Campaign call on disability funds

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Trish Anderson believes a marketing campaign would help the Mid West's special needs population.
Camera IconTrish Anderson believes a marketing campaign would help the Mid West's special needs population. Credit: Geraldton Guardian, Tamra Carr

A Geraldton disability support organisation would like to see State Government funds spent on a marketing campaign to ensure people with disabilities know they don’t have to put up with discrimination.

Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson recently announced $2.5 million in taxpayer cash would be given to organisations with plans to improve disability advocacy services.

To be eligible for a portion of the money, groups must outline how their proposals will break down barriers, help people navigate complex systems, and provide accessible infrastructure.

The Government also insists funded projects make people better aware of services in their community.

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Midwest Community Living Association acting chief executive Trish Anderson said spending a portion of the $2.5 million on a marketing campaign would be very beneficial.

“The money should probably be spent in regional areas and on some sort of marketing campaign so people with disabilities know that help is available should they be having problems,” Ms Anderson said.

“So many people with disabilities and their carers and families feel isolated and on their own.

“They need to know that they don’t have to put up with poor service from an organisation and they don’t have to put up with being discriminated against.”

Ms Anderson said her association engaged in “informal advocacy”, whereby her staff helped empower people and challenged assumptions about the special needs population.

She said a common example was challenging shopkeepers who addressed a special needs person’s carer, rather than the person with a disability, because the shopkeeper assumed the person would not be able to communicate.

The Government is collecting expressions of interests until December 4.

Groups interested in securing funding for a proposal should visit https://www.tenders.wa.gov.au.

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