The Advocate – PwdWA Newsletter Winter 2010
Productivity Commission Inquiry into Disability Support and Care
People With disabilities Western Australia – PWdWA - has directly contributed to the
Productivity Commission Inquiry into a Long Term Care and Support Scheme and
through our networks with the Western Australian Disability Coalition and the
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO). One of the key options
discussed in this inquiry is the feasibility of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
President Mary-Anne Bath has participated in discussions with People With
Disabilities Australia on this issue, and the Senior Systemic Advocate, Andrew
Jefferson, contributed to a significant 2 day national workshop hosted in July by
We believe the scheme must be framed by the United Nations Convention on the
Rights of Persons with Disability with the focus on a social model of disability. The
social definition of disability used in the Convention is preferable to the Australian
Bureau of Statistics version which focuses on the medical model.
PWdWA co-hosted a forum in Bentley with Physical Disability Australia for members
and interested stakeholders. Other consultations happened around the state to
ensure the voices of many people with disabilities in WA were heard. Our new
website also offers you the opportunity to have your say about improved services for
people with disabilities by filling in a short survey under our latest news and events
Western Australia’s complexities and the State’s people isolation make it difficult for
people with disabilities to have their voices heard. The Coalition received funding to
bring regional representatives to Perth to participate in the ‘Sharing Our Stories’
forum with the Productivity Commissioner, Patricia Scott, on behalf of their region.
Other Disability Coalition members were able to host forums in the Kimberley, the
Goldfields, the Wheatbelt and the Great Southern. Infrastructure issues adversely
affect the lives of people with disabilities through limitations in: transport,
communication, health, disability specific services, employment, education,
alternatives to employment and post school options, housing and access.
PWdWA believes the proposed scheme ought to be an entitlement for all who are
eligible from birth to death and be properly funded, not just a one off time limited
project. To promote empowerment of people with disabilities it must be based on
equity, self-determination and an understanding of the complexity of a person’s
disability. It must be portable across the states and territories and be responsive to
the changing circumstances of individuals.
A National Disability Insurance Scheme will require strong independent advocacy
support services that are well funded to maintain and attract skilled staff to support,
empower and protect the rights and interests of people with disabilities. PWdWA will
continue to advocate for and with people with disabilities in WA and keep you
informed on this issue.
** Please Note Our New Address Is Suite 1/37 Hampden Rd Nedlands**
From The ED’s Desk
- Mark Goerke
Hello members. I am the new Executive Director for PWdWA. My background has
been in the homelessness and community services sector where I worked for
Anglicare WA for 20 years.
As you may be aware, the former Executive Director Louise Durack is aiming to
become a Federal politician. If she succeeds she will certainly be advocating for
people with disabilities in WA.
Being new to the sector I am learning a lot from the staff and the Committee of
Management. I have attended a number of forums to gain a better understanding of
the issues facing people with disabilities.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is an important issue that has strong
support and PWdWA has advocated for its implementation. It is good to see that the
major political parties are saying that they will consider implementing such a
scheme. Ensuring that such a scheme does happen where people with disabilities
receive life long insurance support will be a wonderful outcome.
Disability First Stop has received ongoing funding for another 3 years. Our thanks to
the Disability Service Commission for providing these funds. Christina Wright will
continue her work with people newly diagnosed with a disability or have had an
accident leading to a disability to find their way through the maize of services
available to them or their carers.
The Developing Active Citizens program will be operating again soon and staff
member Carmen Pratts-Hincks will be contacting members to discuss their interest
in this leadership development program.
David Hides has been working with us about increasing our membership. A quick
survey can be done on our website to see what people would like to see included in
the Advocate and David will ring some members to get their views. If you are keen to
let him know what you think please ring him at the office.
PWdWA is back in Nedlands
PWdWA has moved back to refurbished offices in Oasis Lotteries House in
Nedlands. Our address is now Suite 1/37 Hampden Rd Nedlands. Our new
telephone number is 9485 8900 and our fax number is 9386 1011. Callers to our old
numbers will be diverted to our new numbers.
Would you prefer to receive your newsletter via email? Help us to save paper and
the planet by electing to receive your copy of The Advocate online. Email
firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Surplus Computers & Equipment
PWdWA has surplus Computers, Keyboards, Mice and Monitors to give away to
anyone who is interested. Items will be distributed on a first in first served basis.
