If you would like to have further knowledge and understanding about your rights to quality and safe practices, and what you can expect to be delivered to you please head along to the Everyday Practice website or the Facebook page.  All of the shared data is subject to strict privacy controls so that individuals cannot be identified.

Click here to access the Everyday Practice website.  Click here to access the Everyday Practice Facebook page.

Launch of Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Queensland Framework and Toolkit

Michelle Moss, Matt McCracken and Paige Armstrong holding the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and Toolkit
Michelle Moss, Matt McCracken and Paige Armstrong holding the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and Toolkit.

The Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) framework and toolkit for Queensland has been launched by the Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors the Honourable Coralee O’Rourke on the 3rd of December, the International Day of People with Disability.

In May and June last year, QDN and the University of Sydney led consultations across the state, listening to insights and perspectives on how to make disaster planning and management inclusive of people with disability. The framework and toolkit are the result of these consultations with people with disability, families, emergency services, government, disability service providers and community organisations.

Click here to find the DIDRR framework and toolkit for Queensland, and reports from the four consultation locations of Townsville, Brisbane, Ipswich and Rockhampton.

Changing Lives, Changing Communities – Round Two

Caboolture Changing Lives, Changing Communities forum participants with Minister Coralee O’Rourke, State MP Mark Ryan, and Director General Clare O’Connor
Caboolture Changing Lives, Changing Communities forum participants with Minister Coralee O’Rourke, State MP Mark Ryan, and Director General Clare O’Connor.

The Changing Lives Changing Communities forums continue into 2020, as people across Queensland come together to share ideas and actions on how to create communities where everyone contributes, matters, and belongs.

On International Day of People with Disability over 60 people from the Caboolture community came together for their second forum. Local organising team members stepped up alongside QDN and Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) staff to lead conversations. There was some exciting discussion, and new projects and ideas generated around how to make Caboolture and surrounds a more inclusive community.

Upcoming forums:

  • Brisbane, 3 & 4 March 2020 at Events on Oxlades, New Farm,
  • Gold Coast, 12 & 13 May 2020 at Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre, Carrara,
  • Normanton, 17 & 18 June 2020 at Shire Hall, Normanton.

Click here for further information about past and future forums, and to register to attend.

It’s Time to QDeNgageQDeNgage logo

Our QDeNgage initiative has taken off over the last two months, with QDeNgage representatives taking the message of inclusion and accessibility to more Queensland workplaces.

At the end of November, QDeNgage representatives Bev and Ben delivered disability awareness training to Gold Coast Hopo ferry staff, so that they can continue to improve their services for people with disability, ensuring the new Gold Coast ferry service is accessible for everyone to enjoy!

The presentation to international design, engineering and construction firm, ARUP
The presentation to international design, engineering and construction firm, ARUP.

On International Day of People with Disability, our CEO and Chairperson of the Board – Paige and Nigel – were joined by QDeNgage representative Wendy at a presentation to international design, engineering and construction firm ARUP. The conversation was wide-ranging with discussions on universal design and creating more inclusive and accessible community spaces.

QDeNgage has even more work on the horizon, so if you’re interested in sharing your lived experience and skills with organisations who are keen to work with people with disability to improve their services, click here to find more information about how to become a QDeNgage representative.

QDN members sharing why the Queensland Rental Reforms are important for people with disability

QDN members Charmaine and Elisha, alongside QDN’s CEO, shared their support for the proposed Queensland tenancy reforms in a short video. The proposed reforms would lead to increased certainty and security for tenants, including people with disability.

Click here to access more information  about the proposed reforms, and watch our short video.

