Media releases

The Senate Inquiry Report on the Purpose, Intent, and Adequacy of the Disability Support Pension, released earlier this week, provides a clear blueprint for reform of a manifestly broken and harmful system, according to the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO).

AFDO thanks the Community Affairs References Committee for their bi-partisan approach in describing the impact on people with disability who interact with Centrelink, and other government agencies, when applying for or receiving a Disability Support Pension.

Over 30 people with disability shared their stories as part of AFDO’s submission to the enquiry, including over a dozen First Nation Australians.  Without exception, their stories told of an often adversarial system that demeans and harms our most vulnerable citizens, on occasion leaving them to die without any support. AFDO acknowledges the generosity and courage of those who shared their experience and in so doing contributed to the Report and its recommendations.

According to AFDO CEO, Ross Joyce, “the sharing of these stories contributes to the strong content of the Report. AFDO and our members urge DSS and Services Australia to adopt the Social Model of Disability, which Australia has signed up to under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, to frame access to the Disability Support Pension”

“This would address the human rights concerns and ensure participation and representation by people with disability in the very mechanism of social inclusion, that is for many, the Disability Support Pension”

All Members of the Community Affairs References Committee signalled support for the recommendations, which set out a clear pathway for reform of the DSP.

In line with international human rights law, AFDO believes the DSP is a crucial mechanism to protect the right to an adequate standard of living, social protection, and social participation. The DSP should be available and accessible to all people with disability who require it, enabling them to have economic security and participate fully in community life.

AFDO and its Member organisations call on the Department to conduct a departmental briefing, across the disability sector, on how the recommendations in the Report will be implemented.  With the Report acknowledging the parlous and harmful nature of the current system to those, it is intended to support, such a briefing would be the first step toward reform.

In an election year, AFDO encourages all political parties and politicians, to work with people with disability, and their representative organisations, to implement the reform agenda contained in the Report to ensure dignity, access and inclusion of all Australians who need the Disability Support Pension.                    


AFDO submissions plus others to Senate Inquiry see:
Part A – The Disability Support Pension: The Impact of Institutional Abuse and Neglect on People with Disability

Part B – Stories from People with Disability and Lived Experience of the Application and Review Process of the Disability Support Pension

Media Contacts

Ross Joyce
Chief Executive Officer 
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)
M: 0402 842 040

For first-hand accounts from people with disability submitted to the enquiry contact:
Patrick McGee
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO)

National Manager (Systemic Advocacy)
M: 0423 301 344

Our Members 

AFDO members logos shown as the following: Arts Access Australia Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia Blind Citizens Australia		Brain Injury Australia Deaf Australia				Deafblind Australia Deafness Forum of Australia		Down Syndrome Australia Disability Justice Australia 		Disability Advocacy Network Australia	 Disability Resources Centre		Enhanced Lifestyles Multiple Sclerosis Australia		National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum  People with Disability WA		People with Disabilities ACT  Polio Australia				Physical Disability Australia Women with Disabilities Victoria	Women with Disabilities ACT  AED Legal Centre 			All Means All Amaze 				Aspergers Victoria Disability Law Queendland		Disability Advocacy & Complaints Service South Australia Leadership Plus			MS Australia  National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder  Star Victoria YDAS – Youth Disability Advocacy Service  TASC National Limited

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