Deaf Society president and chairman of the Disability Council of NSW, Alistair McEwin, has been appointed as the new full time Disability Discrimination Commissioner.
Having a standalone Disability Discrimination Commissioner is welcome news since it became a combined portfolio in 2014 when then Commissioner Graeme Innes’ term expired. Calls from the disability community about this position have been heard.
Newly appointed Commissioner McEwin has been a consistent and respected advocate for people with disability, and as a deaf person he has an intimate understanding of the experiences and needs of people with disability.
Mr McEwin told the ABC that over the coming years he will be focussed on successfully implementing the NDIS.
“I’ve been born with a disability and I’ve lived with a disability all my life. So this is a humbling thing to be able to be the national advocate for all people with a disability,” he said.
The appointment of a dedicated Disability Commissioner could not have come at a better time.
Last week’s release of the new Willing to Work report (insert link to EAC article) showed that a very large proportion of people with disability face discrimination, especially in the workplace.
It also recommended many concrete steps that can be taken to begin to break down the barriers and combat pervasive discrimination in our society.
As the NDIS rolls out across the country, the time is right to act on these recommendations and it will take a strong leader and advocate like Mr McEwin to lead the change.