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Progress made on disability issues

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Progress made on disability issues

Increased consultation involving people with disabilities, and their growing participation in advisory and reference boards, are two positive trends to emerge from the government’s second report on implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy. The report covers the activities of 10 government departments for the nine months from October 2001 to June 2002.

Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson said today she was pleased with the progress documented in the report.

“Greater participation of people with disabilities in government decision-making is essential. It will contribute to policies that enhance their quality of life, and help achieve our vision of a barrier-free and inclusive society.”

Ms Dyson said the establishment of the Office for Disability Issues inside the Ministry of Social Development last year was another encouraging development.

“The office will work with government departments to implement a more robust evaluation and monitoring framework. This will help ensure they focus on outcomes that make a real difference to the lives of people with disabilities.”

Ruth Dyson said key work areas for 2003 included implementation of the government’s vocational services strategy; transition arrangements for school leavers; access to equipment; reviews of the Building Act and Total Mobility subsidised taxi scheme; introduction of a telephone relay service for Deaf people; and a review of needs assessment and service coordination processes.

The report was tabled in Parliament in December 2002. Ms Dyson said the next annual report would be more comprehensive, covering the work of all government departments and agencies for the 12 months to 30 June 2003.

Copies of ‘Progress in Implementing the New Zealand Disability Strategy: Report of the Minister for Disability Issues to the House of Representatives,1 October 2001 to 30 June 2002’ are available in hard copy, large print, Braille and audiotape from the Office for Disability Issues, MSD, PO Box 12 136, Wellington, phone (04) 916 3300, fax (04) 918 0075, email: odi@msd.govt.nz or on the website: www.odi.govt.nz

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