Disability Sector Calls for Pre-Election Commitments to Improve Disability Emergency and Disaster Support


Open Letter Released. Leave no Australian behind in disasters and emergencies. There is an image of a flooded street with houses under water. QDN Logo, Queenslanders with Disability Network, Nothing about us without us. PWDA logo, People with disability, Australia

Thursday 31 March 2022: A coalition of 40 leading disability rights, advocacy and peak body organisations has endorsed a pre-election open letter to politicians across the country demanding a new approach and more resources for improving disaster and emergency responses for people with disability.

In the wake of two years of rolling calamities, the letter outlines a series of key outcomes being sought by the disability sector to develop planning, programs and services that will better prioritise the needs of people with disability during floods, bushfires, cyclones, droughts and pandemics.

Developed by Queenslanders with Disability Network and national peak disability rights and advocacy organisation People With Disability Australia, the open letter is targeting all parties and candidates contesting the upcoming federal election.

The letter calls for no Australian to be left behind during disasters and emergencies, noting that the Disability Royal Commission has stated that that people with disability are at much greater risk of neglect during emergencies, as evidenced by lack of prioritisation and equitable support during a string of recent catastrophes including the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent floods in South East Queensland and Northern NSW.

The letter calls for urgent and immediate action, investment, and commitment to a national approach to improve the safety and wellbeing of Australians with disability before, during and after a disaster or emergency.

This includes the development of a national plan and roadmap to deliver on disability inclusive disaster preparedness, resilience and recovery, as well as investment for multi-sector targeted responses underpinned by collaborative and inclusive research.

Read the PDF version Open Letter herefull letter

Read the word version Open Letter herefull letter


Des Ryan
QDN Chairperson

Paige Armstrong
Chief Executive Officer

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN)

Samantha Connor

Sebastian Zagarella
Chief Executive Officer

People with Disability Australia   (PWDA)

QDN logo: dark blue letters Q D N with the words Queenslanders with Disability Network underneath in grey


Signatories to the open letter

Dr Michelle Villeneuve  
Associate Professor, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney School of Health Sciences,
The University of Sydney

Professor Emerita Gwynnyth Llewellyn 
Co-Director, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health Head, WHO Collaborating Centre for Strengthening Rehabilitation Capacity in Health Systems,
The University of Sydney


The university of Sydney Logo with a crest.

Justine O'Neill 
Chief Executive Officer,
Council Intellectual Disability (CID)

Jim Simpson 
Senior Advocate,
Council Intellectual Disability (CID)

CID Logo, Council of Intellectual Disability

Jean Cotchin 
Campaign Manager,
Every Australian Counts

EAC Logo, Every Australian Counts

Carolyn Frohmader 
Chief Executive Officer,
Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA)

WWDA Logo, Carolyn Frohmeder Chief Executive Officer, Women with Disabilities Australia

Catherine McAlpine 
Chief Executive Officer,
Inclusion Australia

Mary Mallett
Chief Executive Officer,
Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA)

Mary Sayers
Chief Executive Officer,
Children and Young People with Disability Australia

CYDA, Children and Young People with Disability Australia

Ross Joyce
Chief Executive Officer,
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

afdo logo, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations

Damien Griffiths
Chief Executive Officer,
First People Disability Network

First People Disability Network Australia logo

Sally Aurisch
Chief Executive Officer,
Blind Citizens Australia

Blind Citizens Australia Logo

Andrew Fairbairn
Physical Disability Australia

Simon Burchill
Physical Disability Australia

Physical Disability Australia logo

Laurie Leigh
Chief Executive Officer,
National Disability Services

Ian Montague
State Manager,
National Disability Services Queensland

NDS logo, National Disability Services

Belinda Drews
Chief Executive Officer,
Community Services Industry Alliance

csia logo, Community Services Industry Alliance

Kirsten Deane
General Manager,
Melbourne Disability Institute, University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne logo. There is a shield with an image of a lady with wings and the words 'Prostera crescam laude' below.

Professor Christine Bigby
Living with Disability Research Centre, La Trobe University
Australasian Society on Intellectual Disability

ASID logo, research to practice

Professor Julian Trollor
Chair, Intellectual Disability Mental Health Head, Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry Professor, School of Psychiatry,
UNSW Medicine

UNSW Medicine Logo. UNSW Australia, Medical Sciences, Medicine

Professor Elizabeth Kendall
Executive Director, The Hopkins Centre,
Griffith University

Griffith University logo, Queensland Australia

Dr Dinesh Palipana
2021 Queensland Australian of the Year and Doctor with a disability

Geoff Rowe
Chief Executive Officer,
Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia

Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia logo, Your aged and disability advocates

Peter Tully
Engagement and Capacity Building Mentor,
DCA Mentoring Supports

DCA Mentoring Supports logo

Uncle Willie Prince
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network Queensland

Image of a circle with aboriginal style dot painting in various colours and the words ATSIDNQ Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Queensland on the right side of the circle. This is the ATSIDNQ logo.

Matilda Alexander
Chief Executive Officer,
Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated logo

Maureen Fordyce
Chief Executive Officer,
Amparo Advocacy

Amparo Advocacy inc logo

Margaret Rodgers
Chief Executive Officer,
Community Resource Unit

Community Resource Unit logo, Expanding ideas; creating change

Jodi Wothers
Chief Executive Officer,
Parent to Parent

Parent to Parent logo. P2P

Robbi Williams
Chief Executive Officer,
JFA Purple Orange

JFA Purple Orange logo, there is a graphic of a purple orange

David Craig
Chief Executive Officer,
Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID)

Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) logo

Andrew Vodic
Executive Director,
Community Disability Alliance Hunter (CDAH)

CDAH logo

Lou Bannister
Women with Disability Australian Capital Territory (WWDAACT)

Women with Disability Australian Capital Territory logo. There is a graphic of a purple flour with a woman coming out of it in green.

Sue Smith
Chief Executive Officer,
Self Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU)

Jenny Dixon
Speakout Advocacy

Kiara Lavin
Members President,
Speakout Advocacy

Speakout Advocacy logo

Colin Sivalingum
Queensland Manager,
Australian Red Cross

Australian Red Cross logo with an image of a red cross