Submission on the National Disability Advocacy Framework

Submission on the National Disability Advocacy Framework thumbnail.

Down Syndrome NSW recently input into the draft National Disability Advocacy Framework (NDAF), developed by the Department of Social Services (DSS) to underpin the shared commitment between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to develop a nationally consistent framework for all types of advocacy – disability, systemic, individual, self.

Following on from the 2012 National Disability Advocacy Framework, this draft presents an opportunity to better align the principles, outcomes and overarching objective with current day needs of people with disability, their families and carers. Central to this is the role advocacy organisations like Down Syndrome NSW play in ensuring the voices of all people with disability are heard, in line with the intent of the NDAF.

In a world that is becoming increasingly homogenised, Down Syndrome NSW plays a key role in supporting, informing and advocating for people with Down syndrome, their families and carers. Our community shares unique experiences, synergies and a strong sense of connection. From our over 40 years in the advocacy space, it continues to be clear to us (if not increasingly clear in recent years) of the need for diagnosis/disability-specific expertise and advocacy. To strengthen this further, in attending the consultations it was clear that people with disabilities other than Down syndrome, their families and carers have often found it difficult to secure advocacy that understands and is tailored to their needs as they do not have access to disability-specific advocacy organisations.

Down Syndrome NSW supports the draft NDAF and looks forward to seeing the supporting workplan that will bring the framework to life, coupled with robust transparent reporting and accountability. In this, we would hope the principles enshrined in the social model of disability are adopted to ensure that there is a responsibility on government, agencies, organisations and communities to actively include and support people with disability and enact change, rather than simply expecting people with disability to fight to have a voice with little or no impact. We advocate for a holistic approach to the full ecosystem of change.

In canvassing the views our members, attending consultations in NSW and drawing on our expertise, we provided written feedback in relation to the NDAF to ensure it best enshrines what high quality, representative and equitable advocacy aspirations for all Australians with disability.

Read the Submission Online (pdf)