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Media Releases

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.


MEDIA Release April 28, 2016

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) has again been requested to advocate on behalf of another case of discrimination against people living with disability; again involving those people seeking permanent residency.


Deepak Manuel and his family have been denied permanent residency based solely on the disability status of his 5-year-old son who has been diagnosed with Microcephaly.


Children born with Microcephaly have head circumferences smaller than average and affected brain development. NSW doctors say Deepak’s son has a mild to moderate developmental delay.


Suresh Rajan, NEDA President, said “yet again we see this horrid practice of discrimination against people because of their disability. Again I say that this is not the Australian way of the “fair go.” These are people who have lived in Australia and contributed to the social and moral fabric of this country.”


Mr. Rajan continued “Once again we will see a family discriminated against based on disability and with that we will lose another family that has chosen Australia to live. We should be honoured that they wish to live here. Not only do we lose these people but we lose people with valuable skill sets, people who add value to Australia”.


Dwayne Cranfield NEDA CEO stated “Deepak and his family are now forced to leave the country by August of this year. This process has not just cost Deepak and his family their jobs and life in Australia; the application process has also cost them more than $8,000 to date.”


Suresh Rajan added “they are being forced to leave friends, schools, and jobs. This is their life we are talking about. Deepak has even signed a waiver stating that his son will not be a “burden to the community by way of medical costs, but still they must leave”.


“This man has the support of his work colleagues at the Illawarra Hospital where he is employed as a nurse and held in high esteem. This treatment of people living with disability is unjust and unacceptable” said Dwayne Cranfield.


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