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Fact Sheets

   An inclusive and equitable NDIS (DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA)    

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Interpreting & translations

People from Non-English Speaking Background and/or Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds living with disability have a right to free access to interpreting and translations; it must be guaranteed that there is no cost shifting of such costs onto individual support packages as part of the new DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA. The residential aged care and the health system already set the precedent of free interpreting and translations to their consumers.

Advocacy – independent & multicultural

Sustainable and adequate funding for advocacy organisations is a paramount need to guarantee systemic advocacy in support of identification and elimination of barriers and to participate in and contribute to monitoring of DisabilityCare Australia. Multicultural disability advocacy must be available to all people from NESB and/or CALD with disability as part of DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA, across all states and territories.

DATA- strategies, measures, reporting

Given that 1 in 4 people with disability is a person from non English speaking background (NESB), it is essential that the new DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA is able to develop a dedicated communication strategy with the multicultural community to ensure that the DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA is accessible and understood by all.

All data that informs and evaluates the DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA must be able to report on first and subsequent generations of people from NESB and/or CALD. Disaggregated data must be available to people with disability and their representative organisations to monitor DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA outcomes.

Dedicated strategies and measures must be put in place prior to the implementation of the DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA to address the current under-utilisation of disability services by people from NESB and/or CALD.

DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA has been launched in NSW, VIC and SA. For further details click here in yet to be identified geographical areas, these launch sites will inform any adjustments required to the DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA. It is essential that a quarter of people in the launch sites will be of NESB and/or CALD to provide evidence based intelligence towards the final DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA; aiming for an equitable and culturally accessible DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA.

Quality frameworks and standards developed for the DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA must be inclusive of cultural competence indicators that can be measured and monitored.

All children with disability must be eligible to the DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA regardless of their parents’ visa category, providing they are reside in Australia long term. Equally, workers on long term visas such as the 457 category must be eligible given their contributions to the Australian society and economy. Uncapping of Carer Visas will alleviate strains on the shortage of disability support workers, especially cultural competent staff.

 Background to DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA

On the 31 July 2011 the Productivity Commission (PC) released the final report of its Inquiry into Disability Care and Support. Since then the Council of Australian Governments welcomed the report and agreed on the need for major reform of disability services in Australia through a National Disability Insurance Scheme (DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA).

 The PC report is clear on its assessment of the current disability support system:

Current disability support arrangements are inequitable, underfunded, fragmented, and inefficient and give people with a disability little choice.

DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA is to be a three tiered system. The first tier includes all of the Australian population as it covers people against the cost of support in the event of disability. The second tier is proposed as an information, and referral service for people with disability and their families.

 The third tier is proposed for people with significant care and support needs which are described as permanent and irreversible, it is to include disability of chronic episodic nature such as significant and enduring psychiatric disability.

 It is estimated that the third tier covers around 470,000 people; NEDA suggests that approximately 120,000 of these will be people from NESB and/or CALD with disability.

The intention of the DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA is to increase choice and control to people with disability and ultimately enhance quality of life. This is to be facilitated through individual packages of support; these packages may be managed by a service provider, a broker, by the person with disability or any combination of the above.

 The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is the national peak organisation representing the rights and interests of people from non-English speaking background with disability, their families and carers throughout Australia.

 DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA in its aim is a great step forward for people with disability in Australia. NEDA believes that access and equity strategies for people from NESB and/or CALD with disability will only be adequate as part of the new DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA if there is a broad campaign with vocal support. We need you to join this campaign.

We encourage you to print this fact sheet and others on our website and take it to your local MP – ask them what they will do to ensure that the DISABILITYCARE AUSTRALIA will be culturally equitable and accessible.

 


Fact Sheet 1: People from NESB with Disability

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One Million PeoplE

One in every four people with disability is a person of either first or second generation Non-English Speaking Background (NESB), representing approximately 1 million people across Australia.

WANT EQUAL PARTICIPATION

People from NESB with disability do not have equal access to services. For example people born in non-English speaking countries with disability are less likely to access support services than people with disability born in English speaking countries. Poor access to services, education and employment opportunities means isolation and marginalisation for many people from NESB with disability, their families and carers.

AND BETTER SERVICES.

The interests of all people in society are best served by establishing equal rights and opportunities for people from NESB with disability, their families and carers. This means building understanding and respect for cultural diversity at individual and systemic levels. .

 

Ethnicity and disability should not be barriers to participation

 The proportion of people born in a non-English speaking country who use Commonwealth State and Territory funded accommodation support and employment services is lower than the proportion of people born in an English speaking country who use these services.

Source: Productivity Commission, Report on Government Services 2007.

Graph Factsheet1

 REMOVE THE BARRIERS

  • provide accessible information informing people from NESB with disability of their rights, entitlements, essential services and support structures available;
  • commit to culturally competent service provision in mainstream and specialist services;
  • provide interpreters and resources to meet community needs;
  • challenge myths, misconceptions and negative stereotypes about disability and ethnicity;
  • provide effective legislative and policy direction and government intervention.

COMMIT TO CHANGE

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is the national peak organisation representing the rights and interests of people from non-English speaking background (NESB) with disability, their families and carers throughout Australia.

Fact Sheet 2: Access to Disability Services for people from Non English Speaking Backgrounds with Disability

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Disability support services enable people with disability to live independently and participate in social and economic life.

