In Australia, disability is a major issue since most people of eighteen years and above are highly affected. From the past, the individuals with disabilities faced discrimination where they could not access equal opportunities like other people such as attending schools or visiting particular places. The actions have changes over the years where they are being granted their rights. According to the disability report of the year 2011 by the World Health Organization, it denotes that reactions towards people with disability in Australia have substantially changed since in the year 1970. It is as a result of the organization recognizing those with disabilities and their increasing tendency to ensure that disability is considered as a human right. This paper, will examine the historical, current social welfare and health trends of people with disability in Australia. It will also identify and analyze the contributors to health and well-being, resilience, vulnerability, and disadvantage towards people with disability. Finally, light will be shed on the recommendations for the future to enable individuals with disabilities to be recognized in the society.
Historically, individuals with disabilities greatly faced marginalization and discrimination in Australia. Most of them did not take part in the activities that occurred in their communities. For instances, individuals in wheelchairs were not granted the opportunities to access to facilities like swimming pools, playgrounds, hotels, cafes, restaurants and cinema halls. For the case of children, they were omitted from attending schools and kindergartens. Also, for those who were competent and qualified candidates for job opportunities, they were never shortlisted due to their disabilities. They correspondingly became frustrated with the problems they underwent when in need of accessing any public transport. Finally, those with disabilities in the past were unable to enjoy the rights to access the technology, Aids, and equipment that were important in their day to day lives. For these reasons, they felt neglected and became frustrated where they ended up dying in the process since they never received support for their necessities and resources to be met.
However, over the years the society began to accept those with disabilities. Currently, most communities in Australia have started providing them with support and services that are essential in their lives. The Australian government has recognized them hence offering them equal opportunities to other individuals. They are also given priorities in workplaces by most institutions. Also, many organizations for helping those with disabilities have been created in the country which frequently provides them with food, clothing, and shelter. For the children who are disabled, they are currently enjoying the rights to education like any other kid. They are provided with braille materials and wheel chairs to enhance their education process (Fisher et al., 2010). Furthermore, in Australia, people with disabilities are enjoying lifetime care where they are offered assistance in their daily life. Lastly, the Australian government has set aside funds that help them in cases where their situation is critical.
Regarding the health trends for the disabilities, it is depicted that the health condition for those with disabilities is on the rising. It, therefore, shows that their health situation has improved tremendously. Also, individuals with mental health are considered to suffer from a smaller amount of psychological stress due to their recognition and affection in the society. Moreover, in the current years, those with disabilities have enjoyed the opportunities of their condition being restored like in the case of those with eye problems due to the advancement of technology. Another trend in health department is that those with disabilities are currently using automatic wheelchairs that they can drive by themselves unlike in the past where another person was forced to drive them. Dramatic infrastructural changes especially availability of medical devices have also been developed. For instance, there has been an increase in the utilization of assistive devices such as wheelchairs and ramps with a decline in the use of personal assistance devices since 1980 to 1990 (Rai, 2016).
In Australia, various contributors have taken part in ensuring that those with the disability enjoy their stay in the country. Firstly, the United Nations has taken part in educating the people and creating awareness to them regarding their rights as human beings with disabilities. Since the Declaration of Rights of Disabled People was started in the year 1974, the United Nations made 1981 to be the transnational year for the disabled people (Rai, 2016). The United Nations also went further through the "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities" to ensure that the general acknowledgment of the rights of individuals with disabilities is covered. The convention, in its article, went ahead to identify the equal rights of the disadvantaged people so that they can live freely in their communities. It included the opportunity to select where they can live and whom they can stay with on the same base with other people. Through this, the disabled were to enjoy community services which would maintain their inclusion and live in the society.
In further attempt to ensure that the disabled in the society enjoyed their rights, the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities employed the Normalization principle which had impacts on the disability policies and provision of services in all parts of Australia. It encouraged making sure that the patterns of life were available to all people who are disabled. It also provided the ways of society or life which included employment, schooling, housing and recreation opportunities. The Social Role Valorization principle also set up by the convention right was to ensure that people with disabilities were to be treated with respect, acceptance, and dignity.
