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2011 International Day of People with Disability

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“On the 2011 International Day of People with Disability, I want to applaud some giant steps, at last, in strengthening the rights of people with disability,” said the Acting Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Anne Burgess.

There has been progress, be it ever so slow, in building a community where people with disability can participate fully. But, for many, access has remained out of reach to the very things that are vital to participation – appliances, home modifications, aids, personal care, respite, specialist accommodation support, group homes, domestic assistance, transport and crisis support.

The proposal for a National Disability Insurance Scheme has gathered strong and immediate support. It recognises the rights model, rather than funding more welfare services, which puts people with disability and their families at the centre of decisions about their lives. It’s exciting to think that in a relatively short time this could be a reality.

On the local front, the Community Visitors Scheme promotes openness and transparency in mental health facilities. The Scheme aims to protect the rights of South Australians with mental illness who are admitted to treatment centres. Volunteer community visitors appointed under the Scheme are able to visit and inspect treatment centres, promoting and advocating for the rights of people with mental illness who are receiving treatment and care. “The Scheme is a positive step towards ensuring that people with mental illness who are in a vulnerable position are treated with dignity and respect, and that they have a voice,” said Ms Burgess.

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