 

People from non English Speaking Backgrounds (NESB) with disability face significant barriers to accessing disability services in Australia. The Productivity Commission Report on Government Services 2009 suggests that people from NESB with disability are not using government funded disability services.

Disability support services enable people with disability to live independently and participate in social and economic life.

 

 People from non English Speaking Backgrounds (NESB) with disability face significant barriers to accessing disability services in Australia. The Productivity Commission Report on Government Services 2009 suggests that people from NESB with disability are not using government funded disability services.

 

  •  Accommodation Services provide housing and / or support to people with disability within a residential setting, including group homes, large residential facilities, and some in home support services. People born in a Non English Speaking Country are approximately 4 times less likely to receive accommodation support services than people born in English Speaking Countries. 
  •  Community Support Services provide support for individuals to live independently and include therapy, early intervention and case management. People born in a Non English Speaking Country are approximately 2.5 times less likely to receive community support services than people born in English Speaking Countries. 
  •  Community Access Services provide skills and activities to people with disability including learning and life skills development and recreation / holiday programs. People born in a Non English Speaking Country are approximately 2.5 times less likely to receive community access services than people born in English Speaking Countries. 
  •  Respite Services provide short term breaks for families and carers who support people with disability. Families and carers of people born in a Non English Speaking Country are approximately 3 times less likely to receive respite services than families and carers of people born in English Speaking Countries. 
  •  Employment Services either provide support to individuals to enter the open labour market, or provide employment within a supported environment. People born in a Non English Speaking Country are approximately 2 times less likely to receive employment services than people born in English Speaking Countries.

Participation includes disability, culture and language.

 

Australia has recently ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention urges respect for difference (Article 3), equality before the law (Article 5), freedom from discrimination (Article 5) and recognition and respect for culture and language (Article 30).

Graph Factsheet2

 NEDA urges Australian, State and Territory Governments to take seriously the poor access to disability services for people from NESB with disability by:

  • Prioritising and planning for improved service deliver to people from NESB with disability
  • Ensuring that services are culturally competent and flexible to meet the needs of a diverse community
  • Committing to meeting translating and interpreting needs
  • Developing resources for advocacy and research in order to improve understanding and recognise the rights of people from NESB with disability.

 


Fact Sheet 3: Access to Telecommunications for people from Non English Speaking Backgrounds with Disability

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 Telecommunication services provide vital connectivity and participation for people with disability. However people from Non English Speaking Backgrounds (NESB) with disability face a number of barriers to accessing affordable telecommunications services, and information on specialist equipment and programs.

Contract Complexity and Poor Consumer Protections.

Language barriers can mean that people with low English proficiency can enter contracts without fully comprehending the terms and conditions.

Cultural differences at the point of sale can lead to issues for some NESB consumers: for example impoliteness to strangers is unacceptable in some cultures; as a result, some consumers ‘go along with the sales representative.’ Aggressive sales practices by telemarketing and door to door sales representatives can lead consumers to enter contracts they do not understand or want.

Some people from NESB with disability register for services that they cannot afford in order to address social isolation.

 Lack of Information

Specialised equipment for people with disability, and training on the use of that equipment is highly inconsistent throughout the States and Territories.

Lack of access to interpreter services – for example Translation and Interpreting Service National (TIS) - to assist with negotiating services.

Specialised resources for people with disability, such as a book of common words and phrases used by people with speech impairments, is not easily available in other languages. This can slow down a person’s developmental process as they are unable to express themselves through their first language. In the worst case scenario, this can mean that some people from NESB with disability are denied vital services. 

Telecommunications industry and government staff and representatives are frequently are not aware of the needs of people with disability, particularly those from an NESB background.

Participation includes disability, culture and language.

Case Study 1

  •      A woman from NESB with psychiatric disability approached an advocacy provider to help her extricate herself from a contract she had signed over the telephone, having not fully comprehended the terms and conditions of the contract. The salesperson who had sold her the product had been very polite and obliging, so she felt it would be rude to decline the offer and was embarrassed to ask for further clarification of the contract’s terms and conditions. 

Case Study 2

  • A young man from NESB with an intellectual disability called a sex line that he had seen advertised on television. Not being aware of the huge costs calls to these lines would incur upon him, he made frequent calls to this line. His mother was shocked to receive the bill that month which ran over $1000.00. The family was simply unable to pay the bill.

 Case Study 3

  • An elderly man from NESB had a hearing impairment required some means of communication with the outside world. He had limited English skills, had little family support and was socially isolated and at risk of injury due to his disability and other medical conditions. With the assistance of an advocacy service, the client applied for TTY Super Print Telephone Typewriter. A relay service educator visited the client at home and installed and explained the system. Yet, after a number of unsuccessful and distressing attempts to work with the typewriter and the National Relay Service system, the client decided that the technology was too complex for him to use and cancelled it.  The National Relay Service and the technology was not compatible with his language and no other alternatives were available.

Improve consumer rights for people from NESB with disability

  • more information on telecommunications contracts in community languages
  • free access to telephone interpreting services prior to signing contracts
  • upfront information on contract terms and pricing and clear opt out and cooling off periods, particularly for consumers with low English proficiency
  • training on disability and NESB needs to providers and decision makers
  • provide relevant communications aids and equipment in community languages, such as alphabet and symbol boards
  • ensure that all new telecommunications equipment and services are accessible to all Australians.