In climate disasters, research shows people with disabilities are four times more likely to die. The vulnerability of such community members was discussed at a recent disability and climate change workshop held by council. Disability advocates Lefa Singleton Norton, Jax Brown and Heather Lawson proposed solutions to better include people with a disability in the discussion around climate adaptation.
After being evicted from her short-term accommodation to make way for tourists, flood victim Margaret was left with nowhere else to go. “I would have been homeless, living out of my car with two dogs,” the 79-year-old said. After panicking all afternoon about where she would end up, Margaret, who asked that her surname not … Continued
A coalition of 40 disability rights and advocacy organisations has endorsed an open letter to politicians running in the 2022 election, that demands a new approach to ensuring better safety and wellbeing for people living with a disability during natural disasters.
This user-friendly guide identifies key disaster recovery stakeholders and outlines their roles and responsibilities. There are also useful tools, links and resources to help organisations navigate their recovery journey by exploring collaborative opportunities and contributing to local processes.
The group also criticised the government’s decision to make National Disability Insurance Scheme participants use their core funding to purchase RATs for themselves and their support workers. The groups said that this was unacceptable.
The Australian Government has commenced distributing 1.2 million rapid antigen tests to high risk residential disability care settings, with five million test kits to be delivered by June this year. “Initial deliveries are being distributed to SIL providers with three or more participants while work is underway to identify the best distribution points for smaller providers,” Minister Reynolds said.
For many, getting access to a rapid antigen test has been a major challenge. But for those who are vision impaired, using at-home tests is near impossible.
Covid in Australia, every day is a game of figuring out who is least likely to kill me George Taleporos
And now we’ve had Omicron ripping through our nation, causing mayhem for disabled people who rely on others for daily assistance. January has been a nightmare – battling to get our hands on RATs and N95/P2 masks, rearranging shifts because staff have tested positive, and playing the “who hasn’t got Covid” shuffle.
They are the only two staff supporting six residents, who have all tested positive to COVID-19 themselves after being exposed to a case during a one-day program last week.
If we don’t recognize and deliberately steer away from ableism in responding to Covid-19, the pandemic will never really end for people with disabilities. Instead of being a two or three year crisis to look back on, Covid could be a major setback for disability rights and justice, and result in a permanent loss of safety and mobility for people with disabilities.
“However, we’re concerned that the government is requiring NDIS participants to source their own RATs and to spend their core funding. This funding is already allocated to pay for reasonable and necessary disability supports,” PWDA said.
Labor’s disability spokesman Bill Shorten said it was “absurd” the government was asking Australians with disabilities to dip into their NDIS funding, and line up with members of the public to buy rapid tests.
The continuation of supports remains one of the biggest challenges for the disability sector. Many providers are increasingly worried about how they are going to continue delivering essential services with so many of their employees unable to work. Meanwhile, people with disability are anxious about what will happen with their disability supports if they or their regular support worker test positive for COVID.
National disability insurance scheme participants will be able to dip into their core funding to purchase rapid antigen tests for themselves and their support workers, but critics have warned the change is still inadequate.
Experts call for a change of course on COVID, with urgent recommendations for care of people with disabilities
On 30 December, a senior psychiatrist tweeted out her frustration at mismanagement of the COVID pandemic in Australia using the “#LetItRip” hashtag. “Australia is a failing nation state with no leadership, accountability, provision of basic services or public health. Any wonder we are disillusioned,” said Professor Louise Newman, a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne.