NEDA Knows

A Monthly Bulletin

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Issue 18 - October 2020
A Note from our CEO
Hello NEDA Knows readers,

At NEDA, we have always advocated for change and we are grateful for anything that makes the lives of people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds easier.

We are grateful to our Minister, the Hon. Stuart Robert, for his initiative to bring about change within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) through the announcement of “Independent Assessments”.

However, we are also seriously concerned that the lack of consultation with both the CALD and disability community prior to announcing the changes has created a lot of uncertainty, confusion, and anxiety for people with disability from CALD backgrounds and their carers/families.

In these uncertain times, today more than ever, it is important for us to look after our community and our people.

We are urging our Minister to please consider the fact that people with disability, especially from CALD backgrounds should be able to have access to the health provider of their choice with regards to their assessment.

Additionally, we continue to call upon the Government to build a stronger engagement mechanism with CALD people with disability to ensure we are engaged in all aspects of 
the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

We have detailed all our concerns in a media release. You can read it here.

Last week’s Federal Budget announcements received a lukewarm response from our community. While we are grateful for the extra funding towards the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Mental Health Services, we are disappointed and concerned that the budget does little for CALD people living in poverty. Our response to the 2020 Federal budget can be viewed

Last month, we completed our Radio project, which was initiated mid last year, in a bid to help people from refugee and humanitarian backgrounds access the NDIS in their language.

This very successful pilot project focused on 4 local government areas (LGAs) in Melbourne and Sydney. We are hoping to extend the project in other states and territories next year. We will keep you updated.

Finally, before signing off, I would like to pay homage to The Hon. Susan Ryan AO, former Age Discrimination and Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

As Dr Ben Gauntlett rightly put it, her contribution as Disability Discrimination Commissioner will benefit generations of Australians and we will miss her.

The Hon. Susan Ryan was also the first woman to hold a Cabinet position in a Labour Government and inspired so many young women around Australia.

Thank you everyone and as always, I would urge you all to visit our website – and follow our social media pages on Twitter and Facebook to learn more about the work we do. 

Again, this is a difficult time for all Australians, and we ask you all to remember to be respectful and tolerant with one and other as it can be easy to become tribal and lash out, especially at minority groups when things are difficult.
Thank you for your ongoing support.

Dwayne Cranfield

NDIS - Announcement of Independent Assessments
In late August 2020, Hon. Stuart Robert MP announced reforms to the NDIS Scheme.  

In a media release announcing the changes, Minister Robert also revealed the implementation of “independent assessments”.

At NEDA, we are discouraged by the lack of genuine consultation with the disability community, prior to the Minister’s announcement. 

We believe, as a matter of urgency, the Government should commit to working in collaboration with Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), in relation to NDIS Independent Assessor function, ensuring that any policy affecting culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people with disability is developed and approved by CALD people with disability. 

We sent out a media release, outlining all our concerns for the disability community and the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community. You can read it here.

2020 Federal Budget

Last week, the Federal Government delivered the “the most important Federal Budget since World War II.”

We are grateful to the Government for the additional 
$3.9 billion funding to the NDIS and the extra $148 million allocated to mental health services.

However, we have a couple of concerns that we have addressed in a media release:

1. Reduction to Refugee and Humanitarian Program
2. New English Requirements for Partner Visas
3. Significant cuts to Income Support Payments
4. Accessible Employment for People with Disability

To read our full response to the 2020 Federal Budget, please
visit this page. 

2020 Federal Budget - Media Confererence

Our Projects and Policy Officer, Dominic Golding was invited to address the media, along with other key advocacy organisations, to talk about the Federal Budget and what it means for people with disability from multicultural backgrounds. 

"We welcome the extra funding to the NDIS and the creation of the Job Maker and Job Seeker, which will be especially helpful for young people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds", said Dominic. 

Other speakers included:
Emma Campbell - ACTCOSS CEO 
Kasy Chambers - Anglicare Australia Executive Director
Ian Yates - Council on the Ageing CEO
Helen Dalley-Fisher - Equality Rights Alliance, Senior Manager,
Mohammad Al-Khafaji - Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA) CEO,
Dr Gabrielle O'Kane - National Rural Health Alliance CEO
Terry Slevin - Public Health Association of Australia CEO
Ryan Erlandsen - St Vincent de Paul Society’s National Council National Secretary,
Claerwen Little - UnitingCare Australia National Director

Our Royal Commission - next hearing

The Disability Royal Commission's next public hearing will explore the barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing and obtaining a safe, quality and inclusive school education and the resulting impacts on the life course of those students, and their families, when these barriers prevent access to equitable education.
The hearing will begin on Monday 12 October and run through to Friday 16 October. It will be held in Brisbane.

