On Thursday 1 June and Friday 2 June, Carol Berry, CEO, and Alice Patten, an active member of The Disability Trust’s Parent Advisory Group, had the opportunity to participate in the recent DSC Conference in Sydney. The session followed Bill Shorten’s keynote address, and a panel of NDIS leaders, moderated by Jake Briggs.
Alice and Carol engaged in a Q&A session, discussing strategies for engaging First Nations families in regard to disability supports. The conversation included discussions on First Nations voices being present at decision-making tables, the excessive gaps in employment for First Nations peoples living with disability, and the need for community consultation.
Alice spoke on the importance of cultural safety and practices within disability services, to ensure the cultural needs are being met for people being supported. Alice shared her story of moving from Gunai country in Victoria to Dharawal country in NSW, in order for her son, Yarran, to receive adequate supports. Yarran’s cultural safety means he is able to access and participate in services that are culturally safe, with Alice commenting on her hopes for the facilitation of cultural funding within NDIS plans.
Alice recommends culture be more than just ticking an identifying box, as a cultural component to NDIS plans would make a huge difference for her son. Alice advocates for breaking down barriers, and this being one potential solution.
“Everyone talks about culture, we do a Welcome to Country, what does it really mean? It’s allowing me to actually participate and allow my son, under the cultural funding, to get back to Country once a year. Put our feet back on the Gunnai sand and soil. Let’s be able to fund it adequately because we know that if there is a strong connection between culture, community, and identity; and cultural safety across all those platforms, then we know we can thrive safely and have better outcomes for Yarran”.
Alice believes organisations should ask the questions to understand why and how they can do business better and suggests organisations “ask the people who you want to deliver the service for”.
With over a few thousand people in attendance, this was a great opportunity to share what we have learnt with other providers, as we all strive to provide great service to our clients.
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