Policy Updates

NDIS

NDIS Planning Inquiry

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme recently released its Interim Report on its Inquiry into Planning. QDN made a submission into this review and spoke at the Inquiry.  The report made 14 recommendations on how to improve the planning process for people with disability. QDN is pleased that many of our recommendations were taken up in the report. In summary the report included the following recommendations:

  • Draft plans: Draft plans, including budgets, be made available to participants prior to the meeting with the opportunity for the participant to rectify the plan, review or vary part of a plan and meet face-to-face with an official who has authority to approve the plan.
  • Timely reviews: Participants to have unplanned reviews within 45 days of making a request and internal reviews of a decision to be completed within 45 days
  • Simple language: Simplifying the language used to describe people, terms, the planning process, roles and functions of the NDIS
  • Training for NDIA staff: Training to be provided to all staff involved in the planning process regarding specific types of disability, health issues, specific needs of participants from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds or culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds and training in Domestic and Family Violence awareness.
  • Security of support: Automatic continuation of plans if they haven’t been reviewed by the review date, while ensuring reviews are carried out within 45 days. Where this can’t happen a typical support plan to be put in place with a commitment to ensure a plan review within 45 days.
  • Prioritising planning and funding packages for people with complex needs and prioritising access requests, planning meetings and approvals for children with complex needs.
  • Transport: Allowing participants to pay for transport out of core funding.

Click here to access the full report.

What you need to know about the NDIS Tune Review Report

The report by David Tune on the Review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act has been provided to Hon Stuart Roberts MP, Minister for National Disability Insurance Scheme and released to the public on 20 January 2020. The report makes 29 recommendations to the Commonwealth Government on changes to the NDIS Act and overall scheme.

Click here to access the report.

Some of the report’s key recommendations that were raised in QDN’s submission include:

  • Clarifying the definition of ‘reasonable and necessary’, including publishing information in accessible formats,
  • Upgrading IT systems so that NDIS Participants can track the progress of their applications/request for reviews online,
  • Reviewing operational guidelines when funding Supported Independent Living,
  • Outlining who is eligible for support coordination and who can provide it to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

Importantly, the report also provides a framework for legislating the federal government’s election commitment of an NDIS Participant Service Guarantee. This includes recommendations for new timeframes for decision-making as part of the Guarantee, to take effect from 1 July 2020.

Click here for more information on the new timeframes.

For people with disability, many of the report’s recommendations are not new and have been raised in previous reviews of the NDIS. These are issues that Queenslanders with disability have been raising with governments for a long time and now is the time for action. QDN looks forward to the Commonwealth Government’s response, which is expected in February. While the intent of the recommendations are generally positive for people with a disability, as with any significant policy changes, the success will be in the details and how they are implemented. QDN will keep members updated when more information is available.

New NDIS Option for Assistive Technology Support under $5000

From October 2019, a new option for the funding Assistive Technology (AT) supports between $1,500 to $5,000 was introduced. The NDIA has recognised that some AT supports are relatively standard. With appropriate advice from an AT assessor, participants can now source items within the new support items using the funding within their plan.

This funding option is limited to nine new general AT support items and will only be funded if items are deemed to be reasonable and necessary within a participants NDIS plan.  The key aspects of these changes are:

  • The current arrangements for low-cost AT (with funds in Consumable budget) remain with no changes.
  • Participants will be encouraged to obtain written assessment advice before proceeding to buy or source AT. This may prove helpful in the case of damaged, faulty or incorrectly prescribed AT needing to be returned under Australian Consumer Law.
  • Assessment advice does not need to be provided to the NDIA, however the NDIA recommends filing for future reference.
  • AT items that are not covered within the above funding ranges are out of scope, and likely to require an assessment and a single quote before they will be included in a participant’s plan.

Click here to access more information.

New NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue Released

The NDIA has released an updated version of the NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue, valid from 1 December 2019. A summary of the changes include:

  • Some reclassified locations in Western Australia, New South Wales and Comet in Queensland,
  • Short term accommodation items extending to respite supports,
  • New medium-term accommodation items and assistance,
  • An Assistive Technology and Consumables Code Guide, and
  • A number of health support items, two new Dietitian support items and other minor terminology changes.

Click here to access the latest version of the NDIS Price Guide and the Support Catalogue for the full list of changes.

NDIA Public Data Release

The NDIA releases new data every quarter to give more information about NDIS trends.  Click here to access the newest data.

New content includes:

  • Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants, and participants who are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse,
  • New interactive and accessible maps to help people find information about their local areas,
  • Maps which outline plan utilisation rates and valuable information for participants and providers with information about demand and services in their areas
  • All downloadable data is now available on one page to make it easier to find.

