Rights & Inclusion Australia (R&IA) is a national Disability Representative Organisation (DRO) promoting the rights and inclusion of people with disability. Founding members of the organisation were involved in the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and R&IA has remained associated with the international movement of people with disability through our acceptance into the Pacific Disability Forum in 2020. Our main areas of focus in Australia are the built environment, accessible housing and achieving equity of inclusion for First Nations people with disability.
News & Updates
3 December 2023 - R&IA's statement to mark International Day of People with Disability
The United Nations theme for IDPwD 2023 is ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for, with and by persons with disabilities.’
Rights & Inclusion Australia (R&IA) calls for a more concerted focus by the Australian Government, in its domestic and international policies, on meeting the 2030 targets of set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and ensuring that no one, including people with disability, is left behind.
R&IA is a national Disability Representative Organisation (DRO) promoting the rights and inclusion of people with disability. Founding members of the organisation were involved in the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and R&IA has remained associated with the international movement of people with disability through our membership of the Pacific Disability Forum since 2020.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are internationally agreed targets to achieve economic improvement globally in a manner that will cause no further damage to the planet, while at the same time ensuring that people most vulnerable to economic changes are not left behind. This includes people with disability for whom the call of “No one left behind” sits alongside “Nothing about us without us” in the pursuit of justice through inclusion and the achievement of the rights outcomes in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
R&IA took part in an Asia-Pacific workshop in Seoul in November 2019 which addressed the intersection of SDG and CRPD goals for countries in the region, and the policy challenges that lay ahead to increase participation and inclusion whilst taking action on climate change.
In May 2023, however, the Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) reported that the 2030 SDG goals are unlikely to be reached, which means that people who are vulnerable to climate and economic change are falling further behind.
On IDPwD 2023 R&IA calls for a greater focus on the SDGs within Australia, to apply to its own citizens as well as in its international aid work, and to use its timeframes to increase the urgency with which we seek to achieve the outcomes stipulated in the CRPD, to which Australia signed up more than 15 years ago. We want to see much stronger alignment of efforts amongst governments and NGOs within the Asia-Pacific region and more broadly internationally, and a strengthening of Australia’s commitment to meeting its requirements under CRPD. Specifically we call for:
- a recognition of the SDGs and CRPD articles as indicators of measure in Australia’s Wellbeing Framework;
- a commitment to gathering data and reporting on Australia’s progress for people with disability against the SDG goals and CRPD articles, which allows international comparison across all signatories to both documents;
- a greater commitment to specific aid and assistance to, and cooperation with, the Asia Pacific region with respect to meeting SDG targets and CRPD articles by 2030;
- an end to the discriminatory practice of denying entry to Australia to migrants and refugees with disability.
R&IA joins with friends and colleagues across the world to mark 3rd December as a unique day of celebration and awareness raising. And in 2023 we especially extend our thoughts to the Organisations of People with Disability (OPDs) and all people with disability in the Pacific Region, as we focus the attention of the international community on the significant challenges posed by the rapid onset of climate change.
1 September 2023 - R&IA submission to NDIS Review
R&IA's detailed submission to the NDIS Review consultation has housing as the principal focus of its 27 recommendations. It also commented on other elements of the operation of the NDIS and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) - in part to address concerns with current operational process, and in part to identify areas of proposed change to facilitate the implementation of the solutions R&IA believes are required in housing and living options areas. The submission also includes interviews and references other submissions that have been made about housing under the NDIS.
27 April 2023 - New Canberra community centre named to recognise Sue Salthouse
The ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Luisa Fearnside and other attendees at the naming ceremony of the new Salthouse Community Centre. 27 April 2023. Image source: ACT Government
R&IA was delighted to be able to attend the formal naming ceremony of the new Salthouse Community Centre in Canberra, on Thursday 27 April. Named to honour recognise Sue Salthouse, a former director of R&IA, 'The Salthouse' is located in Braddon's Haig Park - just to the north of Canberra's CBD.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Sue Salthouse's daughter Luisa Fearnside both spoke at the ceremony, joined by a gathering of Sue's family, friends and colleagues, ACT Government ministers and staff, and others.
From the Chief Minister's media release: "The centre has been named the Salthouse Community Centre to recognise the late Sue Salthouse and her advocacy for people – particularly women – with a disability,” said Chief Minister Andrew Barr.