For more information, click here.

Our Royal Commission - Group homes report
A recent report from the Disability Royal Commission fond "the closure of large institutions housing people with disability, with the resulting development of group homes has not eliminated institutional forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation experienced by people with disability, particularly those with serious intellectual disabilities."

The Royal Commission released its report on one of its early hearings, “The experience of living in a group home for people with disability” on 30 September 2020.

The Royal Commission heard evidence from witnesses with direct experience of living in group homes,  , advocacy groups, government agencies, a large service provider, and other experts and academics in December 2019.

For more information, go here. 
Changes to Coronavirus Supplement
More than two million people in Australia have faced a $300 per fortnight cut to their already low incomes on Monday 28 September 2020, after changes to the Coronavirus Supplement.

It is estimated that over one million children have also been impacted as a result.

We are joining the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) to urge the Federal Government to review its decision to cut the supplement, which is received by people on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and parenting payments.

“To get through this crisis and rebuild their lives, people need to know that the government has their backs – that they will be able to keep a roof over their head and three meals on the table, into next year.

“The cuts and uncertainty about what will happen come December are deeply distressing for people and will no doubt be affecting people’s mental health.” – Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.
Disability Youth Summit - An Interview with the Chair

The National Youth Disability Summit ran for five days, from Tuesday 29 September to Saturday 3 October, 2020.
This innovative online summit “was designed by and for young people with disability to give (them) a real say about (their) future.”
We had the chance to interview Melanie Tran, the chair of this summit last month.
Read more about her role, the summit and how “for far too long, the voices of young people with disability have not been heard.”

1.What is the National Youth Disability Summit?

The Summit ran for five days from The National Youth Disability Summit (NYDS). This innovative conference was designed by and for young people with disability to give us a real say about our future.
The Summit was designed by the Co-Design Committee, 20 young people with lived experience of disability from all around Australia. Over five days, young people with disability from around Australia were invited to join the Co-Design Committee to connect, to learn, to listen and to discuss.
The five-day Summit had a mix of plenaries, workshops and panels. The Summit also had opportunities for attendees to meet other young people, hear from young people with disability, share ideas and participate in consultations for the National Disability Strategy. Sessions were spaced out to give plenty of breaks and meant participants could join as many sessions as they wanted.
The Co-Design Committee identified 5 key themes of the inaugural National Youth Disability Summit: 1. Education; 2. Employment; 3. Mental Health; 4. The NDIS and Housing and 5. Access, Awareness and Inclusion.

The first four of these topics were youth only days – that is, days specifically for young people with disability to hear from, learn from and connect with other young people with disability from around Australia.

2.Tell us about your role as the chair of this inaugural Summit.

As the Chair of the Co-Design Committee, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the young leaders across Australia to create a platform for young people with disability to connect, reflect and discuss topics that matter to us. As a designer and creative thinker myself, it’s been incredible to see the Co-design Committee leverage the power of design thinking to create an opportunity for stakeholders and leaders across the country to come together to address some of the toughest social challenges we face today, in order to help shape a better future.
It really was a magical moment to see this Summit come from a concept on a post-it-note, to a jam-packed 5-day virtual Summit.

3.What were the key themes for this year’s Summit and what do they mean for you?

Each of the themes that were explored at the National Youth Disability Summit reflects the experiences of young people and the stories that help shape who we are as individuals. More importantly, each theme acknowledged how far we’ve come in the respective sector, and yet how far we still have to go.

We live in a society that was not built for inclusion. The National Youth Disability Summit created a platform for us to bring together the best and brightest minds in Australia to ask some of the biggest questions that would lead us one step closer to our vision of inclusion and diversity.
The one thing I’m most proud of is that it put the voices of young people with a disability at the forefront of addressing these important topics.

It is the perfect opportunity, now more than ever, to redefine our future and pave the way to a society that embraces the principles of inclusion and diversity.

While we may have the right platform to do so, the critical ingredient that made this Summit unique is the fact that these discussions were led by young leaders who have the desire, ability and opportunity to create change.

4.When we talk about disability, do you think young people with disability are often overlooked in the national debate? Are their voices being heard?

For far too long, the voices of young people with disability have not been heard. The National Youth Disability Summit was carefully curated to create a platform for the voices of young people with disability across the nation to be heard.

