Why does it matter?
At Purple Orange we hope our work assists people living with disability to find their voice and claim their life chances. And we hope our work helps government, community and private sector leaders to rise in support of inclusion.
Why does this matter? It matters because people matter. Whatever our personal circumstances, we are likely to have common goals in our lives: goals about being healthy, happy, being loved, having freedom, feeling safe, being able to afford the things we want to do, having family, friends, learning new things, and feeling a sense of belonging in our neighbourhoods and communities.
But many people living with disability do not have a fair go at these things. Because of other people’s attitudes, expectations, and the way support services are arranged, people living with disability are routinely excluded from the opportunities most Australians would expect for themselves.
This means a person living with disability is more likely to have gone to a different school to the other kids in their neighbourhood, to be unemployed, to be on a low income, to be living with someone they didn’t choose to live with, to have fewer friends, to have higher essential costs of living, to encounter more access barriers, and to be vulnerable to harm from others.
We don’t think it has to be this way. We also don’t think the NDIS is the cure-all, that will fix these problems. After all, at its core the NDIS is currently a system for assessing and funding formal supports. It takes much more than that to address these problems.
All of Australia’s mainstream public services, private industry and community endeavours need to be accessible to, and inclusive of, people living with disability. And every Australian needs to find inclusion in their heart and in their actions, in whatever role brings them into community life, be it neighbour, co-worker, club member, shopper, bystander.
Because disability is about humanity and diversity; if we get that right, everyone benefits.