Housing

Minimum accessibility standards for housing

Options for minimum accessibility standards for housing are currently being developed that will be applied through the National Construction Code.  A Regulatory Impact Statement will be developed regarding these standards and will be available for public comment in the first half of 2020. QDN will be making a submission and keeping members informed of the process.

Click here for more information.

Renting in Queensland

In December 2019, the Queensland Government released Stage One of a review of Queensland tenancy laws to ensure the rental needs of Queenslanders are met now and in the future. Key features of the proposed reforms included:

  • Ending tenancies fairly
  • Minimum housing standards for rental properties
  • Protections for people experiencing Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) to stay or leave safely,
  • Establishing mechanisms to make minor modifications to rental properties
  • Making it easier for tenants to rent with pets.

The reforms are a positive step for people with disability and QDN submitted a response to the reforms in December 2019. Click here to access QDN’s response.

QDN will keep members informed as the reform process progresses and looks forward to responding to the second phase of reforms later in 2020. QDN has also continued collaborating with our allies Make Renting Fair in Queensland regarding the reform process.  Click here to learn more about the reforms or to join.

Human Rights

The Queensland Human Rights Act commenced 1 January 2020

On 10 December 2019 – International Human Rights Day – the Queensland Human Rights Commission celebrated the Queensland Human Rights Act, the conclusion of Human Rights Month 2019, the Commission’s relaunch, and International Human Rights Day at Parliament House.

At the event Attorney General Yvette D’Ath and Queensland Human Rights Commissioner Scott McDougall each spoke to the fact that 1 January 2020 will mark an historic occasion for Queensland with the start of the Human Rights Act.  The Act signals an important first step in making sure that respect for human rights are at the center in building a culture that respects and promotes the rights of vulnerable Queenslanders by addressing disadvantage.

Queensland’s historic Human Rights Act has commenced from 1 January 2020. The Act intends to protect and respect the freedom, equality and dignity of every person in Queensland.  Under the Act, organisations or departments are defined as a public entity if they deliver services on behalf of the Queensland Government.

No that the Act has commenced, public entities will need to consider human rights as part of their decision-making processes. This includes direct service delivery, writing laws and policies that affect people in the community, and decisions that impact employees.  Public entities also need to have systems that can address human rights complaints that arise.

It’s important to be ready and to be involved in the Queensland Human Rights journey! There are a range of ways you can get involved with human rights now, including:

  • Click here to access resources on the Queensland Human Rights Commission website, including information for public entities and training programs plus videos from a recent speaker series.
  • Click here to access whole-of-government human rights resources.
  • Click here to access material from Community Legal Centres Queensland including a recent webinar.

Together we can build a human rights culture and create a Queensland where every person lives a life of equality, opportunity and wellbeing.

Member Profile – QDN’s Women’s Virtual Local Support Group

QDN has a Women’s Local Support Group that operates online via Facebook.  The group has almost 40 members and they share information together across a broad range of issues relating to women, including: leadership, domestic and family violence, sexual violence, abuse, elections, human rights, disability policy, royal commission, ATSI issues, sexual health, NDIS, education, employment, housing, transport and anything else the members feel are important to them.  Click here to access the Women’s Virtual Local Support Group.

QDN staff member Karin Swift is the convenor of this group and has recently been appointed to the Disability Consultative Working Group, on behalf of QDN.  The committee sits within the work of Violence Prevention Reform in the Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.  The role is to provide advice to agencies implementing actions under Queensland’s plan to respond to domestic and family violence against people with disability.  Karin has a wealth of knowledge in this area and will be seeking advice from QDN members to further inform the committees work.

Additionally, women with disabilities continue to do great work elsewhere, including Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) CEO, Carolyn Frohmader.  Carolyn has prepared a Position Paper: The Status of Women and Girls with Disability in Australia, for and on behalf of Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) and the National Women’s Alliances.

