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Fair Agenda: What the budget means for all women
Women can expect to be affected by the budget measures across their lifetime, including:
- If you are tertiary student you take time off to have children you face paying 30% more in interest on your university student loan because of changes to the Higher Education Loan Program
- You may find yourself waiting six months for benefits when you graduate.
- Older women expected to be disadvantaged by changes to Medicare charges.
- Half of all working women will lose up to $500 a year in tax rebates on your superannuation – as the Low Income Super Contribution is being abolished.
- All working women using Family Day Care can expect a price rise of $30+ per week per child.
- Unemployed single mothers with a young child will lose up to 12% of their disposable income.
- Single mothers on low incomes will lose up to 7% of their disposable income.
- Increase in child care fees for parents on JET, Child Care Fee Assistance and the reduced hours of JET subsidised care available will discourage participation in work and training.
What the budget means for women with disabilities:
The Budget will disadvantage women with disabilities across all age groups. Women with disabilities will be affected by cuts to disability and community legal services and other important programs.
- The cost of disability has not been factored into the proposed changes the welfare payment changes.
- If you are under 35 and have been on the Disability Support Pension since 2008, your eligibility will be reviewed. If you are found able to work more than eight hours a week, a ‘Participation Plan’ will be developed. This may include ‘Work for the Dole’ which does not include the higher costs of living with disabilities.
- If you are under 25 you will no longer be eligible for Newstart. You will be transferred to the lower rate of Youth Allowance. This will have you living well below the poverty line.
- The reduced portability of the Disability Support Pension will limit the ability of emerging leaders to gain overseas experience. It will be restricted to one 4 week overseas trip per year.
Access to primary health care has been compromised for women with disabilities
- Changes to Medicare including the GP co-payment of $7, even though this is capped at10 visits per year.
- The $5 surcharge per prescription is another additional cost. (As a woman with a disability you probably have higher out-of-pocket prescription expenses already.)
- Women with mental ill-health will be affected by the reduced funding to the Partners in Recovery programme. (Women are more likely than men to seek assistance from Mental Health programmes)
- Women with disabilities who are primary carers (21% of all primary carers) will be affected by the freeze on the National Respite for Carers Programme.
- The potential for gender and disability inequity in both the NDIS and the new Disability and Carer Industry Advisory Council (DCIAC). We need guarantees that Workplace Gender Equality requirements will be met and that women with disabilities will be represented.
- The Office for Women's Leadership and Development Strategy needs to save $1.6 million over four years. The decision on where the cuts will fall is left to the Prime Minister who is the Minister for Women. How is this going to impact on you?
The above information was collated from information via:
Proposal for a Senate inquiry into domestic violence.
Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV) strongly endorses the Greens proposal for a senate inquiry in to domestic violence, announced 26th June 2014. We welcome the tri-partisan support for this inquiry, which will highlight a longstanding, critical issue in Australia.
Recent research released in May The Voices Against Violence Research, conducted by WDV, the Office for the Public Advocate and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria Voices Against Violence (May 2014) confirms the critical need to address the appalling risk of violence for women with a disability, including Aboriginal women with a disability.
The project reported on the extent and nature of violence against women with disabilities in Victoria.
Investigating the extent and nature of violence against women with disabilities in Victoria, the research found that women with disabilities experience:
- High levels of family and sexual violence
- Greater barriers to accessing services and the justice system
- Gender-based and disability-based discrimination that combine to increase the risk of violence for women with disabilities.
An important policy direction within the National Disability Strategy is to ensure that people with a disability are safe from violence. This is particularly significant to women with a disability. Our research and that of the Stop the Violence Project (undertaken by Women with Disabilities Australia) indicated that women with a disability face a greater risk of violence than disabled men.
WDV hopes the Senate Inquiry will support the recommendations of the Stop the Violence Project and the Voices Against Violence Research.
WDV’s Executive Director, Keran Howe, today said: “It’s heartening to see there will be a strong focus on putting a stop violence against women with disabilities. For too long women with disabilities have advocated to address the shocking facts about the level and nature of violence that too many women with disabilities face. We believe that both governments and family violence and disability services need to work together to create a safe environment for women with disabilities. It’s critical that both Commonwealth and State governments have the political will to do what’s needed to put a stop to this violence. ”
Media Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 92867804 / 0403292180
1 ABS, 2010, Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009, Canberra, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cat. No. 4430.0.
Inaugural Winner of Brenda Gabe Award Announced.
