Member e-Blast: Disability Royal Commission to hold first Public Hearing in Townsville

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will hold its first public hearing in Townsville next month. The hearing will be held at the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre from 4 to 7 November 2019.

The Chair of the Royal Commission, the Hon Ronald Sackville AO QC, said the hearing will consider education and will examine existing policies and procedures, in particular the Queensland government education system. The hearing will also include a preliminary examination of the state’s inclusive education policy and its impact on the experiences of students with disability.

The members of the Royal Commission who will sit at the Townsville hearing are:

  • The Chair
  • The Hon Roslyn Atkinson AO
  • Ms Andrea Mason OAM
  • Dr Rhonda Galbally AC

Senior Counsel Dr Kerri Mellifont QC will be responsible for conducting the Townsville hearing, assisted by Brisbane-based junior counsel.

The first hearing comes after a Community Forum in Townsville in September, which was attended by around 150 people. Some people shared stories about their lived experience either as a person with disability or as a parent or advocate for people with disability.

The Royal Commission is committed to being accessible to all. It will adopt the principles of trauma-informed engagement to assist in recognising and understanding the effects of all types of trauma and to avoid re-traumatisation.

The Disability Royal Commission wants to hear from all Australians about their experiences of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability. There are multiple opportunities and avenues for engagement with the Royal Commission. The Royal Commission is actively encouraging submissions via email, phone or mail. The Royal Commission will also be holding hearings around the country, as well as private sessions, community forums and workshops.

The second hearing is expected to be held in Melbourne in December.

Important links:

  • Click here for more information on the first public hearing.
  • The Royal Commission may grant leave to appear to people or organisations to participate in a public hearing. Click here to see more information about applying for this leave.
  • The Townsville hearing will be livestreamed on the Royal Commission website. Click here to access.

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