ADACAS Election Platform 2020

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ACT elections - 28th of September 2020 to 17th October 2020

ADACAS (the ACT Disability Aged and Carer Advocacy Service) calls upon all political parties and candidates to commit to the following:

Emergency Responses

  • Ensure the human rights of people with disability, people with mental ill health, older people and carers are upheld during COVID-19 and other emergencies.


Ø  Maintain a straightforward, reliable and central ACT government coordination structure to ensure that people with disability, people with mental ill health, older people and carers (and the services working with them) can obtain suitable personal and protective equipment (PPE), and equitable and timely access to any supports, services and systems required to be safe and confident during an emergency. At present the needs have included access to necessities of life, healthcare and PPE, during bushfires it was smoke inhalation protections, in other emergencies there might other equipment or support/response needs.

  • Make the commitment to working in partnership with people with disability, mental ill health, older people and carers and with advocacy and representative organisations to plan ahead and ensure good practice in responses to the needs of people with disability, people with mental ill health, older people and carers in case of bushfire or other emergencies.

Health and Mental Health

  • Ensure equitable access to and quality of healthcare for all


Ø  Develop, fund and implement a Disability Health Strategy that is co-designed by people with disabilities (in line with similar requests also from ACTCOSS, Women With Disabilities ACT, and Advocacy for Inclusion).

  • Deliver a mental health system that that provides quality, recovery-focused early support, ongoing and acute care services, that are available when and as needed, and work for everyone.


Ø  Increase provision of services to match the volume of demand


Ø  Increase availability of early intervention and ongoing support services, also mental health acute care beds.


Ø  Increase access to and the volume and duration of support services for people with complex mental ill health, also for people with suicidal ideation and those who have attempted suicide.


Ø  Ensure adequate levels of both well-being and mental health supports are available to older people living in residential aged care in the ACT.

Child Protection

  • Develop and implement a child protection system that operates in line with restorative practice principles and achieves transformative change.


Ø  Invest strongly in early support and fund tailored assistance for families in situations where CYPS is or might become involved. Early supports should be identified as part of a family-led process, and could involve respite, supports for parents, therapeutic supports etc.


Ø  Ensure that reasonable adjustments are being made to process and approach in all situations where a parent in contact with child protection has (or may have) a disability and/or mental ill health.


Ø  Commit to funding individual advocacy support and legal representation for parents with disability, parents with mental ill health, youth and children where there is CYPS involvement, through the entire CYPS processes (including legal processes when applicable), as per the joint budget submission by ADACAS and Advocacy for Inclusion.


Ø  Fully implement the recommendations of the Our Booris, Our Way reports.


Ø  Publish de-identified data annually about the demographics of families in contact with child protection services (including whether or not parents have disability and/or mental ill health) and clearly identify the responses being taken to ensure that any over-representation of parents with disability and parents with mental ill health in contact with child protection processes are being addressed; and that family preservation for parents with disability and parents with mental ill health is being supported to the greatest extent possible.

  • Reform the CYPS internal and external review mechanisms


Ø  Re-design both the internal and external review procedures to embed restorative principles.


Ø  Update policies to include the right to independent support and provide sufficient funding to allow for all participants in CYPS processes to have independent support throughout.


Ø  Set up a multidisciplinary external review panel that includes a person with disability with lived experience of the child protection system, and where there is shared expertise in human rights, procedural fairness, natural justice, restorative practice, mental health, disability, and making reasonable adjustments.

Rights and Justice


  • Increase access to rights and justice for people with disability, people with mental ill health, older people and carers.


Ø  Ensure that Access and Inclusion plans (co-designed with people with disability) are implemented across all government departments.


Ø  Commit to fully funding and implementing ACT government responsibilities under strategies, including the National Disability Strategy (priorities under the current and upcoming strategies), Disability Justice Strategy, and the Carers Strategy etc


Ø  Fully fund the implementation of (including services and supports to accompany) legislation, such as the Crimes (offences against vulnerable people) legislation.


Ø  Maintain and increase funding for the ACT Community Assistance and Support Program (CASP) for people with disability/health issues/ mental ill health who are not eligible for the NDIS or other services.

  • Invest in independent advocacy funding as a safeguard for rights.


Ø  Increase funding for individual advocacy to help people negotiate entry to and resolve issues with the NDIS (also with other issues as needed).


Ø  Boost funding for individual advocacy across all areas of advocacy. As established by a cost benefit analysis - every dollar used by Australia’s independent disability advocacy agencies
delivers $3.50 in benefits.

  • Fund a project to improve access to support and safety for people with disability and people with mental ill health experiencing violence or abuse. This project should include:


Ø  two new senior positions: a person with disability expertise placed in specialist violence intervention service/s and a person with family and domestic violence expertise placed in a systemic disability advocacy service (that focuses on working with women) and:


Ø  a steering group which includes people with disability who have experienced violence/abuse and


Ø  brokerage and case management funding

  • Commit to fully implementing the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and to working closely with ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to achieve this and in responding to all the target areas including high priorities such as incarceration and housing.

Housing and Homelessness

  • Markedly increase investment in public, community and ‘affordable rental’ housing and treat it as infrastructure vital to the health and wellbeing of the community.


Ø  Infrastructure investment by the ACT government should prioritise short and long-term investment in housing as a component of a revised infrastructure plan.


Ø  Prioritise investment in the provision of public, community and ‘affordable rental housing’ early in the next parliamentary term, to meet existing and projected demand, starting by increasing the available housing stock by at least 250 properties a year over the next 4 years.

  • Commit to adopting construction regulations requiring all new residential properties being built in the ACT to meet universal design standards (a minimum of Livable Housing Design Guidelines Gold Standard), so that all new housing is designed to meet the needs of the community and can be accessible to everyone, regardless of age, disability or other factors. Commit also to supporting the same reforms being incorporated into the National Construction Code.
  • Develop a subsidy program or alternate mechanism to encourage additional availability of rental properties that are accessible to Livable Housing Design Guidelines Gold standard.
  • Strongly increase investment in housing first programs and homelessness response services commensurate with the level of need.
  • Invest in and significantly expand the availability of suitable accessible crisis, refuge and emergency housing options for people experiencing violence or abuse including people with disability, [eople experiencing mental ill health, older people and carers. (In line with calls from YWCA and WWDACT)

Authorised by Michael Bleasdale on behalf of the ACT Disability Aged and Carer Advocacy Service Inc (ADACAS) (September 2020)

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