At the federal election, the move away from the major parties and towards the till independence was significant.
It was clear that the Australian community had had enough of empty party rhetoric about issues key to them and want some real change about core issues – namely climate change, integrity, and gender equality.
But another failing system was largely put to the back burner. That system is disability.
So, it makes me ask: “Where are all the teals for disability?”
With state government largely abdicating their responsibilities for disability (particularly here in WA) the federal government (both persuasions) appearing to be more focused on cost than on people and the agency charged with running the system following into the traditional path of bureaucratic speak (meaning all talk and positive no action except providing thousands of public servants with jobs) it is little wonder that people relying on the disability system are reporting more issues than ever.
To say the NDIS is failing many western Australians is the understatement of 2022.
Western Australia used to have the best disability system in the country.
But rather than keeping the bits that worked and being part of the national system for the parts that needed improvement the decision was made to throw all of our taxpayer funded eggs into one basket.
Now those eggs have been broken.
More families are despondent about the NDIS than ever before and unfortunately recent decisions such as Active’s are likely to happen more often.
Yet the heart rate continues for those who are left behind to pick up the pieces.
Despite there being hundreds of thousands of western Australians impacted by the systems failures there have been no tears for disability.
Until now. In 2021 a small group of people representing all parts of the disability ecosystem came together to make some change.
Unique in its evolution the disability assembly of WA involves people with disability, families, carers, advocates, providers, all coming together to have their say to demand improvements to the system.
Their stories are powerful, but not heard; their voices have been muffled by the inadequacies of the system they have to wade through each day.
On July 29, 2020, the first Disability Assembly Summit will take place in Perth.
The first of its kind for disability in Australia the summit will be themed around disability employment a very topical discussion.
It will give the voices to those people who had the most impactful an insightful things to say – those people impacted directly by a faulty system it will show the government and its agencies that there are ways of getting better outcomes.
Let’s hope they listen.
They say it is often the darkest before the dawn and, when it comes to the disability system it is pretty dark right now.
But I can’t help but think that the dawn is starting to break. Mark Fitzpatrick is chief executive of telephone speech and hearing.
This article was published in the West Australian on 5 July 2022.