Historic legislation protecting the rights of the estimated 191,000 Western Australians with some form of disability is now in effect.
Landmark disability services legislation, approved by the Governor in Executive Council on December 22, became law today.
The new law will:
· provide a conciliation and review process for the resolution of complaints, by people with disabilities, about services specifically for them;
· require Government bodies and Government-funded agencies to report annually to Parliament on moves being taken to support the needs and rights of people with disabilities;
· require Government-funded services to be flexible, adaptable and to recognise the broad diversity of disabilities and the diverse range and needs of people with disabilities.
Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper said today was the beginning of a new era for people with disabilities in this State.
For the first time, legislation enshrined the rights of all Western Australians with disabilities and the principles by which services were delivered to them.
"This is day one of a new recognition of the needs, rights and achievements of the estimated one-in-eight Western Australians with disabilities," the Minister said.
"The new law is a strong statement of the importance the Government and people of Western Australia place on the lives of people with disabilities and the opportunities available to them."
The Minister said today was the culmination of about three years' exhaustive community consultation and development of the legislation, which was based on the policy `A Fair Go for Everyone: Disability Policy for Western Australia'.
"I congratulate peak disability service organisations such as ACROD, the Developmental Disability Council (DDC) and People with Disabilities (PWD) for their enthusiastic work which has led to today's milestone," he said.