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New voice for people with a disability who come from a non-English-speaking background

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[Dr Andrew Theopliaηous ΜP I’ai liamentarv Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister for Human Services and Health


^4-k-yxi c Com m ursx'h <2s ifv Ku £ t . People who have a disability and come from non-English-speaking backgrounds will have a powerful new voice, with the launch in Melbourne today of the National

Ethnic Disability Alliance.

Announcing details, Federal Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Andrew Theophanous, said the Alliance would ensure that the needs and aspirations of people with a disability from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and those of

their families, were better addressed.

He said that as part of its strong commitment to ensuring eguality of treatment and eguality of opportunity for all Australians, the Federal Government would provide $110,000 a year to fund the Alliances' activities.

"Too often the needs of Australians from non-English speaking backgrounds have been overlooked, and this has been particularly evident where a member of a family has a disability," Dr Theophanous said.

"The National Ethnic Disability Alliance will speak out at a national level to ensure proper account is taken of the needs and experiences of people with a disability in ethnic communities in policy development and service planning and delivery."

"The service will foster a national network of disability groups representing the interests of people of non-English speaking background."

Dr Theophanous said it was imperative that a multi-cultural Australia provides a supportive and culturally appropriate environment, especially for those people more vulnerable in the community.

"People with a disability have a difficult enough time as it is," he said. "When you add the we11-documented problems associated with being from a non-English speaking background, it is clear that more needs to be done.

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Telephone Melbourne: (03) 302 1114 Telephone Canberra: (06) 277 4270

"I am confident the Alliance will bring to the Government's attention ways in which the needs of people with a disability from a non-English speaking background can be better met and more appropriate services and responses developed."

Dr Theophanous said all Australians would benefit by governments working with the community to develop more flexible services to meet the diverse needs of all individuals within our society.

"We must maintain equality of treatment and opportunity for everyone but particularly those who are most disadvantaged," he said.

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance has the full support of the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia, with whom it will have ongoing links.

The Alliance will initially be run by Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC) in Melbourne but will later move to Canberra.

Contact: Cathy King Dr Theophanous' Office (06) 277 4270 (018) 624 774