The Brenda Gabe Award recognises and rewards women with disabilities and/or groups who have made a significant contribution to improve the status of women with disabilities in Victoria.
Brenda Gabe was a much loved & respected member of Women with Disabilities Victoria. Brenda played a leading role in gender and disability related campaigns including preventing violence against women with disabilities and making housing and public transport more accessible.
The Director of Future Leaders Dr Helen Sykes AM made the presentation of the award at WDV’s AGM on Thursday to a full house which included Shadow Minister for Families, Community Services, Indigenous Affairs and Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin.
Helen is the sponsor of the Brenda Gabe Award, generously donating a prize to the Award including professional development to the value of $2000. This award will be made on an annual basis to recognise a woman or group of women who embody the leadership traits shown by Brenda Gabe.
The Shadow Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin MP, today congratulated Tricia Malowney on winning the inaugural Brenda Gabe Leadership Award for her outstanding contribution to women with disabilities.
“Through her work as a respected advocate for people with disabilities Tricia has made an enormous contribution to the advancement of women with disability in Victoria. I congratulate her on all she has achieved.
“Women with Disabilities Victoria continues to play an important role in raising the profile of gender within the NDIS, ensuring that the interests of women with disabilities and carers are embedded in the Scheme’s structure.
“I would also like to thank Keran Howe, Executive Director of Women with Disabilities Victoria, for her continued advocacy on behalf of women with disability and for hosting such an inspiring event."
The award is an opportunity for the communities where women are active to recognize the contribution. Nominations came from hospitals and health services, local government and disability service providers who wanted to recognize women with disabilities in their leadership role.
WDV Executive Director Keran Howe said:
“In nominating women for an award, the nominators were making a public endorsement of the important leadership these women are making on behalf of WWD across the state.”
The winner Tricia Malowney said she hopes to:
“Find a leadership program which will not only benefit me personally, but will also enable me to empower other women with disabilities”
Tricia is a highly respected advocate for people with disabilities who has worked at state, national and international levels in this role. She has used her life experience with polio and post-polio syndrome to inform her advocacy in this area.
Since retiring from a middle management position with Victoria police at age 46, Tricia has led and contributed in a formal capacity to boards, committees and councils championing the rights of people with a disability.
Today’s award particularly looks for the contribution nominees have made to improve the status of women with disabilities in Victoria. The following demonstrates the depth of Tricia’s commitment in this area:
- Tricia was the convenor and chair of Victorian Women with Disabilities Network during its successful transformation & renaming to Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV)
- Tricia was the inaugural Chair of the Royal Women’s Hospital Disability Reference Group.
- Tricia worked with others to ensure women with disabilities were included in research policy planning and development of key initiatives including the Family Violence Protection Act 2006
- Tricia worked with the Cancer Council and other relevant organisations to support better access to Cancer Screening for Victorian women with Intellectual Disabilities
- Tricia successfully lobbied for women with disabilities to be included in the United Nations Population Health Research.
We’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the other 24 Brenda Gabe nominees. We are delighted to recognise the wonderful contribution of these dedicated women. Our appreciation and thanks also go to the nominators for their time and effort in putting the nominees forward.
Our nominees are :
Kim Ling Chua
Deafblind Victorians Self-Advocacy Group:
Bendigo Community Health Service
This award would not have been possible without the generous support of Dr Helen Sykes the Director of Future Leaders.
Notice of proposed changes to the Constitution
Wednesday November 20th 2013
The WDV Constitution has been amended to comply with the requirements of the new Act.
The changes relate to the addition or changes to clauses in the following areas:
• Members' rights to inspect and copy minutes and other documents of the Association
• The appointment of a disciplinary committee if disciplining or expulsion of members is being considered
• The right of a member to appoint a representative, and the criteria for a representative, where there is a grievance procedure
• The status of a Director by virtue of the Act in the case of the removal of a Director
• Public Officer is now replaced by a Secretary
• A provision for funds in a Gift Fund where the fund is wound up.
Wednesday 23 October 2013
New initiative to address violence against women with disability
Disability sector workers will receive specialist training to help them
prevent and deal with violence against women with disability through an
innovative project funded by the Victorian Coalition Government, Minister
for Community Services Mary Wooldridge announced today.
Ms Wooldridge said that $400,000 will be provided to Women with
Disabilities Victoria (WDV) to deliver a training and education program on
gender and disability for professionals.
“Family violence can affect all women, however evidence suggests that
women and children with disability are particularly at risk of becoming
victims of violence,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“This training program will give disability service workers a better
understanding of issues facing women with disability in order to deliver
gender-sensitive and equitable services.