Please contact Stuart on 9485 8900 or email email@example.com to express an interest.
Items must be collected from PWdWA.
AND SO DO OUR VOTES
On the 21st August 2010 cast your vote for the party which will deliver the best
outcomes for Australians, including people with disabilities and family carers.
Come and hear from your local candidates about how they intend to represent your
needs, and the issues that impact on your daily lives. Find out how each party
intends to address these concerns and what policies they have to enable people with
disabilities to fully participate in society.
The DISABILITY COALITION of WA has organized a series of FORUMS for people
with disabilities and their families to voice their concerns with candidates from
Cowan Wed 11th August 12.30 – 2.30pm Landsdale Farm School, 80 Landsdale Rd,
Hasluck Thurs 12th August 12.30 – 1.30pm Kalamunda Town Square Hall,
Barber St, Kalamunda
Swan Thurs 12th August 7.00 – 8.00pm Harold Hawthorne Centre 2 Memorial
Brand Thurs 12th August 7.00 – 8.00pm Rockingham Lotteries House 6 Civic
Canning Thurs 12th August 7.00 – 8.00pm Ac-cent’ (formerly Senior Citizens), 41
Ormsby Terrace, Mandurah
Stirling Tues 17th August 7.30 – 8.00pm Herb Graham Recreation Centre, 27
Chesterfield Road, Mirrabooka
Please RSVP: To indicate your attendance at any of these forums contact Liz
Pretsel at the DDC office on 9420 7203 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to welcoming you.
PWdWA will be hosting the Canning forum. If you can’t make any of the forums
but would like us to ask a question on your behalf please contact Kerrie on 9485
8900 or email@example.com
Presented by: Advocacy Southwest, Carers WA, CASA, DDC, EDAC, Headwest,
NDSWA & PWdWA
Landmark Pilot begins in October 2010
In a landmark decision, the Disability Services Commission (DSC) supported an
individual to pilot the first truly individualized funding model from October 2010 for a
period of 2 years.
Ben Dainton is a young 25 year old man who has Down Syndrome. Ben is deaf and
has a language difficulty. He lives in Albany with his parents who have assisted him
to set up a “sole trader” business, naming Ben as the proprietor. Ben’s family then
approached DSC with a request to administer Ben’s current respite funding
allocation through this business to give Ben greater autonomy over the use of this
“Ben’s Administration Company”, from October 1, will be able to directly employ
carers to look after Ben. Ben will be involved in the selection of those carers. The
“sole trader” business will have a Steering Committee and the DSC will have an
ex-officio role on this committee to support this new funding model.
The Commission has worked with the Danton’s to tackle the many questions this
innovative funding arrangement has raised. Ben’s family have also had to engage in
extensive conversations with both the Australian Taxation Office and Centrelink to
ensure that this funding does not adversely affect Ben’s entitlements and financial
With resolutions to the many extra challenges now in place, Ben and his family are
ready to pilot this new funding arrangement and are looking forward to the future.
“We are relieved to have had this pilot accepted by the Commission and look
forward to a simpler method of providing Ben with exactly what he needs, when he
needs it”, Ben’s father, John commented.
PWdWA supported Ben and his family during the crucial final segments of this
project which set out to find out what happens to public funds allocated to assist
disabled people and their carers, and how those funds can be more efficiently
applied in such a way as to increase value for money for both the Commission and
the individual. The requirement of the pilot Service Agreement will maintain the
accountability standards expected of other service organisations. These standards
cover the quality and costs of services provided.
We congratulate the Dainton family on an enormous amount of work to blaze a trail
for real individualized funding for people with disabilities here in WA.
If there is sufficient interest from other families to run their own pilot model, DSC and
PWdWA will organize a forum to discuss how it may work. Interested families are
welcome to contact us and we will work with DSC to coordinate a forum.
Height adjustable beds
A long fought campaign is close to a landmark success. We are pleased to advise
that the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)’s draft 4th
edition of the Standards proposes height adjustable examination beds become
mandatory. If this goes ahead it will lead to far more accessible doctors’ surgeries,
something which PWdWA’s Women’s health report released back in May highlighted
as an absolute necessity.
