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Support for the rights of disabled people



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The Hon Philip Ruddock MP Acting

Attorney-General and M inister for Justice

9 June 1996 280

S U P P O R T FO R T H E R IG H T S O F D IS A B L E D P E O P L E

The Government is firmly committed to protecting the rights of the disabled and ensuring that Australia has a strong and independent federal human rights body.

Reports in the media today contain incorrect claims that changes to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) will have a negative impact on disabled people.

The claims made in these reports are based on misconceptions.

The facts are:

• The role of the Disability Discrimination Commissioner has not changed, the commissioner is not being removed as some protesters have claimed.

• Funding to HREOC has been reduced by only 4% in 1997/98 and funding in 1998/99 and beyond will be reduced in real terms by about 27%. The reduction in funding follows a 500% funding increase over the past nine years (from $4 million to more than $20 million) and a 400% increase in staffing

(from 51 to 220 at one stage).

• The reduction in funding also coincides with a decrease in some of HREOC’s functions brought about by constitutional requirements, not Government decisions. The transfer of the hearing of complaints from HREOC to the Federal Court is a constitutional requirement after the High Court ruling in the Brandy case found that HREOC has no constitutional power to hear matters.

The Government is fully committed to a strong and independent human rights body and to the fundamental right of all Australians to have their human rights protected and any complaints addressed.

Media contact: Nicholas Harford (06) 277 7300

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone (06) 277 7300 Fax (06) 273 4102