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The NSW Government has announced that it will develop a plan – the NSW Disability Inclusion Plan – to ensure people with disability are included in the broader community and in government services.

FACS plans to release the plan by late December 2014 or early next year.

The plan will focus on four issues for actions involving multiple stakeholders:

  • Inclusive and accessible communities;
  • Employment;
  • Attitudes and behaviours; and
  • Government systems and processes.

The plan will be NSW’s contribution to achieving the National Disability Strategy (NDS). The National Disability Strategy is a 10-year plan agreed by COAG to improve inclusion of people with disability and fulfil the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD). The most well-known action in the NDS – developing a National Disability Insurance Scheme – is one of many activities being undertaken to fulfil the CRPD. There is also a review of equality and capacity in Commonwealth laws by the Australian Law Reform Commission, and the development of a national Disability Parking Scheme.

Although most people with disability will not be eligible for support from the NDIS, it is the most well funded of all NDS initiatives. Most people with disability use general services such as transport, health, housing, education and employment services. The NDS rightly recognises that these areas must improve for people with disability to be included in the community. However, there are no specific resources to implement these aspects of the NDS. This makes it difficult because some issues, like availability of affordable housing that is accessible for all, and specialist health services in the community, require additional resources to achieve improvements.

On the other hand, there is a great deal that can be accomplished if all the relevant agencies, both government and non-government, including the private sector, are involved. For instance, the NSW Disability Inclusion Plan’s focus on employment will bring together a range of public and private agencies, along with workers with disability, to work together to improve employment outcomes for people with disability.

The NSW Disability Inclusion Plan will also involve activities aimed at particular population groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, women with disability, children with disability and people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse communities. This is in recognition that these groups have additional barriers to participating in the community.