Disability Discrimination Commissioner to be Axed

The recent federal budget has included a few changes that will make a huge difference if they are carried through. As part of the Budget, the position of Disability Discrimination Commissioner, currently filled by Graeme Innes, is expected to be axed. Also to be axed is the incredibly informative ABC Ramp Up website.

Australia's top disability advocate Graeme Innes has warned the Federal Government that the sector will suffer without a dedicated representative. Mr Innes, who is vision impaired, recently told a Senate estimates committee hearing that he works about 60 hours a week and his own disability has been vital to his work as an advocate.

Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs told Senate estimates almost 40% of all complaints to the commission are on the issue of disability discrimination. At the end of the hearing, Mr Innes was applauded and thanked by the committee for his years of work.

For more on the axing of the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, there is an excellent article at ABC Ramp Up at www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2014/05/21/4008282.htm. Graeme Innes has also written a very informative article on the axing at www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/we-need-a-voice-for-people-with-disabilities-20140518-zrfjy.html.

Another program cut in the Budget is the ABC Ramp Up website. The ABC Ramp Up website is a website that collates all the ABCs articles, TV reports, etc on disability into one central place. It also had excellent and informative articles and opinion pieces about issues important to people with a disability.

Ramp Up is providing an important space for people with disability to participate in mainstream media. Under the leadership of editor Stella Young, Ramp Up has instigated, encouraged, and participated in discussions and debate around issues and events important to people with disability, and the broader community.

The federal government has called on the ABC to start funding Ramp Up, however with their recent cuts in funding the ABC may not pick it up. People With Disability Australia (PWDA) have a petition at www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/mark-scott-save-abc-ramp-up calling for Ramp Up to be saved. As of late May more than 15,000 people had signed the petition. PWDA are aiming for 20,000 signatures.

Graeme Innes - Copy