Disabled life quality 'worst in developed world'

30 November 2011
AUSTRALIANS living with a disability have the worst quality of life in the developed world and their employment opportunities have hit rock bottom, according to a report issued today by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Currently almost one in two people with a disability in Australia lives in or near a state of poverty while globally, Australia is at the bottom of the heap, ranked last out of 27 OECD countries, with those with a disability 2.7 times more at risk of poverty while the nation fares little better in rankings for employment opportunities, listed 21st out of 29 OECD countries in that category.

The report, Disability expectations - Investing in a better life, a stronger Australia, showed that there was a current employment rate of 39.8 per cent for people with disabilities compared with 79.4 per cent for people living without a disability.

Click here for the news article from The Age in full

Proteins 'reduce' spinal injuries

16 November

AUSTRALIAN researchers have found a way to treat spinal cord degeneration in animals, boosting hopes they will be able to prevent paralysis in people who suffer spinal cord injuries.
In a world first, Ben Goss and a team of scientists from Queensland University of Technology reported that two proteins prevented significant loss of tissue and scarring in rats with severed spinal cords.
The proteins also minimised toxicity at the injury site, promoting new, healthy nerve growth which was evident on scans a month after treatment.

Click here for the article from The Age in full

Teenage Honduran builds open source eye-tracking computer interface for the disabled

14 November

This unique and worthwhile project was put together by a 17-year-old electronics and programming whiz from Honduras, of all places. The Eyeboard system is a low-tech eyeball-tracking device that allows users with motor disabilities to enter text into a computer using eye gestures instead of a physical interface. This kind of system is not unique - there's plenty of eye tracking interfaces out there - but Luis Cruz has figured out a way to build the full system into a set of glasses for less than US$300, putting easier communication within reach of users in developing countries.

Click here for the article in full

Crossing upgrades to increase safety and access for people with disabilities

21 October

Up to 35 pedestrian crossings across Victoria are planned for upgrades to improve safety and accessibility for people with disabilities, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said today.Mr Mulder said $1.1 million would be allocated to make existing pedestrian crossings across the state safer and more accessible."Improvements to crossings will assist people who are blind or have low vision, people in wheelchairs and those who use other mobility aids such as walking frames. The improvements also assist other pedestrians, including people pushing prams," Mr Mulder said."Treatments include the installation of audible crossing signals that tell people when it is safe and not safe to cross the road. Pram crossings will also be widened and made easier to use for people in wheel chairs and short sections of footpaths will be built across medians."Safety and access for all road users, especially pedestrians, is a key priority for the Coalition Government. I am pleased to announce this funding to improve pedestrian crossings across Victoria.

Click here for the State Government Media release in full.

Top trips for people with disabilities

10 October 2011

TOURISM operators worldwide have begun catering for an increasing group of travellers, those with disabilities and the ageing, and many Australians have taken the lead.
There's no denying Australians love to travel but for some it can be more of a challenge than for others.Tourism facilities for people with disabilities have improved greatly over the past decade or so, but with an ageing population it's becoming more important than ever.Bruce Cameron, from Easy Access Australia, says people with disabilities can feel enormous anxiety before going on a holiday somewhere new.

Click here for the news article in full including information on 10 destinations

VCOSS - Radical rethink needed to make transport journeys accessible for all

1 September 2011

Victoria’s public transport system is failing to cater for people with diverse mobility requirements and needs a radical rethink to ensure all journeys are accessible, according to new research from the Victorian Council of Social Service.
The research report highlights critical breakdowns in accessible transport infrastructure that make the entire system inaccessible to some people and calls for significant changes to the way public transport is planned and implemented across the state.
The report, Creating Accessible Journeys (PDF, DOC and TXT), points to a number of glaring examples of how the system lets down people with disabilities and fails to meet the challenges of a growing diversity of needs.

These include:
  • Platform tram stops that no accessible trams go past;
  • Train stations built without ramps with frequent lift failures
  • Disability standard bus stops built in locations that are inaccessible to wheelchairs;
  • Installing GPS technology on trams and buses, but not including the automated stop announcement and visual display units;
  • Lack of accessibility on rural bus services;
  • Train and tram platforms that are not level with the vehicle and make independent boarding impossible;
  • Not recording low-floor trams on timetables;
  • Keeping toilets for disability access locked at train stations;
  • Making people needing wheelchair access book places on trains and buses when others don’t have to;
  • A confusing maze of concessions and travel passes

Click here for media release in full

Productivity Commission's final report into disability care and support

10 August 2011

  • The Gillard Labor Government announced on August 11 that it will start work immediately with states and territories on measures that will build the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, following the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into the matter.The Government asked the Productivity Commission to examine reform of disability support services because we believe that the system we have today is not delivering the kind of care and support Australians expect for people with disability.The main recommendations of the Productivity Commission are:
    • A National Disability Insurance Scheme should be created to provide all Australians with insurance for the costs of support if they or a family member acquire a disability. The scheme will provide individually tailored care and support to around 410 000 people with significant disabilities.
    • A National Injury Insurance Scheme should be created to provide no fault insurance for anyone who suffers a catastrophic injury.
    The Productivity Commission’s report finds that it would take at least seven years to transform disability services.For a copy of the Productivity Commission report visit

Click here for the media release in full.