“Disability service workers will be better equipped to identify when
violence is occurring and appropriately respond. They will also learn
strategies to promote respectful relationships in disability services
between workers, managers and people with disability.”
WDV will partner with Yooralla to deliver training to their direct service
workers and managers. Training will also be delivered at a second trial
site in the Barwon area – the Victorian launch site of the National
Disability Insurance Scheme. The pilots will:
- identify trainers, both women with disability and professional
trainers (with or without disability), to deliver gender and
- resource, trial and evaluate the Delivering gender sensitive
disability services training package; and
- implement peer education with people with disability within the trial
site services, based on the successful gender sensitive Living Safer
Sexual Lives program.
Women with Disabilities Victoria Executive Director Keran Howe said she
was excited to be working with disability organisations in the campaign to
eradicate violence against women.
“Improving a disability organisation’s understanding of the issues facing
women with disabilities, and inequalities produced by gender bias, is a
really important part of the fight to eliminate violence against women
with disabilities,” Ms Howe said.
The funding for this project is made available through Victoria’s Action
Plan to Address Violence against Women and Children 2012-2015, available
Upon successful completion of the project it is anticipated the training
package will be submitted for accreditation with the Victorian
Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA), or the Australian Skills
Quality Authority (ASQA) and considered for further roll-out.
Mary Wooldridge MP
State Member for Doncaster
Minister for Mental Health
Minister for Community Services
Minister for Disability Services and Reform
2/1020 Doncaster Road
Doncaster East 3109
ph) 9841 5166
October 29, 2013
Victorian deafblind Champion Wins BrainLink Women of Achievement Award
Trudy Ryall was born deaf and is legally blind. She is a champion for the deaf and blind community and has dedicated her life to numerous advocacy and support groups and recently completed the Melbourne Enabling Women course.
The award winner was announced to more than 300 guests at the BrainLink Women of Achievement Award lunch at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne today.
Ms Ryall, 48, was recognised for being a role model to others as co-founder of advocacy group Deafblind Victorians and in key advisory roles with the national Let’s Connect project for deaf/blind people, the Victorian Deaf Society, Vision Australia and the Women with Disabilities program.
She was an adviser to the Federal Government on the development of its National Disability Insurance Scheme and also worked with Brimbank Council on the Leaders of Tomorrow Program.
Ms Ryall has been a library technician, undertook several other courses and also became a puppy trainer for Australian Customs. Her own assistance dog, six-year-old Tyson, was one who failed to graduate.
On receiving the award Ms Ryall said she was greatly honoured, and that the award meant a lot not only for her, but for everyone who had battled against the odds at some stage of life.
“This award is for everyone with a disability, be they deaf or blind, or people with any other disabilities, such as acquired brain injuries,” Ms Ryall said. “I’ve worked with a lot of people and we’ve fought for equality.
“While we have made some great strides, there is still a lot of work to do. This award is a nice recognition of what we have achieved so far.”
BrainLink chief executive officer Sharon Strugnell said that Ms Ryall is a worthy recipient of the Women of Achievement Award as she personified the nature of the award, in going above and beyond expectations to help others.
“Trudy demonstrates strength, courage and persistence that is simply amazing in the face of challenges most people never experience,” Ms Strugnell said. “Her work with, and for, other people in the community is admirable and she takes every opportunity with both hands. As such, Trudy is very worthwhile winner of the Women of Achievement Award.”
The award, now in its 16th year, offers a unique opportunity to acknowledge and encourage Victorian women as leaders with outstanding outcomes, usually in an area of endeavour not often recognised by other women’s business awards.
The award has gained considerable prestige amongst women in management, the scientific and medical world, the arts, and women who hold multi- dimensional roles in the community. After a process of public nomination, three finalists were selected from which one winner was chosen.
To qualify for the award, finalists need to be multi-dimensional, display creativity and innovation, commitment and achievement, fulfil a mentoring role and contribute to the community. They also must reside in Victoria and be nominated by a family member, friend or colleague
Previous winners include brain injury survivor and ambassador Dr Christine Durham, Lighthouse Foundation founder Susan Barton, stem-cell researcher Dr Orly Lacham-Kaplan, and founder of the Butterfly Foundation, Claire Vickery.
For further information, contact:
Mobile: 0410 518 590
Mobile: 0413 833 985
Infoxchange Disability & Digital Inclusion Forum
Women with Disabilities Victoria Presentation, 22 May 2013
22.05.2013 Information & Administration Officer, Sarah Boyd, spoke at the Infoxchange Disability and Digital Inclusion forum.
