Public hearing to investigate COVID-19 impact

The next Disability Royal Commission (DRC) public hearing will investigate the experiences of people with disability during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.The Chair Ronald Sackville AO QC said unless there are significant changes in circumstances, the hearing will take place in Sydney in August.
‘The hearing will gather evidence from people with disability, peak advocacy groups, public health and disability experts, as well as government representatives.’We will examine whether Commonwealth, State and Territory governments adequately considered the particular needs of people with disability in preparing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic,’ said the Chair.
The DRC are still receiving responses to the Emergency Planning and Response issues paper. This paper looks at what can be done to improve the safety and wellbeing of people with disability during emergencies like the pandemic. So far they have heard from people concerned about:
  • access to emergency information
  • disruptions to support services
  • lack of oversight in closed environments like group homes.
The DRC has also heard that COVID-19 restrictions have had a particular impact on people with disability.

Advocacy Demand Snapshot

This impact was strongly felt in the disability advocacy sector around Australia. DANA conducted a ‘snapshot survey’ of disability advocacy organisations in April 2020, in order to gain a quick understanding of the shifting demands for advocacy services during the COVID-19 shutdown period.

The findings confirm the critical importance of advocacy for people with disability and their carers. Many of the detailed comments provide strong evidence of how close many have been to being disconnected from essential income and support, especially during this period.

The findings from this survey are also consistent with the findings from other reports into the impact of COVID-19 on people with disability, for example the reports produced by People With Disability Australia (People with Disability and COVID-19) and by Children and Young People with Disability Australia (More than isolated: The experience of children and young people with disability and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic).

Visit this page to read more and download the full report: DANA Snapshot of COVID-19 Advocacy Demand: Insufficient capacity for increased demand.