We were recently invited to speak to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) about our My Identity, My Choice project and our work supporting LGBTIQA+ clients and staff.
Satu Aho, Disability Rights Adviser and Authorised Program Officer, and Rebecca Feldman, Customer Rights and Empowerment Practitioner, presented to the Committee at Parliament House on 7 November. They spoke about the program, lessons we learned from participants and what disability service providers and the NDIA can take from these insights.
Satu and Rececca highlighted the need for disability service providers and the NDIA to:
- actively signal inclusion and welcome diversity;
- create safe spaces for clients and families to explore identity and choices;
- have workforce and leaders with lived experience including with diverse identities and preferences; and,
- connect staff and clients to external leaders in diverse communities.
Satu stressed that the key first step is for people with disability to have support to explore and shape their identity and narratives.
Rebecca said “We learnt that this work takes time. It does need to be ongoing, Yooralla clients needed time, multiple engagements and creative ways to come into these conversations. We're only at the start of this work, but we know people with disabilities, who are not part of the LGBTIQA+ community, do want to be allies.”
Rebecca and Satu acknowledged the support from the Pride Foundation, Inclusion Melbourne and the Yooralla Foundation for Yooralla to be able to deliver the program, noting that it is often challenging to find funding for capacity building work.
Watch the presentation
You can watch Rebecca and Satu's presentation on the Australian Parliament website at the link below (starting at 9:34) as well as others presenting at the session.
[Content warning: Please note some of the other presentations to the Committee cover topics including violence and abuse. Please reach out for support if this raises issues for you.]