MEDIA Release May 19, 2016

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is again disappointed by recent comments made by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Mr. Peter Dutton.


Minister Dutton, linked Australia’s humanitarian refugee intake to higher unemployment rates and went on to say that most refugees were illiterate in their language, let alone English.


These comments came in response to the call from the Greens to increase our humanitarian refugee intake to 50,000 in the wake of the global crisis.


NEDA President Suresh Rajan stated “I am disgusted that this Government continues to play wedge politics with some of the most vulnerable people in society. This Minister has continued to engage in dog-whistle politics. At its worst this panders to the extreme right and those people who are ill-informed as to the nature and the realities that refugees face. We must also remember that many Australians are from a refugee background, for example, people such as Frank Lowy and Dr. Karl came to Australia as refugees and have gained statuses as eminent citizens”.


Dwayne Cranfield NEDA CEO stated that “this shows just how ill-informed Minister Dutton is, his ignorance with regard to the educational standards and the capacity of refugees to contribute, is just astounding”.


NEDA echoes the calls of like-minded NGO’s in the sector, urging our political leaders to have a more rational and open discussion based on facts, our human rights obligations, and not wedge politics that incite fear. “Like all societies, people have varied skills and abilities: however we all aim to strive to the best of our abilities,” stated Dwayne Cranfield CEO.


Suresh Rajan NEDA President continued “it’s difficult not to be cynical given that we have just entered an election cycle; these comments seem to be aimed at those in the community who have a bias against immigration and Islam. It would seem that the only purpose of this type of comment by the Minister is to gain votes by being divisive”.


“The Liberals are not the only party playing this card,” said the NEDA President. ”We have seen this type of conduct and wedge politics from successive Governments, on both sides, and it must stop.”


NEDA supports the comments of FECCA’s Chairperson Joe Caputo who said, “At FECCA we are calling for the discussion to be brought within the bounds of acceptable discourse.” 


“Immigration enriches the Australian culture. These people bring with them skill-sets and cultural experiences that broaden the life experience of us all. When will we see their contribution to Australian society and not view them as a burden?” stated the NEDA President.


For further information, please contact NEDA CEO Mr. Dwayne Cranfield on 02 62626867 or NEDA President Mr. Suresh Rajan on 0413436001.                                 @NEDA_PeakBody                                                           



MEDIA Release May 6, 2016








Australian Cross Disability Alliance welcomes new Commissioners

The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) congratulates the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC for the appointment of three new Commissioners to the Australian Human Rights Commission. We particularly welcome the reinstatement of a dedicated Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

ACDA looks forward to working with all three new Commissioners to progress the rights of people with disability:

  • Mr Alistair McEwin as Disability Discrimination Commissioner
  • The Hon Dr Kay Paterson as Age Discrimination Commissioner
  • Mr Edward Santow as Human Rights Commissioner

ACDA spokespeople made the following comments regarding these announcements:

Mr Suresh Rajan, President of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) said, “We applaud this announcement at a time when the national disability landscape is undergoing such significant change with the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and when people with disability are under increasing pressure to find and keep work. A dedicated full-time Disability Discrimination Commissioner is critical to identify and address systemic disability discrimination and to promote public dialogue on issues and concerns for people with disability.”

Ms Gayle Rankine, Chairperson of First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN) said, “Addressing violence against people with disability, removing barriers to accessing justice, and improving social and economic inclusion by addressing discrimination in transport, housing, education, employment and health are crucial issues requiring coordinated high-level national leadership.”

Mr Craig Wallace, President of People with Disability Australia (PWDA) said, “We particularly congratulate Mr Alistair McEwan, who is well known to us at PWDA as a former CEO of our organisation. Alastair is a strong choice, and is a great advocate for the rights of people with disability. We very much look forward to working with all three new Commissioners in progressing the human rights of all people with disability.”      

Media Contact

Craig Wallace 0413 135 731
President, People with Disability Australia (PWDA)

The Australian Cross Disability Alliance is an alliance of four national Disabled People’s Organisations (organisations made up of and led by people with disability). The ACDA was founded by, and is made up of the First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDNA) representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) representing people with disability from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, People with Disability Australia (PWDA) a national cross disability organisation and Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA), the national organisation representing women and girls with disability.

People with Disability Australia (PWDA)

First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN)

National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)


MEDIA Release May 5, 2016

Don’t remove social welfare support to fund the NDIS

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) welcomes the Government’s continued commitment to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). However, we are startled to learn that it is cutting social welfare to fund it. Additionally, NEDA is disappointed that the budget delivers very little for culturally and linguistically diverse people (CaLD) with disability, outside of the NDIS.

Yesterday’s budget revealed that savings arising from the reassessment of 90,000 Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients (over the next 3 years) will be redirected into the NDIS Savings Fund. Exactly how this assessment of some of our most vulnerable people will occur, including who will be selected appears punitive and remains unclear.


“The assumption that there’s a large cohort of people on the DSP who shouldn’t be is just false, and is contradicted by evidence”, said NEDA CEO Dwayne Cranfield.


”Government can’t assume that employment opportunities will be available to people with disability, let alone the CaLD community. The Willing to Work Inquiry report has shown that job opportunities for the disability community are near to non-existent. ‘These measures will place CaLD people with disability at significant risk of financial vulnerability and poverty, resulting in further marginalisation,' continued Mr. Cranfield.


“We need to remember that although the NDIS will provide people with their much-needed disability related supports, the DSP is a vital welfare payment for people with disability. It ensures they have a minimum safety net to pay for their everyday living, such as rent, food, and bills, etc,” stated NEDA President Suresh Rajan.


“People with disability need both the NDIS and DSP to go about their everyday life,' said Mr. Suresh Rajan. ‘Linking the NDIS savings fund with cuts in welfare spending is astounding, and frankly, a very bad decision,” continued Mr. Rajan.


NEDA does welcome a handful of specific budget measures, such as the creation of the PaTH employment program for young people, an additional $10.9 million over 3 years to support recently arrived humanitarian entrants, and the increased funding measures for veteran mental health and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder health care.


However, it appears CaLD people with disability were again overlooked in this budget. “I take this opportunity to remind the government of its commitments as set out in the National Disability Strategy,” said NEDA President Suresh Rajan. “We need to see proactive policy initiatives being implemented in other portfolios, outside of the NDIS, that work to promote the full social, cultural and economic participation of all people with disability”.


For further information, please contact NEDA CEO Mr. Dwayne Cranfield on: 02 62626867 or NEDA President Mr. Suresh Rajan on: 0413436001.