20 December 2022
The Disability Royal Commission held a five-day public hearing in Brisbane to explore what needs to be done to create a more inclusive society, one that supports Australians with disability from all walks of life.
The hearing known as Public hearing 31, included evidence from people with disability, academics, experts, organisations, and advocates covering the following topics:
• Co-design, consultation, and disability leadership
• Challenging ableist attitudes and behaviours
• Universal design, accessibility, and technological innovation
• The power of media, sports, and community representation
• Reforming mainstream systems and services to be more accessible and inclusive
The Royal Commission heard from witnesses such as award-winning actress and advocate Chloe Hayden and the 2022 Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott, as well as representatives from the Australian Government and the Queensland government about their respective actions to implement the Australian Disability Strategy.
Australian of the Year (2022) Dylan Alcott commented “it's not broken — it's bloody great" referring to the NDIS.
"[NDIS funding] is not so we can drive nice cars," he told the hearing. “It's so people with disability can have a shower, get out of aged care facilities and … get the support in their home so they can get out and do whatever they want to do and start working."
The disability community have spoken out many times about the public commentary being routinely focused on the costs of the NDIS rather than the benefits to participants and the economy.
"If we as a society constantly read the negative things about it, it becomes a negative scheme and it is not," Dylan Alcott said.
"It can be very, very, very dangerous, because it paints us as people with disability, on the NDIS … as bludgers … getting handouts, taking the money … and it's just not true.
"It's an investment in our economy to increase the productivity of this country. That's why the NDIS was created."
Sharing Dylan Alcott’s views, actress and advocate Chloe Hayden had this to say, “It is so important that young people grow up seeing themselves as disabled and not wishing that they could change, but simply existing and understanding that they are supposed to exist,”
“It would be so wonderful to get to a point in our society where representation isn’t even a word anymore because it’s so normal.”
“Disabled people have to be in the room; if you’re only using disabled people as your box ticked, that’s not representation,” she said.
In the three and a half years since it began, the royal commission have heard stories from thousands of people with disability, many of those stories horrific and shocking.
The final report is set to be delivered to the government in September next year.