Date: 
Friday 15 June 2018

At the United Nations in New York, Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin has delivered a statement highlighting housing accessibility and inclusive education as critical issues for people with disability.

Commissioner McEwin told the UN that improving housing accessibility and inclusive education for all is critical to ensuring that no one is left behind through the full implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

“I want to see people with disability live in our communities where they like and with whom they like.  And to have choice and control to live in housing that is accessible in the community.

“To achieve this, I am working with the government, the private sector and community stakeholders to encourage the development of new housing is accessible to all people.

“I also want to see people with disability have access to quality education on an equal basis with other people.

“This is particiulalry important to ensure that our children and young people with disability are not left behind by the education system. I will therefore advocate and work to increase awareness in schools and educational settings about the importance of inclusive education.”

In a statement he delivered on behalf of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Commissioner McEwin also spoke about the importance of the Disability Discrimination Act.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of Australia’s Disability Discrimination Act. The DDA was Australia’s first federal, uniform legislation to recognise the rights of people with disability. It symbolised a major national step towards ensuring that people with disability have the same rights as other citizens.

“Over the past 25 years, the Disability Discrimination Act has been instrumental in social change in a number of areas of life, and has been harnessed by countless individuals with disability to fight against discriminatory practices.

“However, last year I spoke to over 1000 people with disability across Australia about their lives.  I heard that there are many issues still facing people with disability in Australia today.  Amongst the biggest are the issues of housing and education.”

Commissioner McEwin was at the UN’s headquarters in New York for the Eleventh Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.