Moreover, the NSW Disability Services in its Act in the year 1993 defined how services for individuals with disabilities ought to be offered by groups sponsored by the government. The law saw the need for the service to be provided in a home surrounding in any particular society. It made the disabled people feel more comfortable since their conditions of living were be improved. Therefore, the NSW Disability Services Standards (DSS) presented to maintain the Act's implementation to offer the best services to the disabled people in Australia.
Another body that influenced the health and well-being for the people with disabilities is the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) through the National Disability Strategy where it accepted to make major reforms of services offered to the disabled people. It aimed at improving the lives of individuals with disabilities as well as their families which included the overall community. Besides, the disabled could also enjoy the rights to economic safety, protection, community and personal support.
In Australia, there have been a series of debates that pertained the health and social welfare of the disabled people. It is because the government considered it sensible to make reforms for the disabled in order for the nation to realize prosperity. Therefore, the debates recommended their policies for the fulfillment of the objective. According to the Business Council of Australia (BCA) in its discussion, it argued that those with disabilities should be considered in contributing to the affluence of the country. It stated that the Disability Support Pension (DSP) is a greater item that was to shift individuals off into acquiring job opportunities hence becoming a valuable objective. It also considered being inappropriate to achieve the idea by abolishing disability pension that is entitled to the disabled individuals (John, 2011). On the other hand, Australian Medical Association (AMA) in its debate had various perspectives regarding disability. It acknowledged the institution of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), a body that is surveyed as the commission of productivity, to always permit individuals with disabilities to constantly take part in the financial and societal life of the country. The body aimed to assist the BCA in realizing its purposes of changing those with the disability from well-being into their efforts minus the overlook of decreasing the entitlements that were already in existence. Therefore, the debate suggested that the NDIS will offer safe funds to the disabled hence enable them to realize support in their working process, education and in instances where they needed to take part in any community activities (John, 2011). Through this, they would enjoy the opportunities of developing into businesses. Regarding the BCA, its arguments ensured that organizations would be able to employ individuals with disabilities. Consequently, from this debates, it depicts that there are great chances for businesses to confirm effective leadership and offer more job opportunities for those who are disabled.
From the above discussions, the National Disability Strategy ought to act as the all-encompassing statement for policy to ensure that priorities for those who are disabled are being identified. The following recommendations should be considered for future social welfare for the disabled. Firstly, there is necessity to increase the economic, social and social participation of individuals with disabilities and their friends and families. For this reason, their self-esteem will increase hence improve the prosperity of the country. There is also a requirement for measures addressing human right abuse and discrimination to be introduced for the disabled to feel appreciated and recognized in the community. Lastly, the disability services need to be improved by introducing sufficient financial system. Through this, the disadvantaged will appreciate the support by the government and communities hence enjoy their stay while acquiring education and other services.
Generally, disability in Australia has transformed over the years. In the past, people with disabilities in Australia were highly disregarded and discriminated. As a result, most of them did not take part in the activities that occurred in their communities. Recently, they have been accepted in most societies where they can enjoy equal rights as other human beings. It has been achieved through various bodies who supported their rights. The health condition for those with disabilities has also rose due to their improved medical attention. Therefore, to ensure that the rights of the people with disabilities are respected even in the future, their services, as well as the rights governing them, need to be amended.
Fisher, K. R., Edwards, R., Gleeson, R., Purcal, C., Sitek, T., Dinning, B. ... & Thompson, D. (2010). Effectiveness of individual funding approaches for disability support.
John D. Bosca. (2011). Disability; now part of mainstream political debate.
Rai, S. (2016). Provisions, Issues, Discussions and Challenges Relating to Disability in Australia, Brazil, Russia and Sweden.
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