Our community has united in an unprecedented way to make sure that Canberrans in need are supported through challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This is something every Canberran should be proud of.
However, there is still room for growth, particularly when we look at the injustices and unique challenges Canberrans with disability face.
The community has actively engaged and co-designed with the ACT Government over the past few months. Together, we have hosted several roundtables to discuss matters such as the impact that the single-use plastics ban will have on the community.
Collaboration has been critical for the roll out of the ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy and ACT Disability Justice Strategy.
We know that people with disability, their families, and carers needed additional support following a significantly challenging time. That’s why we have supported over 300 Canberrans through the Respite and Recovery Grants, delivering $150,000 to address some of these challenges such as isolation, financial pressures and stress.
Support is responsive to individuals’ needs and varies from alleviating financial stress like paying bills, getting help in the garden, reengage with community activities and to purchase technology to support better communication and active engagement with friends and community.
However, this is just one example. We must continue to find ways to support the wellbeing and resilience of people with disability across the community to create a more inclusive and better normal. This can be seen in the work ACT Health has done to make COVID-19 vaccines accessible for people with disability at the Garran Surge Centre.
To get there, we must co-design with people with disability and sector stakeholders.
Unfortunately, we are hearing more instances of how people with disability are being excluded from conversations around programs that support them such as the 1A vaccine rollout in residential care and changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
People with disability and the people that support them have been clear, they want to participate in the decision-making process. These issues impact their everyday living and they must be involved from the start.
To every Canberran with disability; you do have a voice and we will continue working with you in shaping better outcomes for our future. I will be here with you the whole way and will continue to amplify your voices. Your involvement will help create a more inclusive, accessible, and better Canberra.