Illegal parking in disability spots inconveniences people with disabilities. Only people with valid permits can use disability parking spots. Local councils issue the permits. In Victoria people who don’t have a valid permit can be fined $148. People who illegally park in disability spots might also find a photo of their car on the internet for all to see. Disability activist Samantha Connor has created an online group to shame people who illegally park their cars. The site has hundreds of pictures of illegally parked cars. Taking pictures can result in confrontations with drivers. So reporting illegal parking to councils is a safer option.
A woman using some wool to make a needlepoint image
To engage in society.
Last year an inquiry into social inclusion among Victorians with disability was carried out. It was undertaken by the Committee for Family and Community Development. This is a committee of the Victorian Parliament. The inquiry looked into how people with disabilities are included or excluded in society. It developed a definition for social inclusion. There were 25 recommendations in the report of the inquiry. The Government tabled its response to the report last month. It says the recommendations will help to inform the new State Disability Plan 2017-2020.
The welfare system in Australia has been under review. The final report of this review has been released. It makes many suggestions for changing the system. This includes reducing the number of payments. Eligibility rules will also change. Five payment types are recommended. They include a Carer Payment and a Supported Living Pension. There are some good ideas in the report. But not everyone receiving welfare needs more encouragement to find work. Often the problem is that there are not enough available and accessible jobs. It is now up to the Australian Government to decide what changes it will make to the welfare system.
Have you signed a petition lately? There seem to be a lot of them around. Many of them are about disability issues. Alexandria Lancaster wants tactile markings on banknotes for the vision impaired. Lucy Haslam wants cannabis decriminalised for medical use by the terminally ill. Petitions can be in the traditional paper form or online. Change.org and gopetition.com are online petition services. They both have Australian pages that list a number of petitions on disability issues. A petition can help get an issue into the media. Once the media is onside, change can become irresistible.
Findings show children with a disability are more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
A royal commission is a public inquiry that investigates important matters. In 2012 a national royal commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was started. In Melbourne the royal commission will hold private sessions until November to encourage victims to talk about what happened to them. Through private sessions survivors can talk about abuse directly to a commissioner. The royal commission has found children with a disability are more vulnerable to sexual abuse. If victims of sexual abuse want to tell their stories support is available. The royal commission can provide interpreters, communication support workers and counsellor.
Talkback radio and some newspapers seem to have it in for disability pensioners. They claim the number of disability pensioners is spiralling out of control. They say this is because there are too many 'bludgers' getting the Disability Support Pension (DSP). But the evidence says otherwise. The growth rate of people receiving the DSP has decreased over the past decade. This is despite Australia having one of the lowest employment rates for people with disabilities. And our population is increasing and getting older so there will be more people with disabilities. Convictions for defrauding the DSP are also rare.
A new report suggests making big changes to Centrelink payments. The report has a strong employment focus and recommends that people on welfare payments be encouraged to work as much as they are able. However, it is not always easy for people with a disability to find work. Sometimes employers do not want to hire people with a disability. It would be good if the review results in better support and opportunities for people. The government is asking people to let them know what they think of the review. You can make comments and submissions about it until 8 August.
A trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is underway in the Barwon region of Victoria. DiVine writer Thomas Banks is part of the trial. He went through a lengthy process to create a disability support plan. He found the process frustrating at times. The plan included most of the things he wanted, and helped him grow his business. Thomas is pleased with the NDIS. He does not think the NDIS rollout should be delayed.
"The sense of belonging is the best thing so far."
Two of my friends got married recently. I wasn't able to attend the wedding. It was held overseas. My friends are both men. They can not legally be married in Australia. People have strong views about same-sex marriage. I know some think homosexuality is wrong. But I don't see the problem with two people in love getting married. Not allowing same-sex couples to do so is discrimination. Most people with disability know how discrimination feels. The situation is unfair and unjust. But as my friends remind me, marriage is about love. Plain and simple.
When I first started losing my vision the amount of available gadgets to keep me as independent as possible was amazing. And if I thought this was wonderful, the progress in technology during the past 20 years has been mind-blowing. The cost of such technology is out of reach for many. However, the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) comes with a promise of more individual support. There is hope some of this support will come through adaptive and mainstream devices. Many of these gadgets can help break down confronting barriers, and lead to a better quality of life for people with a disability.