An open letter to Samantha Conner, people with disability and the community
I understand your concerns about the mixed message over closing of institutions, this is a very important issue and it needs to be urgently addressed.
Let me be clear, the Australian Greens consider this to be a human rights issue.
We agree that institutional models restrict the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities who live there. I have heard time and again the accounts of people with disability who tell me of their distress, isolation and loss of dignity as a result of living in an institution.
We support the Shut In campaign to close institutions and support people with disability to live in the community.
We believe that it is critical to ensure that adequate, affordable, independent housing and individualised support options are available. We must have options available that do not segregate and isolate people with disability. Governments must have transitional arrangements in place to ensure that people with disability are not left homeless when closing these institutions.
Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons is a key principle of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and I believe it must be fundamental in policy and decision making.
I will continue to work with organisations such as PWD and disability advocates to ensure that institutions are a thing of the past and that people with disability have choice and independence.
As a community we are at our best when we embrace our diversity and put in place the supports people need so they can be a part of that community.
Senator Rachel Siewert
Australian Greens Spokesperson on Disability Services.