New strategy, a step in the right direction

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The NT Disability Strategy and Action Plan moving the Territory to be a more inclusive community.

Joanne Giersch, 52, has been navigating a system of disability funding and support for most of her son’s life.

Her 29-year-old son, James Morrison, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and is living with a psychosocial disability.

Ms Giersch welcomed the recently announced Northern Territory (NT) Government Disability Strategy and said it had been long-awaited.

“This is a step forward for me,” Ms Giersh said.

James, who features on the front cover of the Strategy document, lives in supported independent housing and is an active member of the community.

James attended specialist schools in Darwin, and currently works for Helping People Achieve. He is involved with Total Recreation, cycles in the Grand Fondo each year, is a devoted fan of super cars and performed with Minister for Territory Families, Kate Worden, at the Dancing with Celebrities event last year.

“James has this great life and to see him be accepted for who he is, that is just the best thing for me,” Ms Giersch said.

Job Lorejas, 30, has been a carer for James for four years through Somerville Community Services.

“To have a clear direction for carers and the disability sector will be very good,” Mr Lorejas said.

This week, the NT Government launched the first ever Disability Strategy and Action Plan.

The 10-year strategy and three-year action plan promote inclusion, accessibility and equality for people with a disability in the NT. It is a whole-of-government commitment that aligns with Australia’s Disability Strategy and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability.

Territory Families, Housing and Communities’ Acting Executive Director Social Inclusion, Josie Curr, said the strategy had been in the making for some time and to see it come to fruition was extremely positive.

“It is a welcome acknowledgement of the Territory becoming more inclusive as we all work towards an accessible Territory,” Ms Curr said.

The strategy aims to empower people with disability through:

  • protecting and respecting their rights and choices
  • breaking down barriers to achieve social inclusion and participation
  • increasing accessibility to places, information and services
  • providing education, skills and opportunities to increase employment and provide financial security
  • supporting their health and wellbeing.

Read more about the Northern Territory Disability Strategy 2022-2032 PDF (1.8 MB) and Northern Territory Disability Strategy Action Plan 2022-2025 PDF (401.3 KB).

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