Leadership is built from the ground up - and it often begins with hearing from the voices of individuals with unique perspectives.Through this we would learn to understand that challenges can be turned into opportunities. And more importantly, disability can drive innovation.

5.Is there anything else you would like to add?

Some of the key elements that help us shift towards a society that is able to acknowledge and embrace inclusion and diversity relies on having the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

Our young leaders are at the forefront of innovation, and their vision is backed by organisations like Children and Young People with Disability Australia. It was incredible for me, personally, to see this come to life.

Our initial plan was to have a one-day face-to-face Summit, but the global pandemic led us to the pivotal moment where we turned to technology to help bring our vision to life. It created an opportunity for us to explore creativity and push our boundaries further.
To me, the process of bringing the Summit to life and what the Summit stands for, only further reinforces one simple fact: the power of technology and innovation, coupled with unique perspectives and voices that could change the nation, can be, and will be, harnessed as a catalyst to drive positive social change.
Australian Citizenship Day  - A History
We celebrate Australian Citizenship Day each year on 17 September.

The Australian Government established the day in 2001 in response to a recommendation by the Australian Citizenship Council in their 2000 report Australian Citizenship for a New Century.

The recommendation came from a proposal of the 1999 National Schools Constitutional Convention that a citizenship day be established to allow all Australians to celebrate their Australian citizenship.

17 September was chosen as Australian Citizenship Day as it is the anniversary of the renaming, in 1973, of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 to the Australian Citizenship Act 1948.

Australian Citizenship Day was first celebrated in 2001.

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world. Since 1949, we have welcomed over five million new citizens to our shores.

Content from the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
International Day of Sign Language

The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 23 September as the International Day of Sign Languages in order to raise awareness of the importance of sign language in the full realization of the human rights of people who are deaf. The International Day of Sign Languages was first celebrated in 2018 as part of the International Week of the Deaf.

In 2020, Auslan interpreters have been front and centre in times of crisis, helping convey information to Australia's Deaf community.

World Mental Health Day
World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10.

It is an international day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.


This year, World Mental Health Day campaign is encouraging everyone to make a promise to “Look after your mental health, Australia.”

"It is a simple call to action for the one in five Australians affected by mental illness annually, and for the many more impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, and the increased uncertainty and anxiety that has ensued over the last six months."

You can make your own Mental Health pledge here -

Vale Susan Ryan


Susan Ryan, pioneering Labor senator and campaigner on discrimination passed away, aged 77 last month. 

In July 2011, Ryan was appointed as Australia's inaugural Age Discrimination Commissioner with the Australian Human Rights Commission for a 5-year term. She was also the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, from 2014 to 2016.
A prominent feminist and human rights campaigner, Ryan was pivotal in the passage of the Sex Discrimination Act and Equal Employment Opportunity and the Affirmative Action Act.
She served as a senator for 12 years, was Labor’s first female cabinet minister, and later held the roles age discrimination commissioner and disability discrimination commissioner.
New Team Member at NEDA

Rikke Brøchner Andersen has recently joined our team, to support work on the National Community Connectors Project.

Rikke holds a master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Southern Denmark. Her degree focused on human rights and the impact inadequate access to proper health care in refugee camps has on the mental health of refugees.

She moved to Australia in 2018 to take up a position at the Danish Embassy.

Rikke has worked at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canberra, with a small team advocating for the rights of refugees and displaced people.

Working closely with former refugees was an eye opener and encouraged Rikke to pursue a work in refugee rights.

Welcome Rikke!

In Other News - Embrace Mental Health webinar
Embrace Multicultural Mental Health (the Embrace Project) is run by Mental Health Australia, in partnership with NEDA, and provides a national focus on mental health and suicide prevention for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. 

The next Community consultation will be held via Zoom for those living in Victoria

This is a free webinar that would benefit community organisations, community leaders, multicultural mental health advocates or anyone interested in this space.

To register, go here. 
National Awards for Disability Leadership
Nominations are open for The National Awards For Disability Leadership 2020!

In 2020, work undertaken to support our community through the pandemic, bushfires and other major disasters is being paid particular attention.

There are seven categories; The Arts, Change Making, Rights Activism, Innovation, Social Impact, Inclusion, and...
The Lesley Hall Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Nominations for 2020 open on 10 June and close at midday on Friday 16 October.

More information here:
Did you Know? 

Women with Disabilities Victoria has collaborated with National Disability Services to develop four short films for disability workers on family violence and disability, helping workers identify and respond to family violence.

To know more, visit this page.

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The National Ethnic Disability Alliance is funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS)

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