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Anti-Discrimination Commission

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Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities
Media Release
Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Date: 28 May 2014

State and Territory based Anti-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity Commissioners call for the continuation of the position of the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

Commissioners were appalled at the decision in the recent Federal budget that the position of Disability Discrimination Commissioner would end at the conclusion Graeme Innes term in July 2014.

Disability discrimination is consistently the highest level of complaint both at the Australian Human Rights Commission and in all states and Territories except NT.

The nature of the complaints and enquiries about disability show a very high level of need for ongoing public advocacy about the experience of people with disability in terms of the day-to-day barriers they face to employment, education, services, etc., and this cannot genuinely receive the focus it needs without a specialist commissioner.

The need for a dedicated Commissioner is crucial at this time with the implementation of the NDIS and the recent government policy of reducing the numbers of people with disability on the pension.  There is a need to increase employment opportunities which requires a dedicated Commissioner to advance strategies to increase employment opportunities along with strategies to decrease the overrepresentation of people with disabilities as victims and offenders in the criminal justice system.

There is a need for the momentum built up over the last 8 years at both the national and international levels to continue.

The Federal Commissioner needs to be a person with disability as the attitude changing benefits of this cannot be ignored.  It sends a clear message that people with disability are capable of participating and should be leading national action on ensuring protection of all human rights for people with disability – nothing about us without us!

For comment:

Northern Territory: Commissioner Sally Sievers, 08 8999 1444