The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) welcomes the Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy’s comments today, in which he announced that Australia would develop a new disability strategy for our development program.
In a speech delivered to launch the 2022 Australasian Aid Conference at the Australian National University, Minister Conroy spoke of the pressing need for disability inclusion. He pointed out that while the Labor Government developed a disability inclusion strategy when last in government, 13 years on it is clear that people with disabilities are still being excluded and left behind.
This new commitment builds on the October Budget announcement that began to prioritise resources to the central disability fund, and is a promising direction for disability inclusion in the ODA program.
Said Marc Purcell, ACFID CEO: “The needs of people with disabilities, particularly in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, are still not adequately met.”
“We are happy to see the Minister recognise and prioritise filling this gap, as it is an area where Australia is well-placed to add significant value,” he said.
ACFID’s membership network includes organisations dedicated to supporting and elevating the voices of people with disabilities, including the Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC) and CBM Australia.
ACFID looks forward to working with Government as it develops the disability strategy following its new Development Policy in 2023, and to help deliver development outcomes in our region and beyond.
The Minister also announced that the Government would seek to work closely with local organisations in developing countries, and that Australia should look to draw in local knowledge and on-the-ground expertise to make programs better.
“Civil society is absolutely pivotal in ensuring the effective functioning of any development program,” said Mr Purcell.
“Grassroots actors and workers know their communities, and how to deliver development and aid in a way that is appropriate and fit-for-purpose. Recognising and elevating the role of civil society will give the Australian ODA program a better chance of delivering on the needs of our development cooperation partners.”
The Minister also reiterated the Government’s commitment to the Pacific and Southeast Asia region, as well as to building resilience and addressing the humanitarian needs around the globe.
However, ACFID and its members continue to call on the Australian Government to take further action to deliver a targeted food security strategy to help mitigate the acute hunger crisis and risk of famine in various parts of the world, including $150 million in urgent humanitarian funding.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact [email protected] or call 0401 721 064.