Here is the Presentation in both PDF and Word versions:
Here is the Report. This Project Report is available in three versions – PDF, Word and Easy English:
Here is the Media Release (4 April 2013):
Media Release: Medicare levy increase will support women with disabilities
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Women with Disabilities Victoria welcomes today’s announcement by Prime Minister Julia Gillard that a 0.5% Medicare Levy increase will be introduced to help fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (DisabilityCare).
Keran Howe, Executive Director of Women with Disabilities Victoria, said:
“This levy is a crucial foundation for the NDIS. Funding for this system will support people with disabilities to be active citizens and contribute to community life.”
Women with disabilities are amongst the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in our society. They bear a disproportionate burden of poverty, experience significant un/underemployment and are in the lowest income earning bracket, yet have more than three times the average yearly healthcare expenditures of other women.
Discrimination, social isolation and abuse are common experiences.
Full Media Release available below:
Women with Disabilities Victoria now on YouTube (WDVchannel)
We are very excited that we can now share videos with our members and the community, through this portal, and also being able to further awareness of the issues affecting women with disabilities with a broader, national and worldwide audience.
Our first uploaded video, ‘Staying healthy, staying safe: issues for women with disabilities’ (10:02 mins), takes a look at our key priority area of ‘Health’. Women with Disabilities Victoria member and advocate, Jane Hauser, interviews Executive Director, Keran Howe, about some of the issues affecting women with disabilities when it comes to accessing health promotion and health services.
Letter to the Editor
The Age, 29/01/2010
Few of us would not have experienced humiliation, shame and powerlessness at some stage in our lives. For some people this occurs with a terrible regularity along with physical and sexual abuse. The effects of such abuse on a person's self esteem, and mental and physical health are extreme. For many people with disabilities there is no escape from the abuse of power over them by partners, family and paid carers even when violence is reported to police.
These findings of a report to the public advocate released confirm research by Women with Disabilities Victoria that whilst women with disabilities are far more likely to experience violence than other women we are far less likely to receive support services when we seek them. Women with Disabilities Victoria welcomes the response of the Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge for a reference to the Law Reform Committee to undertake an inquiry into how people with a disability can get better access to justice and improve their interactions with the justice system. It is time that the government acted to address this appalling and unjust state of affairs.
Wendy Brooks and Tricia Malowney
Women with Disabilities Victoria
Damning report on abuse
Nick McKenzie, The Age, 28/01/11
THE investigation and prevention of the alleged rape and abuse of disabled or mentally ill Victorians in state-run and private care is woefully inadequate, according to Victoria's Public Advocate.
The new Victorian Government
A Message from Executive Director, Keran Howe
In the lead up to the state election on November 27th 2010, Women with Disabilities Victoria advocated strongly to all major parties for the recognition of women with disabilities who experience violence and better health responses for women with disabilities. This advocacy included a letter to Ted Baillieu then leader of the opposition seeking clarification of the Liberal response to Women with Disabilities Victoria’s election statement. The election statement can be accessed on this page. Following the outcome of the election, Women with Disabilities Victoria will seek a meeting with the new Ministers responsible to highlight the Women with Disabilities Victoria agenda in the interests of women with disabilities around Victoria.
Annie McDonald’s contribution to people with disabilities in Victoria
We at Women with Disabilities Victoria were saddened to hear of the death of disability activist, Annie McDonald, suddenly at the age of 49. We acknowledge the great contribution that Annie made on behalf of people with disabilities in Victoria. Annie lived a full and creative life after winning a Supreme court action that allowed her to be released from St Nicholas hospital in 1979. Her fight represents the fight of all people with disability to be able to participate fully in life and to be able to live with dignity and respect.
Read the tribute to Annie McDonald in The Age ‘Annie has gone but her legacy and fighting spirit live on’ (Jo Chandler, 30/10/10)
Welcome to New WDV Board Directors
Women with Disabilities Victoria held its Annual General Meeting for 2010 on November 22nd. We would like to thanks all those who attended and shared in celebrating the organisations achievements over the past 12 months.
We also wish to thank and acknowledge our Board of Directors for their ongoing service and contributions – and enthusiastically welcome our four new Directors: Kumari Middleton, Fiona Sanders, Daniela Fallanca and Paua Hobley. We look forward to your involvement into the future.
