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Action Plan For Removing Barriers

Auckland People With Disabilities Lead Action Plan For Removing Barriers

Auckland disabled people, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, are hosting a forum in Western Springs today on removing barriers in the work place and other sectors of society.

The forum aims to establish an Auckland-specific action plan to ensure the New Zealand Disability Strategy is implemented in the region.

The Strategy, which was released in April this year, aims to identify ways to remove barriers faced by people with disabilities and to enable them to fully participate in society.

Ministry of Health spokesman Dr Rod Watts said a range of people who have experience with disability will talk about their initial reactions to the draft action plan and offer suggestions on how to achieve a society which doesn't discriminate against people with disabilities.

Dr Watts, Disability Issues Senior Locality Manager, said this would including people from the Auckland Disability Providers Network, Disability Empowerment and Advocacy Services and the Disabled Person's Assembly

"Speakers from a Maori, Pacific, family, employer and employee perspective, each with their own experience of disability, will share their thoughts and give the forum a starting point for discussion on how to ensure disabled people can participate fully in society."

"People with disabilities will then lead group discussions on eight action points outlining the practical steps that need to be taken to improve areas including employment opportunities, living options, and the rights of people with disabilities.

"This forum will help establish an Auckland regional plan for the implementation of the New Zealand Disabilities Strategy. If participants tell us it was successful, a similar forum will be established for Northland," Dr Watts said.

The Auckland forum will involve disability providers, disability advisory support groups and family and whanau as well as people with disabilities.

The eight action points for discussion and an example of practical steps that have to be taken to achieve them are:

Encouraging and educating the public so society is informed and understands disability culture. One way this can be achieved is by ensuring a disabled person is included on employment interview panels.
Ensuring the rights of disabled people are promoted and upheld. This can be achieved by ensuring a complaints process is understood by disabled people using particular services.
Providing employment opportunities for disabled people. This can be achieved by ensuring employment criteria does not disadvantage disabled people.
Foster leadership by disabled people. This can be done by ensuring disabled people are invited to training and education courses with other staff.
Support quality living in the community for disabled people. One way to achieve this is to offer a choice of living and support options for disabled people.
Increase the collection and use of information about disabled people, issues and services.
Promote participation of disabled Maori. This can be done by ensuring that they are included in discussions on policy development and service delivery.
Promote participation of disabled Pacific Peoples. This can be done by ensuring disabled Pacific People can be involved and contribute to various organisations.


The Implementation of the New Zealand Disability Strategy Auckland Regional Forum will be held in Springs Garden Restaurant, 956 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland, Tuesday 30 October 2001, 10am-12.30pm.

ENDS

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