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International Day of People with Disability

A right to a place to live, learn and work

At the St Vincent de Paul Society we believe every Australian has the right to a place to live, a place to learn and a place to work and we are proud to supportInternational Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) which is being held on 3 December, 2014.

This year the United Nations (UN) has announced the theme of IDPwD as ‘Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology’. The theme acknowledged the role of technology as a way to break down barriers for people with disability and create enabling work environments among a myriad of other benefits.

Gold-medal winning Paralympian, Jacqueline Freney OAM is Patron of the day, which celebrates the contribution of people with a disability. IDPwD also aims to increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability among the wider community.

Vinnies work with people with disability

Our members and volunteers interact with people with disability on a regular basis and in a variety ways. Vinnies is particularly concerned with providing assistance to people with disability who are experiencing homelessness, poverty or unemployment.

In certain states and territories Vinnies also provides specialist disability services and employment options for people living with a disability. Employment creates a sense of self-worth and wellbeing. It provides opportunities for people living with a disability to integrate and socialise with the broader community, breaking down barriers between the two.

For more information about our services visit the Find Help section of this website.

Advocating for change

Vinnies welcomed the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and continues to advocate for measures that address the structural causes of inequality. We advocated strongly against proposed measures in the 2014-15 Budget to move people from a higher to a lower payment. Under the proposed measures, people with disability, and young people on Newstart, risk losing significant income. Some of the key points from Vinnies submission to a Senate Inquiry into the Abbott Government’s budget cuts included:

  • For some people, the move from Disability Support Pension to Newstart or Youth Allowance, will force them to fall back on their families for support. What is far more concerning is the fact that many other young people and people living with a disability will not have families who are able to help them once they lose this large portion of their income. In these cases, it is far from clear where they will turn.
  • Indeed, a single 23-year-old on a disability pension, living out of home, who finds themselves reassessed as a jobseeker and put onto youth allowance, will go from an allowance of $383 a week to just $207 a week. This is a loss of nearly half their income, and will make it impossible to pay their rent and utilities, as well as medical costs associated with their physical or psychological impairments.
  • Additionally the move to jobseeker status will mean that many people with a disability will be forced to meet the same criteria as other jobseekers, in regularly searching for work. Many people with a disability will see their time spent applying for jobs that they will never get, because of limited accessibility (eg to work environments) or discriminatory attitudes of prospective employers. In focusing on the demand-side ‘stick and carrot’, rather than the real issue of a lack of appropriate employment opportunities, the Budget’s reassessment measures do not adequately recognise or respond to the structural barriers to employment faced by people with a disability.

What you can do

About Vinnies

St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation working towards a more just and compassionate society.

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