Crippen hears that lack of Covid plan for disabled Australians a ‘serious failure’ of their government.

So, it’s not just here that governments are failing to consult with disabled people about the ramifications of the COVID pandemic. I recently had an email from one of my disabled friends in Australia telling me that they’ve been experiencing similar disregard from their government.

I had a dig around and discovered an article in the Guardian reporting that the Australian federal government has been sharply criticised by the disability royal commission for its “serious failure” in not adequately consulting disabled people or creating a specific plan to protect them at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Those failings “produced serious adverse consequences for many disabled people”, the commission said in a report tabled in parliament on Monday.

At the start of the crisis no government agency “made any significant effort to consult with disabled people with or their representative organisations”, the report said.

“Even allowing for the novel challenges presented by the coronavirus, this was a serious failure.”

It said disabled people faced the “sudden loss of essential support services” and “impaired health and wellbeing” due to an “inability for prolonged periods to access essential supplies such as food and medications”.

Disabled people experienced “extreme stress and anxiety” stemming from the fear of contracting the virus because of support staffing issues and a lack of PPE.

So, there you go. We’re not alone in being ignored during this pandemic. Our Aussie friends are also feeling that they are just as expendable.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

A white wheelchair user with a placard saying ‘we demand our rights’ is sat facing an Australian First Nation person. This person is stood next to a large rock on which is carved First Nation art and the slogan ‘rights for First Nation people’. He is wearing a red headband and loin cloth, carrying a boomerang and also wears traditional body paint. He is saying to the disabled man: “Best of luck getting your voice heard mate – they’ve been ignoring our rights since they first arrived!”

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