VCOSS has been funded by Victoria’s Office for Disability’s Disability Advocacy Innovation Fund to facilitate a process to coordinate systemic policy and advocacy advice to the Victorian Government.
VCOSS’ approach recognises and builds on existing efforts within the disability sector in Victoria to advocate for the rights of people with disability.
We are developing a set of actions that could be taken by the Victorian Government to enhance opportunities for people with disability in Victoria.
The development of this platform is occurring in a time of significant change for people with disability across Australia with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and an impending election in Victoria.
This situation provides opportunities for ensuring that the voices of people with disability in Victoria are heard in policy making and program implementation.
The context for people with disability in Victoria
Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Some of these rights are enacted through legislation and national and Statewide plans and strategies including the National Disability Strategy and the Victorian State Disability Plan.
The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the national approach to supporting people with disability, is the most significant social reform in support for people with disability in Australia. The responsibility for the implementation of the NDIS lies with the Federal Government and the NDIS relates primarily to the provision of specialist disability supports.
The Victorian Government is one element of a federal system of government in Australia and has a key role in working with the Federal Government and Local Government to foster change for people with disability by progressing the implementation of the National Disability Strategy and strengthening ties with Local Government. The Victorian Government has primary responsibility for areas such as health, housing, education, child protection, transport and justice – many of which are systems that people with disability interact with daily.
The Victorian Government remains responsible for ensuring that these systems are accessible to people with disability and responsive to their needs.
VCOSS’ project operates within this context, acknowledging the importance of people with disability leading and shaping the decisions that affect their lives. Whilst change for people with disability is a whole of society responsibility, this project will focus on the Victorian Government’s role in improving the lives of people with disability in Victoria and the priorities and actions agreed by organisations that advocate for people with disability.
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Our vision for people with disability
We want an inclusive Victoria where people with disability have the same opportunities as their peers.
We want a Victoria where people with disability:
- Feel part of their communities and can get around easily
- Enjoy the same educational opportunities as their peers
- Have a job that they enjoy which suits their interests and skills
- Are healthy and feel a sense of wellbeing
- Have independent information to make decisions and choices
- Live in a safe and affordable home of their choice
- Understand their rights and responsibilities and have access to justice
- Are supported by specialist disability supports that meet their needs
- Enjoy healthy families, friendships and relationships
- Can represent themselves or be supported to make decisions and choices and influence others.