Government delays response to Royal Commission as advocates urge consultation

by | Mar 6, 2024 | The Big Story, Wire

Despite delaying their response governments say they are committing to collective reform of the disability sector. People with Disability Australia (PWDA) says this represents a chance for more consultation.

Image courtesy People with Disability Australia

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The peak advocacy body is cautiously embracing the decision by disability ministers to postpone their response to the Royal Commission. PWDA says delaying the process until the middle of the year presents more of an opportunity for consultation.

The state and federal disability ministers had originally pledged to provide a coordinated response to the Commission’s 222 recommendations by the 31st of March. This has now been pushed back to the ‘middle of the year’.

PWDA President Marayke Jonkers is urging the governments to use that extra time for input from People with Disability to ensure the reforms are both comprehensive and consultative. 

“We need time and space for governments and people with disability to work together on a future.” Jonkers said, adding this needs to include “sustainable supports, inclusive communities and getting rid of segregated spaces where violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of People with Disability occurs.” 

However Jonkers urged all levels of government to begin consultations with disability organisations quickly. 

“A lack of specifics and detail can cause concern among our community. Our community wants to understand what changes are being discussed and how they could impact them – they want to be heard,” Ms Jonkers said. 

Governments, however, have not indicated exactly how this consultation might take place or called for public input from sector organisations. Some observers have suggested Federal Minister Bill Shorten is working through a series of reforms to achieve a package that will be politically ‘saleable’. 

Only after this critical hurdle has been achieved will he return to work on the detail of the changes with the sector itself.