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Change to disability laws to improve inclusion and equality

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A new Bill will be introduced to the South Australian Parliament this year in a bid to better promote the interests of people with disability and their equal rights as citizens.

The Disability Inclusion (Review Recommendations) Amendment Bill 2022 will ensure South Australia’s scheme adopts the key recommendations from an independent review of the Disability Inclusion Act 2018.

Held in mid-2022, and involving significant public consultation, the independent review recommended several amendments to the Act, such as:

  • adding new paragraphs to expressly state that people with disability, regardless of age, have a right to be safe and to feel safe, through the provision of appropriate safeguards, information, services, and support
  • including a definition of ‘barrier’ in the context of access and inclusion for people living with disability
  • clarifying the principles of the Act as they relate to people with significant intellectual disability or high levels of vulnerability due to disability
  • enacting provisions currently appearing in the Regulations as provisions in the Act
  • adjusting reporting requirements and timeframes for Inclusive SA and state authority Disability Access and Inclusion Plans (DAIPs).

The draft Bill, along with other operational recommendations made in the review report, is now open for feedback with submissions accepted up to 6 April 2023.

This feedback will be considered ahead of the Bill’s introduction into Parliament later in the year and through a formal review of the Inclusive SA state strategy.

Nat Cook said: These valuable amendments will help us shape disability access and inclusion law and policy that is responsive to the shifting priorities of our disability community.

The purpose of last year’s independent review was to assess how effectively SA’s current laws empower people with disability to live independent and fulfilling lives.

The review found that the Disability Inclusion Act appears to be working well but would benefit from some amendments to enhance the legislation, the Inclusive SA strategy and Disability Access and Inclusion Plans more broadly.

We are listening to the voices of people with lived experiences of disability and taking action to better uphold the rights of the South Australian disability community, now and into the future.

Kwan Leung Chia, GP and member of the Disability Ministerial Advisory Council said: The Amendment Bill is important because it comprehensively defines ‘barrier’ so that any future government or non-governmental initiatives need to do their best to eliminate such barriers to ensure disability access and inclusion.

Through my work as a GP including in the regions, people living with disability need access to inclusive medical, dental and other health services to safeguard their physiological and psychological wellbeing to allow them to fully connect to our society.

Access to inclusive health service is not simply access to health services – inclusive health service takes into account patient factors and makes relevant adjustments accordingly.

In the future, I hope to see more collaboration between the disability inclusion and health sectors, and I am raising the issue of inclusive health care for discussion at the Council.

For more information, visit the YourSAy website at yoursay.sa.gov.au.

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