QAI’s NDIS x Serco Survey
Serco is a multinational company and for-profit provider of public services in health, transport, justice, immigration, defence and citizens’ services. In Australia, Serco runs off and on-shore immigration detention centres and private prisons. Serco, too, has the contract to run the NDIS call-centre. Many people with disability are concerned that Serco won’t support NDIS values and principles. QAI’s NDIS call-centre survey has been live from 1 July 2018. (It takes ~ 3 mins). If you have called the NDIS (1800 800110) call-centre since 30 June 2018, please tell us how it went.
Accessible Queensland Trains
QAI campaigns for accessible Queensland rolling-stock. In 2013, Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads commissioned $4.3 billion x 75 new six-car trains.
Those that have arrived in Queensland so far (built overseas) are not fully accessible for people who use wheelchairs, or who have vision impairments. Some access paths and the bathroom access are narrower than the minimum widths set out in the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT) that were established in 2002.
In late 2017, the Queensland lodged an application with the Australian Human Rights Commission (‘AHRC’) for temporary exemptions from the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (‘DSAPT’). As part of its application, Queensland undertook to fix the conveyances over the next few years. Along with other advocates, QAI lodged an opposing submission. We said that the trains should have been compliant from the beginning, and that the AHRC must not grant exemptions that allow the state government to put new vehicles onto the tracks on the proviso that they be refurbished.
The AHRC refused Queensland’s exemption application. The NGR trains are not DSAPT-compliant. In December 2017, QAI supported two members to make federal and state discrimination complaints.
Immediately, the transport minister should have removed the trains from service. The state government continued to run the NGR for the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.
The new trains are designed to last at least 35 years in service: that’s until the early 2050s. Unlike other Queensland suburban trains, the new trains have no guard station in the middle, adjacent to the accessible boarding point on the platform. As a stop-gap measure, Queensland Railways has hired staff to attend people who want boarding assistance. We are not confident that this arrangement will continue for 35 years.
The ‘Shadow Report’
As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) the Australian government agreed to report to the UN on its implementation of the Convention. Signatories generally paint a rosy picture by focusing on (their) achievements and omit the half-measures, failures and abuses. Non government organizations (‘NGOs’) author their own ‘Shadow Reports’ at the same time. They’re a kind of ‘minority report card’ on Australia’s implementation. Our last ‘shadow report’ was Disability Rights Now 2012.
Over the next 12 months, a coalition of disabled persons’, advocacy and human rights organisations will develop an alternative report. QAI is part of the group of NGOs developing the report. We’ll be consulting with people with disabilities and collecting stories for the report.
In late 2017, the Federal Government ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT). If implemented, it will open places of detention to scrutiny. QAI will work to see that this scrutiny is more disability aware. Read our media release. For more on conditions for people with disability in prisons, see Human Rights Watch (2018) I Needed Help, Instead I Was Punished: Abuse and Neglect of Prisoners with Disabilities in Australia.
Open Employment and Full Employment Participation
QAI promotes full employment access; not employment in segregated, sheltered workshops known as Disability Enterprises.
Under the 2013 Bilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland, the latter will give some money previously allocated to disability advocacy services to the National Disability Insurance Agency (the ‘NDIA’). Queensland’s Coralee O’Rourke, Minister for Communities, Disability Services and Seniors, offered equivalent advocacy funding if she was re-elected in 2017. The Minister reaffirmed this commitment during budget estimates in July 2018.
We want to hold the Queensland government to this commitment. If it reneges, agencies like SUFY and AMPARO, which offers disability advocacy for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (‘CALD’) people may have to reduce their services.
Combined Advocacy Groups of Queensland + #advocacymatters
QAI convenes the Combined Advocacy Groups of Queensland, or ‘CAGQ’, which consists of 12 independent advocacy organisations in Queensland who are committed to providing advocacy to promote rights and freedoms and address discrimination, abuse and neglect.
The twelve agencies are:
- AMPARO Advocacy Inc.
- Capricorn Citizen Advocacy Inc.
- Gold Coast Disability Advocacy Inc.
- Independent Advocacy in the Tropics
- Ipswich Regional Advocacy Services Inc.
- Mackay Advocacy Inc.
- People with Disabilities Australia Inc.
- Queensland Advocacy Inc.
- Rights In Action Inc.
- Speaking Up For You Inc.
- Sunshine Coast Citizen Advocacy Inc.
- The Advocacy and Support Centre Inc.
NDIS Implementation and Performance
QAI maintains a ‘watching brief’ on the implementation of the NDIS and the governance, decision-making and work of the NDIA.
A Human Rights Act for Queensland
QAI is campaigning towards a Human Rights Act for Queensland. We hope to see the state government pass legislative protection for the human rights of all Queenslanders soon. You can donate to this campaign from our or here.
“Sexually-free in Q – L – D!”
“Time to Nix 2 – 1 – 6!”
QAI is part of a small but growing coalition of individuals and organizations who are passionate that people with intellectual impairments should enjoy the same rights as anyone else. Section 216 of Queensland’s Criminal Code exposes to prosecution people who have an intimate relationship with someone who has ‘impairment of the mind’. The sooner we convince the state government to repeal or amend section 216, the sooner people will be able to make their own choices about who they will love without fear of discrimination.
Campaign to Address Violence at Home
With the assistance of our Management Committee member Chanelle McKenna, QAI is collaborating with WWild, Women’s Legal Service, Beth Dumont, Paula Ingles from TAFE and Linda Steele from University of Technology Sydney on the project: Violence against People with Disability in their Homes.
Pre-natal Screening, Testing and Choice: Disability Misconceptions
QAI looks at topical reproductive questions in this short article.