Disabled take to street

DISABLED Australians will stage a national rally and wheelchair blockade in April aimed at forcing politicians to respond to the clear evidence of their disadvantage.

Sunshine Coast protesters will be bussed to Brisbane where they will join people with disabilities from the Gold Coast and Brisbane at Southbank before crossing to George St and continuing to Parliament House.

The Queensland rally will be replicated on the same day, April 30, in capital cities across Australia and will be followed by protests at regional centres.

Disability campaigner Peter Yeo said yesterday he was confident numbers attending from here would match the thousands who had descended on Brisbane to protest Noosa's amalgamation with the former Maroochy and Caloundra councils.

A Productivity Commission report released last year that showed a $6 billion shortfall in funding for the disabled coupled with another that ranked Australia 27th among OECD countries in its support for the sector have ignited an anger that would only be satisfied by real action rather than promises and more reports, Mr Yeo said.

He said while both sides of politics had committed to the eventual introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme neither had proposed anything to address the current level of identified disadvantage.

"There is no money to address it," Mr Yeo said.

"People are hurting now and have been hurting for a long time.

"This is an issue that directly affects one in four Australians and then their families and carers."

Mr Yeo, who runs the ZeroPoint5 Foundation, predicted the April 30 rally would be one of the largest Australia has seen.

Meanwhile the Disabled Surfing Association has signalled its intention to demand that all mainstream sports delivered on the inclusion policies for which they were receiving Australian Sports Commission funding.

National president, Gary Blaschke OAM, said it was just not good enough that sport was ignoring the responsibilities for which it was funded.



WHEN: April 30 -12.30pm,

WHAT: National wheelchair blockade and disability rally.

WHERE: Leaves Southbank 12.30pm. Arrives Parliament House George St 1.30pm.

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