The needs and rights of Western Australians with some form of disability are to be given a much higher public profile through a new State Government awareness campaign.
Premier Carmen Lawrence today launched 'Finding Better Ways', a comprehensive public information and action strategy.
'Finding Better Ways', a Social Advantage initiative, includes:
· a public information package, including a video, for distribution to State libraries, major disability service providers, education and community resource centres;
· captions on all Government advertisements and television productions, for use through adapted television sets;
· provision of information to all State Government public counter staff to enable them to communicate effectively with people who have hearing difficulties;
· increased representation of people with disabilities on Government-appointed boards and committees through their inclusion on the Register of Interested Persons and the Women's Register;
· information on financial assistance and services available to people with disabilities;
· regular material broadcast on Information Radio through sponsorship by the Bureau for Disability Services.
Dr Lawrence said that one in eight Western Australians had a disability of some kind.
"While much has been achieved, we still live in a society which is largely ill-informed about disability issues and which does not adequately cater for the special needs of people with disabilities," Dr Lawrence said.
"This Government is committed to redressing this situation and to enabling Western Australians with disabilities to participate fully in community life."
Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper said that of the estimated 191,000 Western Australians with a disability, three out of four experienced mobility difficulties, one in three had difficulty with self-care such as showering, and one in five had difficulty understanding and being understood.
'Finding Better Ways' would also:
· establish a community register, co-ordinated by the Bureau for Disability Services, to match projects which would help people with disabilities and community groups interested in assisting;
· encourage and recognise initiatives which would benefit people with disabilities and their families through a scheme of awards.
"These initiatives and others in the 'Finding Better Ways' campaign, will encourage the community to give everyone 'a fair go' and to recognise the equal rights of people with disabilities," Mr Ripper said.