The campaign, led by Women with Disabilities Australia, to make the provision of
adjustable height examination beds a mandatory requirement for accreditation in the
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Standards for General
Practices has lasted many years. It has involved people from the disability, human
rights and ageing sectors.
In late 2009 PWdWA supported a collective Submission to the RACGP as part of the
consultations for the Review of the RACGP Standards for General Practices.
Height adjustable examination beds will: assist general practice teams to reduce the
risk of injury to all patients; limit the risk of misdiagnosis or non-detection of serious
medical conditions; reduce the occupational health and safety issues for health
practitioners, and; reduce the risks associated with legal responsibilities under
SMS Assist Survey
SMS Assist is a text messaging service for people who are deaf, hard of hearing,
speech impaired or have other disabilities and wish to contact police to report a
crime or request police assistance in non-emergency situations. SMS Assist is
unique to Western Australia. To date, no other State or Territory has implemented a
similar facility, making WA a leader in communication for people with hearing and
speech impairments and other disabilities.
The Indigenous and Community Diversity Unit of the WA Police are now reviewing
this service by inviting people to take part in a survey.
PWdWA has been part of the SMS Assist Working Group which was established to
assist in the review process. Representatives of the Working Group also include
the WA Deaf Society, Deaf Association of WA, Disability Services Commission,
Australian Hearing (WA), Centre for Cerebral Palsy, Better Hearing WA and National
The SMS Assist Survey was developed to determine how effectively SMS Assist is
meeting the needs of the people it was designed to help and where the system could
be improved upon.
To this end, please take a moment to complete the on-line survey which can be
found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/SMS_Assist_Survey
All questions in the survey have been signed in Auslan, video-taped and
incorporated into the on-line survey for those who require this feature.
The survey will run from 2 August to 2 September 2010. Please help us to help you
Please Note Our New Telephone Number is 9485 8900 and
our Fax Number is 9386 1011
Access to aids and equipment
When the Community and Disability Services Ministers met in June they agreed to
continue with various initiatives designed to give people with disability more
consistent access to the aids and equipment to help with independence,
community participation and reaching potentials. The intention is that, by December
2010, all Australians with similar disabilities will have a nationally consistent list of
core equipment they may access. This would require portability protocols to enable
people with disabilities who move across state borders to retain their access to
necessary core equipment relating to their disability.
It was agreed to implement aids and equipment initiatives to improve the supply of
equipment, review current subsidy and co-contribution arrangements and improve
assessment and prescription processes to create more streamlined access by
Disability Support Pension Assessments
The assessment processes for Disability Support Pension (DSP) changed 1 July
2010 as part of the DSP Better and Fairer Assessments 2009-10 Budget Measure.
The measure includes:
• fast tracking decisions for DSP claimants who are clearly eligible;
• a review of the Impairment Tables;
• enhanced Job Capacity Assessments undertaken by suitably qualified DSP
• a new Health Professional Advice Unit;
• improved information on employment assistance for people receiving DSP; and
• a workforce re-engagement contact pilot.
PWdWA has some concerns regarding these measures. As the Australian
Federation of Disability Organisations –AFDO- was invited to sit on the reference
group for this issue this will help us keep in the loop on this very significant issue.
Disability Funding Increased in State Budget
PWdWA welcomed the announcement in the 2010-11 Budget by the State
Government May announced an increase of $51million on last year’s allocation
bringing the total to $540.million
Disability Services Minister Simon O’Brien said with one in five West Australians
identified as having a disability, and with the number set to grow to one in four within
15 years, the State Government had sound policy settings to keep up with the
demand for future services.
“The Government is continuing its determination to provide self-directed services and
continues to support individualised and more flexible funding for more responsive
and personalised support to people with disabilities, their families and carers,” Mr
Initiatives to be funded in 2010-11 include:
$330 million for accommodation support services, including support for people with
disabilities to live in a range of accommodation options such as hostels, group
homes or their own home. Support includes personal care and assistance with
independent living skills
$120.million for individual support services, including the provision of aids and
equipment and support to people with disabilities to access positive and constructive
day options, maintain health and wellbeing and develop skills and abilities. (Source:
WA Government Media Statements)
Nominate now for the 2010 Count Me In Awards
Nominations are now open for the 2010 Count Me In Awards.
The Disability Services Commission hosts the awards to recognise the outstanding
achievements of individuals, state and local government, business, education and
training organisations and developers, planners and architects on projects or
initiatives that create more welcoming communities for people of all abilities.
