The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) today welcomed the release of the ACT Government’s COVID-19 Disability Strategy.
The strategy outlines principles, goals and objectives to support people with a disability and the disability sector during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery period.
ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “People with a disability, their families and carers are facing additional challenges because of COVID-19 including barriers to accessing PPE, food, medications and consumables as well as services including healthcare. They are also experiencing rising costs, social isolation and concerns about their personal safety.
“It needs to be said that this strategy is well overdue. The challenges faced by this already vulnerable section of our community during COVID-19 should have been recognised and addressed earlier in this crisis.
“However, we acknowledge the work that Minister Orr has done to develop this strategy. We also note her commitment to seek further advice from people with disability and their advocates as COVID-19 continues and the strategy is implemented.”
Dr Campbell said: “During the COVID-19 crisis, ACTCOSS has been advocating for better access to PPE for disability service providers and their clients. The COVID-19 Disability Strategy states that it will support access to PPE for people with a disability.
“People with a disability face similar challenges around social distancing as those who receive aged care services. The disability sector wants to ensure that it receives the same level of support, information and access to PPE as aged care providers.
“Lack of PPE has caused people with a disability, services and workers to cancel services that are essential to general wellbeing, health and social connection. This is leaving many people at risk.”
Dr Campbell concluded: “The ACT Government’s COVID-19 Disability Strategy is required to ensure the ACT meets its obligations under the UN Convention of the Rights of People with a Disability and its commitments under the National Disability Strategy.
“These obligations are especially relevant during health emergencies such as COVID-19 where people with a disability face discrimination.
“We will work with the ACT Government to ensure the strategy is properly resourced, supported and implemented.”
ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.
Mr Craig Wallace, Policy Manager, ACTCOSS on 0477 200 755
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617.