A Message from the Executive Director, Keran Howe
In the lead up to the state election on November 27, Women with Disabilities Victoria has developed an election statement to distribute to all major political parties. The election statement can be accessed on our website at www.wdv.org.au or if you would like hard copies to distribute please contact Sarah Boyd at email@example.com.
Come and celebrate our new name - Women with Disabilities Victoria!
Thursday 19th August, 3pm, Level 8 / 255 Bourke St, Melbourne
After 15 years as Victorian Women with Disabilities Network the Board and Staff of Victorian Women with Disabilities Network invite you to say farewell to the old and hello to the new.
Come and share a delicious afternoon tea with us and enjoy the unveiling of our new banner of Women with Disabilities Victoria.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 17th August.
After 15 years of operation the members of Victorian Women with Disabilities Network have voted to change the name of the Network to Women with Disabilities Victoria. On 19th August Women with Disabilities Victoria went ‘live’ with the new name – as you can see we have changed our website, we have contacted all our members and partners and held a lovely afternoon tea to sing ‘happy birthday’ to our new entity and to celebrate our decision. We would particularly like to thank Andrew, Lucy, Michael and their team at AJF Partnership for so generously donating their creativity to our new name and logo. We hope you like it - let us know what you think.
Induction into the 2010 Victorian Honour Roll of Women
On the 4th of March 2010, alongside 19 other inspirational women from the state, our very own VWDN Executive Officer, Keran Howe, was formally inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women 2010. Keran was recognized for her efforts and commitment to promoting the human rights of women with disabilities. We interviewed Keran about her induction for the VWDN Newsletter.
DisabiliTEA - NDIS Morning Tea
Melbourne Museum, 2 August 2011
At 10am, on Tuesday August 2, around 90 people (and 2 dogs) came together for a morning tea at the Treetops Room at The Melbourne Museum. The event, hosted by Women with Disabilities Victoria in partnership with Women’s Health Victoria and Domestic Violence Victoria, was one of 900+ ‘Disabili-TEA's’ being held across Australia, to raise awareness and support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
There was a great atmosphere as attendees listened to the various organisations and politicians speak about the importance of the proposed scheme and the need to understand the particular issues faced by women with disabilities. There was also a moving performance by musician and activist Heidi Everett, including a song she wrote just for the occasion.
Photos from the day can be viewed on our Flickr photo stream.
Statements and letters from politicians are available below:
Message from Hon Bill Shorten MP
Message from Hon Jenny Macklin MP
Message from Hon Keven Andrews MP
Message from Darren Chester MP
Message from Kevin Thompson MP
Message from Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
To find out more about the campaign for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (and to find out how you can show your support!) go to Every Australian Counts.
Link to 'Pass it Around' by Hiedi Everett (includes lyrics): http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_9634658
Women with Disabilities Victoria Walk Against Violence
Members and friends of Women with Disabilities Victoria joined together on Thursday November 25 2010 for White Ribbon Day Activities. We met at AAMI Stadium and heard Mary Crooks (Executive Director, Victoria Women’s Trust) speak about the systemic nature of violence against women in our culture. We had a visible presence as an organisation as we waved hand flags which read “Respect” and “Women with Disabilities Victoria.” We then set off for the Walk Against Violence which culminated at Federation Square where the Not 1 More event was beginning. At Fed Square we met many friends from the community and the community sector, and attracted interest in membership of Women with Disabilities Victoria!
'Claiming Our Future' - History of WDV Book Launch
Government House, 22 November 2010
On November 22nd over 100 people attended a reception at Government House where Mrs Jan de Kretser, wife of the Victorian Governor, launched our history publication, Women with Disabilities Victoria's: Claiming our Future.
There is a PDF version of the book available on the publications page of this website or if you would like a hard copy please contact
Sarah on 9664 9317 or at email@example.com.
[Link all to Flickr image gallery]
Young Women's Health Forum
19 June 2010
Working with Women with Disabilities Experiencing Violence Forum
Northcote Town Hall, 21 July 2009
The joint forum on working with women with disabilities experiencing violence was a great success. 130 workers, including women with disabilities from the family violence, community health, justice and disability sectors attended.
Forum - Final Evaluation:
FV Disability Forum July 09 - Final Evaluation (Word 2.5MB, 46 pages)
[Link all to Flickr image gallery]
The Women with Disabilities Victoria Newsletter is produced quarterly and sent out to members in 12 font or 16 font size.
The newsletter contains information about our activities, and other events, news stories, information resources and opportunities.
The hardcopy newsletter is currently not been circulated, but please below for previous editions.