First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) has for the last 12 years worked intensely in the space of advocacy on behalf of Aboriginal people with disability, with strong representation and involvement across all spectrums of government policy development to ensure that the unmet needs of Aboriginal people with disability are truly represented.
Aboriginal people with disability would be the most disadvantaged group of Australians today by any account, with the prevalence of disability being twice that of the non–Aboriginal population. This being a conservative result given the lack of data on prevalence of psychological disability and the social factors that contribute to the higher incidence of disability in our communities.
We at FPDN now believe it is time for a call to action in regards to meeting the needs of Aboriginal people with disability, ensuring that National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) quarantine the Aboriginal share of the scheme and this can only be done by establishing an understanding of the Aboriginal market, including reliable prevalence data.
The potential for the NDIS to be a major contributor to support other social issues, such as employment in Aboriginal communities is the catalyst of a social change movement that we at FPDN have advocated for to improve the capacity of individuals and communities across Aboriginal Australia.
Damian Griffis is a descendant of the Worimi people of the Biripi nation. Damian is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia), the National peak organisation representing Aboriginal people with disabilities and their families. He has worked for more than 20 years in various capacities within the disability sector and has been instrumental in consolidating the development of the social movement of Aboriginal people with disabilities. In 2014, Damian was awarded the Australian Human Rights Tony Fitzgerald Memorial Award in recognition of his work as a leading advocate for the rights of Aboriginal people with disability.
Chair: Dr Gianfranco Giuntoli