NEDA Knows

A Monthly Bulletin

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Issue 15 : May 2020 - June 2020
A Note from our CEO
Hello NEDA Knows Readers,

Today, I want to start my editorial by saying sorry. Sorry to all those who have had to face racism in this country. Sorry to the Chinese Australian community as they continue to face backlash over COVID-19, sorry to my Indigenous Australian friends who continue to face widespread bias and sorry to all those who are still mistreated because of their skin colour, ethnic background, religion or disability.   

I am deeply sorry for all the wrongdoings towards you and sorry that you are facing discrimination in today’s age.

A recent study by Australian National University researcher Siddharth Shirodkar has found that “three-quarters of Australians hold a bias against Indigenous Australians.” The author says the study has revealed the “shocking invisible barrier faced by Indigenous Australians.”

“Australians showed the same level of bias against Indigenous Australians as people held against African Americans in the United States", he said. 

Ironically, the report’s release coincided with the Black Lives Matter protests, which brought thousands of Australians to the streets campaigning for an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody.

This clearly shows that we, as Australians, want to evolve. We can change our internal biases.

Earlier this week, Ms Andrea Mason, a royal commissioner into the Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability urged Indigenous people with a disability to “speak out.”

Ms Mason said the commission wanted to hear what changes were needed to support First Nations people with a disability to ensure they could live "free of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation".

It is an unfortunate fact that First Nations people with a disability face double discrimination, which make them “the most disadvantaged group in Australia.”

Perhaps, the Black Lives Matter movement could be an opportunity for all of us to pause and reflect how we treat one another and how we think about one another. Perhaps, we as a nation can stop and think about how we can be more open, tolerant and inclusive.

Sometimes it can be as simple as being kind to each other.

Stay safe and stay well. If you are feeling particularly overwhelmed with the recent news coverage or the pandemic, it is important to remember that there are lots of organisations and services available to help you, as well as information and advice in different languages.

Thank you.
Dwayne Cranfield

Racism is Never Okay

The first half of 2020 has been difficult for all us. This is a time for us to stop and think about how we can help fight racism in Australia. 
While there has been an increase in racist attacks against the Australian Chinese community, we have also seen Australians come together for the “Black Lives Matter” movement. 
It is important to remember that racism is never okay. Racial discrimination and racial prejudice can be detrimental to the perpetrator, the victim, and the society as a whole.

The Human Rights Commission "investigates and resolves complaints of discrimination and breaches of human rights. You can make a complaint no matter where you live in Australia."

This is a free, impartial and informal service.

To know more, visit

Our Royal Commission - Issues Paper

The latest issues paper released by the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability seeks information about the experiences of First Nations people with disability.
Data shows that a disproportionate number of First Nations people live with a disability or some form of long term health condition. Previous studies and inquiries have found that compared to the general population, First Nations people with disability are more likely to: 
  • have experienced threats of physical violence
  • have poorer health outcomes than other Australians with disability
  • have experienced problems accessing health services
  • have been removed and/or had relatives removed from their family
  • experience high or very high levels of psychological distress
  • be detained due to a cognitive disability, foetal alcohol syndrome or other impairment
  • be reliant on government pensions or allowances as their main source of personal income and less likely to be studying and in jobs. 
Commissioner Andrea Mason OAM is inviting First Nations people with disability, their families, communities and organisations to respond to the issues paper.
More information can be found here.
COVID 19 compounds inequities for children and young people with disability

A new report launched in May 2020 shows the lives of children and young people with disability were thrown into turmoil throughout the last few months, reinforcing the inequalities they already face in accessing essential services, support and their education. 
Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA), the national representative organisation for children and young people with disability, identified that Australia lacked a coherent national response for children and young people with disability in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. While swift responses were formulated in relation to some ‘vulnerable’ groups, for example aged care, there was a gap in relation to children and young people with disability and their families.
Please read the media release for key findings from the new report.

COVID 19 Survey by People with Disability Australia

A new survey conducted in May 2020 and released by People with Disability Australia (PWDA) earlier this month, reveals how difficult COVID-19 has been for many people with disability across Australia.

“Over 90% of people with disability said they had faced increased expenses due to COVID-19,” said El Gibbs, Director, Media and Communications at PWDA. 

“People with disability had higher expenses for food and groceries (58%), healthcare (31%), internet and phone (26%) and sanitising and hygiene equipment (20%).”

Over 200 people responded to the survey, 88% of them people with disability. Survey respondents were from all states and territories, and represented a variety of age groups.

Read the full report here.

Participant Information Access (PAI) Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme has recently launched a new way for participants to access their personal documents.
The Participant Information Access (PIA) Scheme is meant to provide NDIS participants with more accessible, faster, and streamlined way to access their personal information without having to go through the formal FOI process.
The process is through an online form to submit. For more information, please visit this page.
Congratulations to AFDO President
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) President Liz Reid has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her service to people with a disability, to youth, and to social inclusion.

Ms Reid "has spent her life advocating for those who have a limited or no voice and to ensure they have the same rights and freedoms as all Australians."

On behalf of the whole team, we would like to congratulate Ms Reid on this extraordinary achievement and wish her all the very best for the future. 

More on Ms Reid's appointment
New CEO at Mental Health Australia

Mental Health Australia announced highly experienced mental health and policy professional Leanne Beagley as its new Chief Executive Officer earlier this year.

Dr Beagley’s “passion for mental health reform is clear and well established, and through a variety of roles she has made significant contributions to improving mental health outcomes in the community sector, and at a state and national level.”

Dr Beagleay commenced as the CEO of Mental Health Australia end of April 2020.

Welcome Dr Beagley!
We look forward to working with you and reinforcing our partnership with Mental Health Australians, to enhance mental health services for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians.

Finance Officer role at NEDA

We are looking for a Finance Officer, to work on a new project due to start very soon.

This role is based in our office in Canberra and is for a period of 12 months. Please note that due to the current pandemic, some of our team members are working from home.

The project is a joint venture between NEDA, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and our member organisations.

Apply now and join our friendly team. Applications close 4 pm, 19 June 2020.

In other news - 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:
End Child detention Australia Webinar
The End Child Detention Coalition is holding a free webinar, to talk about "how we can ensure that legislation supports an end to child immigration detention."
Tune in at 6pm on June 18 to hear from:
Hayat Akbari, who was detained for over a year as a child and is now an advocate, completing his law degree in Sydney. He is the current Chair of the Youth working group at the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network.
Professor David Isaacs, a paediatrician at the Children's Hospital at Westmead (CHW), Sydney, and Clinical Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Sydney. He is one of several doctors who have worked extensively on Nauru and has first-hand knowledge of the impact of immigration detention on child health and development. 

Alison Battisson, Lawyer and Principal of Human Rights for All, Alison Battisson has represented some of the most notable immigration detention cases held recently in Australia’s high court. She has been a considerable part of ensuring that children should not be in detention, and in this session she analyses why now is a key time.
Register in advance for this webinar:
Did you Know? 

Women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, often financially dependent on their spouses or unable to work due to visa restrictions, are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence. Social isolation plus language and cultural barriers can restrict women from CALD communities from accessing support and legal services.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

In an emergency, call 000.

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

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