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25 January 2022

With double dose rates as low as 50 per cent for Australians with disability, a dearth of rapid antigen tests (RATs), people with disability are again being treated as second class citizens.
That is why Labor is backing the calls of disability groups for the Disability Royal Commission to immediately convene an emergency public hearing into the failure of the Federal Government to keep people with disability safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and specifically during the Omicron wave.
Despite their responsibility this Government has abrogated its duty to Australians with disability.
The Morrison-Joyce Government must also make the NDIA reveal their secretly held figures on how many NDIS participants have died from COVID.
At the outset of this pandemic people with disability were treated as a lesser priority than elderly Australians despite being equally vulnerable to COVID.
People with disability were initially included in phase 1a of the vaccine rollout along with the aged care sector but, as the Government has admitted, they were then ‘de-prioritised’.
Today, double vax rates for people on the disability support pension and NDIS participants are terrible, let alone booster rates.
And Australians with disability, as well as service providers, carers, and support workers, seem to be at the back of the queue to access RATs.
Australian carers are also being forgotten and left behind during this pandemic and are missing out on the essential healthcare and goods they need.
The time has come for an independent examination of what has gone wrong and what can be done better in the future for Australians with disability and carers during a major health crisis.