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Australia's first national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability was launched in Sydney on Friday (30 March 2012) by the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Jan McLucas.
Senator McLucas said the Australian Government is investing $163,000 in ongoing annual funding as well as $10,000 for the launch of the new peak body known as the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia).
'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are about twice as likely as non-Indigenous people to have a disability or long-term health condition,' Senator McLucas said.
'It is essential that the unique needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability have strong representation, particularly as we prepare for reform in the way we deliver disability care and support in Australia.
'As we progress major national reforms like the National disability insurance scheme and the National disability strategy, we need to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are part of the discussion.'
The Network will work as a conduit between the Australian Government and its members on issues and policies affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their communities.
They will bring people with disability together to share their unique experiences, provide support, and be a voice for positive change on issues of concern.
'The Australian Government is committed to supporting people with disability and their families and carers to share in the same opportunities as all Australians, and to participate fully in the economy and community life.
'That's why we have started work on building the foundation of a National disability insurance scheme that will give people with disability, their family and their carers, the kind of support they are crying out for.
'It will help overcome the "double disadvantage" Aboriginal Australians face in trying to get a fair go.'
Source: Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers