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International Day of People with Disability - 3rd December 2013

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Today, on the 2013 International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), it is important to recognise the progress being made towards people with disability participating fully in all areas of life, but also look at the steps that still need to be taken. The theme for IDPwD in 2013 (the 21st anniversary of International Day of Persons with disability) is Break barriers and open doors: to realise an inclusive society for all!

The rollout of DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme, promises to improve choices for people with disability, their families and carers, and provide supports they need to live life their way, to achieve their goals, and participate in social and economic life. In South Australia, the Disability Services (Rights, Protection and Inclusion) Amendment Act 2013 will also come into operation before the end of the year. The Act will enable people with disability to exercise greater choice and control over their lives and enhance protection of their rights in relation to disability services.

However, at the Equal Opportunity Commission, disability discrimination is still the most common type of discrimination reported to us. Last year, 39% of all complaints and 27% of enquires related to disability. Of disability complaints, 46% were about goods and services and 43% were in employment.

Discrimination reported included being dismissed, being denied services / refused entry, failure to accommodate the complainant’s disability, accessibility issues, and bullying.

So, on IDPwD, I urge all South Australians to think about what they can do to ‘break barriers and open doors’, whether it be at work, in providing goods and services, in education, or in the community.

Anne Gale
Commissioner for Equal Opportunity