Disability Services Commission Director General Dr Ron Chalmers said the Count
Me In Awards, formerly the Count Us In Awards, have been aligned with the
Commission’s 15 year strategy for Count Me In: Disability Future Directions.
“The main objective of Disability Future Directions is to create communities that are
welcoming and accessible to all citizens,” Dr Chalmers said.
“The awards recognise the efforts of those working towards a more inclusive society
for Western Australia.
“To coincide with the implementation of the Disability Future Directions Strategy, a
new Disability Future Directions Award has been established that will recognise
outstanding long-term initiatives that ensure the inclusion of all people with disability
in the WA community.”
“Each year this award will focus on key areas within the strategy. This year the
award will focus on well-planned and accessible communities including universally-
“Creating buildings, products and environments that are usable and effective for
everyone is vital if all Western Australians are to live with security and ease.”
The seven categories for the 2010 Count Me In Awards include:
Count Me In Award for an Individual
Barry MacKinnon Award for Employment
Count Me In Award for Local Government
Count Me In Award for State Government.
Count Me In Award for Education
Count Me In Award for Customer Service
Disability Future Directions Award
All category winners will be considered for the Dr Louisa Alessandri Award for
The 2010 Count Me In Awards are part of Disability Awareness Week and will be
presented on 3 December, the International Day of People with Disability.
Nominations close at 5pm on Friday 1 October 2010. For further information visit
www.count-me-in.com.au, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 9426
Blind & Vision Impaired Finally get Secret Ballot
In June an amendment to the Electoral Act, passed through Federal Parliament
which will ensure the 300,000 Australians who are blind or have low vision finally
have a secret ballot in Federal Elections.
Initially the changes will allow the Electoral Commissioner to determine the method
of secret ballot. For the coming election, this will mean that electors who are blind or
have low vision will have the option of attending an Australian Electoral Commission
divisional office where they can be connected to trained call centre operators for
assistance in completion of the ballot papers. It is expected that, over time,
alternative means of ensuring secret ballots will be developed and implemented.
Spinal Cord Injury Network (Australia and New Zealand)
The Spinal Cord Injury Network (Australia and New Zealand) was formed to assist
groups in Australia and New Zealand who are involved with spinal cord injury (SCI)
research, to work together and with people with SCI for their benefit. Our aim is to
provide practical benefits to people recovering from SCI by providing leadership for
research, facilitating effective clinical trials, promoting evidence-based practices for
treatment, and ensuring communication between researchers, other groups and
people with SCI.
Representatives with SCI work with the Clinical Trials and Research Development
committees to identify the issues that are important in improving quality of life for
people with SCI. This is a unique opportunity for people with SCI to have a say on
the research that is needed to get the best treatment and recovery.
The Spinal Cord Injury Network website provides updates on current research
projects, information on clinical trials, opportunities to participate in research studies,
as well as useful links for people with SCI. People with SCI can join free of charge
and receive regular updates and newsletters from the Spinal Cord Injury Network.
Go to www.anzscin.org further information.
Cinemas Agree To Provide Captioning and Audio Descriptions.
In the last edition of ‘The Advocate’ we reported that Village Roadshow, Greater
Union, Hoyts and Reading Cinemas had applied for exemption from the Disability
Discrimination Act for two and a half years. If granted, this exemption would’ve
meant that the Cinema chains didn’t have to provide Captioning or Audio
The Australian Human Rights Commission rejected the application for exemption
and the major cinema chains recently agreed to a rollout of captioning and audio
description in their complexes. By 2014, Hoyts, Village Cinemas, Event Cinemas and
Reading International have agreed to provide captioning and audio
description at every session in each of the 132 cinema complexes they operate
throughout Australia and in multiple screens in the larger complexes. This equates to
242 screens - one screen for every complex with six or less screens, two screens for
every complex with seven to 12 screens, and three screens for every complex with
13 or more screens - where currently only 12 screens provide captioning at three
sessions per week, nationwide.
The target is for 10 percent rollout (24 screens) by the end of 2010, 30 percent (73
screens) by the end of 2011, 60 percent (145 screens) by the end of 2012, 80
percent (194 screens) by the end of 2013, with the entire initiative completed by the
end of 2014.