Paul Omodei

Paul Omodei


    Albany sets example in disability support: Minister

    1/11/2000 11:54 AM

    Disability Services Minister Paul Omodei has thanked the Albany community for the support it has provided to local people with disabilities and their families.

    Mr Omodei said Albany was setting an example for the rest of the State to follow through its increasing community involvement in disability issues.

    “While Government and non-Government agencies provide significant support to people with disabilities and their families, there is only so much we could do,” he said.

    “Without whole-of-community support, people with disabilities will continue to be denied the same opportunities and choices the rest of us enjoy.

    “Albany is a fine example of a community supporting its own people by identifying and then working to resolve issues of unmet need, access and participation.

    “We have a collective responsibility to create a caring and compassionate community that ensures the needs of all of its citizens are met, and the City of Albany in particular has taken the lead by encouraging the community to examine its own strengths and shortcomings in the inclusion of people with disabilities.”

    During his visit, Mr Omodei and Disability Services Commission Chief Executive Officer Dr Ruth Shean presented certificates of appreciation to the following people and organisations for their contributions to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families:
    • Lorraine Wolfe, for her dedication and work to improve access for people with disabilities;
    • Ken Cantwell, for many years of service as a compassionate carer for people with disabilities;
    • the City of Albany, for conducting a disability and discrimination audit of its facilities and services and for taking the lead in encouraging the community to do more for people with disabilities;
    • the Great Southern Regional College of TAFE, for developing innovative courses to include students with disabilities;
    • Castlereagh, Commonwealth Bank, AMP and Travel Inn Motel for providing funding for a beach access wheelchair; and -
    • Albany Batteries Plus, for donating a battery charge to the town library for people using battery-powered wheelchairs.

    Mr Omodei said the State Government had demonstrated its on-going commitment to support people with disabilities and their families by providing almost $35 million in growth funding over the next five years through the Commission’s new business plan Making a Difference.

    He said for the first time, the commission was directing 26 per cent of its funding to country regions, where 26 per cent of Western Australians with disabilities lived.

    There was also $468,000 recurrent funding to be allocated by State and Commonwealth Governments over two years for respite support for families in country regions.

    "The Making a Difference business plan is about providing support to help people with disabilities to reach their full potential,” Mr Omodei said.

    "People with disabilities and their families and carers will benefit from increased services in the areas of accommodation, respite and family care, options for school leavers and adults with disabilities, professional and therapy services, and aids and equipment."

    While in Albany, Mr Omodei met with families from the Lower Great Southern Community Living Association, the City of Albany’s Disability Awareness Committee and will open the ‘One Small Step’ seminar tonight.

    The seminar, organised by the Disability Services Commission, the City of Albany, the Great Southern Regional College of TAFE, Great Southern Personnel and the Great Southern Area Consultative Committee is aimed at business proprietors, managers and supervisors of Government and non-Government agencies and will look at ways of improving services to people with disabilities.

    Mr Omodei said the commission had developed disability awareness videos and training packages to help trainers, service industries, local governments and State Government agencies better address the needs of customers with disabilities. Copies of the training packages are available from the commission on 9426 9222.
    Media contact: Hugh Ryan - 9213 6700