In 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women was held by the United Nations in Beijing, China. At that conference, all the governments of all nations attending agreed to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA). The BPFA was a landmark agreement. It identified a range of actions that governments, the United Nations and civil society should take to make women’s human rights a reality, in the form of 12 critical areas of concern.

This Position Paper provides an overview of the status of women and girls with disability in Australia.  The paper aligns with the 12 thematic areas of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  Click here to access the position paper.

If you want to be a part of QDN’s Women’s Virtual Local Support Group, or you want to provide feedback to the Disability Consultative Working Group, please email Karin Swift, kswift@qdn.org.au, or call 1300 363 783.

Resources and Information for Members

Australian Bushfire Crisis

Since November, we have seen bushfires devastate communities and wildlife across Australia. This disaster has been difficult for most people to respond to, let alone those experiencing disadvantage, disability, or social isolation.  The Australian Department of Human Services has published a summary of support available for people directly affected by bushfires in disaster declared areas.  Click here to access the summary.

The current bushfire situation across the country is impacting a number of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, their families, carers and providers.  Information for participants and service providers affected by bushfires is available on the NDIS and disaster response page. Click here to access more information, including Easy Read resources.

QDN have been involved in the development of the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction toolkit and framework, which will be incredibly useful for people with disabilities and their families in these times of disaster.

If you are looking to make a donation or host a fundraising event, The Australian has also featured a good summary of charities who are providing support for firefighters, people affected by the bushfires, and wildlife protection.  Click here for more information.

For additional information please click here.

What is Supported Independent Living? (SIL)

Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Supported Independent Living (SIL) is a combination of individual and shared Core Supports funding. SIL aims to assist participants with their personal care and daily living tasks and to develop participants’ capacity and skills to live as independently as possible. The SIL model is generally built upon participants receiving supports within a shared accommodation living arrangement. This is usually for up to seven people.

Each participant will have an NDIS plan reflecting their individual support needs, goals, and the outcomes they are seeking. These goals and outcomes should inform the development of the SIL quote, which is submitted to the NDIS by the service provider. A SIL quote detailing each person’s individual and shared supports is typically developed by the NDIS registered Service Provider, prior to a participant’s Plan review.

SIL can provide a combination of planned individual (1:1) supports and shared supports, and irregular, or unplanned supports. Often people requiring 24/7 support receive SIL funding.

What’s On

International Women’s Day – Sunday March 8, 2020

Continuing to celebrate women with disabilities, International Women’s Day 2020 will be held on Sunday March 8, and the theme is #EachforEqual.  An equal world is an enabled world, how will you help create a gender equal world? International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.  Get involved and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for all women.  Click here for more information.

From our Friends

Spinal Life – Local Government Election Workshops

Spinal Life Australia will be holding workshops for the upcoming local government elections on March 28.  Spinal Life are interested to hear from our members and clients but also the community groups in the area who may have some input into what they would like to ask the local candidates for as better outcomes for people with disability in their area.  Please contact Jeanette Kretschmann on 07 3435 3140 or email jkretschmann@spinal.com.au.

Calling LGBTIQA+ People with Disability for Mardi Gras

Annie Segarra, American disability and LGBTQIA+ advocate
Annie Segarra, American disability and LGBTQIA+ advocate.

Our colleagues at People with Disability Australia have opened expressions of interest to join them to march at Mardi Gras in Sydney later this year. To be eligible to join you must have a disability and be a person who identifies as LGBTIQA+.

The event will be fully accessible. So if you’re already heading to Mardi Gras and want to join with the PWDA team as part of the march, you can find out more by checking out their website – click here!

Nature Freedom Launches More Inclusive Events for February

Nature Freedom programs and projects are proudly funded and supported by the Brisbane City Council’s Access and Inclusion Community Partnerships grant and the Aurizon’s Community Giving Fund. This means more space, more events and more inclusive fun!  The first event of the year will be launched on Saturday 1st February, with an Inclusive Paddling at Thorneside.

Click here to access more information, and to register.

Contact Us

Phone:          (07) 3252 8566 or 1300 363 783

Email:            qdn@qdn.org.au

Website:        www.qdn.org.au

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/QueenslanderswithDisabilityNetwork/

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