“Ms Salthouse was awarded the ACT’s 2020 Senior Australian of the Year for this work before sadly passing away in an accident later that year. This inclusive centre in Haig Park is befitting of Sue Salthouse’s important legacy. The accessible building reflects her tireless advocacy for people with a disability and ensures future generations will continue to be touched by her work."
You can read the Chief Minister's media release in full here. The ceremony was also covered on ABC Canberra 7pm News on 27 April.
The Centre will be open for community use from early May.
11 April 2023 - New ABCB Livable Housing Standard documents published, including Voluntary Standard
Two new Livable Housing Standard documents were published by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on 6 April. These are in addition to the ‘ABCB Standard for Livable Housing Design’ published last year. Their publication follows extensive discussions and negotiations. The documents can be accessed online at https://abcb.gov.au/news/2023/new-abcb-support-materials-livable-housing-design-provisions-ncc-2022
The ‘ABCB Handbook for Livable Housing Design’ provides guidance on the NCC requirements for liveable housing design, including the ‘ABCB Standard for Livable Housing Design’; refer: https://abcb.gov.au/resource/handbook/abcb-handbook-livable-housing-design
The ‘ABCB Voluntary Standard for Livable Housing Design: Beyond Minimum’, is a set of non-mandatory technical provisions that if complied with will enable dwellings to better meet the needs of the community, including older people and people with mobility limitations; refer: https://abcb.gov.au/resource/standard/abcb-voluntary-standard-livable-housing-design-beyond-minimum. This Voluntary Standard has been adapted from the ‘Gold’ level provisions of the ‘Livable Housing Design Guidelines’ (LHDG), fourth edition, 2017, which were first published by Livable Housing Australia.
The ‘ABCB Standard for Livable Housing Design’ takes effect for the construction of new dwellings from 1 October 2023 on, with Tasmania implementing from 1 October 2024. Disappointingly, the NSW and Western Australia Labor Governments are not adopting the Standard at this time. R&IA continues to advocate for adoption of the ‘ABCB Standard for Livable Housing Design’ in NSW and WA, as part of the ongoing push for universal housing design.
30 September 2022 - Release of Productivity Commission's Report on Housing and Homelessness Agreement Review
The Productivity Commission has published its Study Report In Need of Repair: The National Housing and Homelessness Agreement. The report examines how well the Australian, State and Territory Governments have achieved the objectives, outcomes and outputs set out in the Agreement, and the suitability of the Agreement for the future. You can access the In Need of Repair: The National Housing and Homelessness Agreement and shorter overview document here.
Importantly, the report makes significant reference to people with disability, and the challenges they disproportionately face due to the current housing crisis in Australia.
31 May 2022 - Sue Salthouse AM’s tireless work further acknowledged through awarding of Honorary Doctorate by University of Canberra
We were delighted to be able to attend a ceremony at the University of Canberra on Wednesday 25 May, where Sue was posthumously awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of her many contributions. The award was received by Sue's daughter Luisa Fearnside. This is the first honorary doctorate conferred posthumously in the University’s 32-year history, and is further to Sue's being awarded as a Member in the general division of the Order of Australia earlier this year. As the University noted, Sue's life was one of dedication, service and commitment to others , whether by supporting individuals through difficult times, mentoring young and emerging leaders or by working for systemic change at local, national and international levels to promote and advance the rights and freedoms of women with disabilities. You can read more of the University's awarding of the honorary doctorate to Sue here.
Please consider subscribing to R&IA’s monthly eNewsletters, and eBulletins. We will send out eBulletins as we have relevant time-bound information to share - this includes discrete eBulletins for the Opening the Door project.
Opening the Door Project
The Opening the Door project aims to support people with disability to achieve choice and control with their housing options. To learn more about the project and to access useful links and resources, go to the Opening the Door project page by clicking on the logo.
Click on the thumbnail below to see the ‘Introduction to the Project’ video. Other project videos can be viewed on the Opening the Door page, including an overview of the Australian housing context.
Building Better Homes - A National Building Code for All Australians
The NSW and WA governments are yet to commit to implementing accessible housing to the new 2022 National Construction Code. This will take effect in other states starting from 1 October 2023. To contact either government to let them know how important accessible housing is for ALL Australians click on the Building Better Homes logo. Rights & Inclusion Australia is an active partner in the Building Better Homes campaign.
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