A coalition of 40 leading disability rights and advocacy organisations has endorsed a pre-election open letter to politicians across the country demanding a new approach and more resources for improving disaster and emergency responses for people with disabilities.
In the wake of two years of rolling calamities, the letter outlines a series of key outcomes being sought by the disability sector to develop planning, programs and services that will better prioritise the needs of people with disability during floods, bushfires, cyclones, droughts and pandemics.
Developed by the Queenslanders With Disability Network and national peak disability rights and advocacy organisation People With Disability Australia, the open letter is targeting all parties and candidates contesting the upcoming federal election.
The letter calls for no Australian to be left behind during disasters and emergencies, noting that the Disability Royal Commission has stated that that people with disability are at much greater risk of neglect during emergencies, as evidenced by lack of prioritisation and equitable support during a string of recent catastrophes including the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent floods in South East Queensland and Northern NSW.
The letter calls for urgent and immediate action, investment, and commitment to a national approach to improve the safety and wellbeing of Australians with disability before, during and after a disaster or emergency.
This includes the development of a national plan and roadmap to deliver on disability inclusive disaster preparedness, resilience and recovery, as well as investment for multi-sector targeted responses underpinned by collaborative and inclusive research.