I was invited to officially launch Campaign Enable, a group established through the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, which aims to enable all people to participate within society.

Alex Makin at the launch of Campaign Enable

Campaign Enable marks a turning point in advocacy with the campaign being managed, organised and conducted by people with a disability.

At a national level Campaign Enable aims to achieve the following three goals:

  • Financial help for people with a disability looking for work or trying to keep a job.
  • The development of a National Disability Employment Strategy.
  • The introduction of an Access to Premises Standard.

While these areas are not the only issues that require attention, they are examples of where a national approach is required. Campaign Enable is not a campaign for special treatment – it is a campaign about ensuring that everyone has equal access about inclusiveness within society.

For further information on the Home
Australian Federation of Disability Organisations please visit www.afdo.org.au.

Please continue reading to view a copy of the speech I delivered for Campaign Enable.

It is with great pleasure that I am able to address the launch of Campaign Enable here in Ringwood in the marginal federal electorate of Deakin. I would like to thank the attendees here this morning for taking the time to attend this rally and for showing your support to Campaign Enable.

Campaign Enable, through the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and Australia Fair, marks a turning point in advocacy with the campaign being managed, organised and conducted by people with a disability.

Campaign Enable aims to achieve just that – to enable all people the ability to be able to fully participate within society. To achieve this objective there are three key priorities for the upcoming Federal election:

  • Financial help for people with a disability looking for work or trying to keep a job.
    This will ensure that people with disabilities have the support necessary to be able to find work and to stay employed.
  • The development of a National Disability Employment Strategy.
    A National Disability Employment Strategy would provide Federal leadership in addressing employment issues that relate to people with disabilities. This a critical area for national leadership — since in the last 10 to 15 years the numbers of people with disabilities employed in the Commonwealth public service has halved.
    Government needs to lead in this area to demonstrate to other employers that people with a disability are as productive and as able to do a job as everyone else. The barriers to employing someone with a disability are largely due to perception. A National Disability Employment Strategy would assist in dispelling this negativity.
  • The introduction of an Access to Premises Standard.
    A National Access to Premises Standard would ensure a consistent approach to building access across Australia. This would help ensure that people with disabilities will be able to comfortably access buildings, such as shops and homes, to ensure they can fully participate in society.
    In 2000 the Commonwealth Government said that it would look at developing a Premises Standard as well as making changes to the Building Code of Australia. In 2004 a draft of the Premises Standards was released and the Buildings Code Board sent its recommendations to the Attorney-General in 2006. Since this time no new news has emerged about these issues. The final reports are yet to be released.

While these three areas are by no means that only issues that require action, they are examples of where a national approach is required and this is where it is great to see the establishment of Campaign Enable.

It is important to note that the three issues I have highlighted are required to allow people with disabilities to be able to enjoy the same of level of access. This is not a campaign for special treatment – it is a campaign about ensuring that everyone has equal access and inclusiveness within society.

The campaign for access and inclusion will be ongoing – while the Federal election is obviously a focus it is important that the momentum continues after the election and into the year ahead. There is much you can do to join this campaign:

  • You can write letters to your local Members and candidates, as well newspapers and speaking to talkback radio.
  • You can organise public meetings to demonstrate the public’s support for greater inclusion.
  • Wear a T-Shirt ‘I have a Disability and I Vote’ and visually demonstrate that access matters to you.

All people have a voice – some of us just express ourselves in different ways. Make yourself heard in the lead up to this Federal election and beyond.

Thank you for your attendance today and for supporting this very important campaign.

Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email: alex@alexmakin.com.au