Sun 15/03/2020 9:32 PM
Dear Mr Duncan
I am in receipt of your letter dated 10th March 2020 and informational flyers you included. Thank you for taking the time to seek me out and to make me aware of your needs not to mention our appalling track record of neglect.
I recently released a short video about homelessness and touched on disability as a common contributing factor in many cases. We have so much work to do. We cannot keep ignoring the needs of 20% of our population.
I will be the voice for the elderly and the disabled in the Gold Coast City Council.
I have been caring for my mum for 16 years. My brother committed suicide and my dad died of cancer and so she was alone. I came home from Tokyo to take care of her with my 3 year old daughter in November 2003. In January 2004 my daughter was diagnosed with autism then in March my mum suffered a couple of strokes. I have a very real understanding of what it is like to have to make ends meet on a pension, what it is like to put your family to bed, lock up the house and sneak out to do your job in the middle of the night and be home at 6.30am to prepare breakfast and get your special child off to school.
I chose to self manage my daughter's measly funding in the final year of DSQ so I would have some insight on how to operate when the NDIS rolled out. I am not sure it helped! I started working in the sector was dismayed at company's viewing my daughter and my mum as part of their bottom line. So I left and started a small company of my own https://www.own2feet.com.au/ thinking I would just help a few of my daughter's mates mums navigate the system.
Gold Coast NDIS registered provider | Own 2 Feet Pty Ltd | Queensland
Own 2 Feet Pty Ltd is a Gold Coast NDIS registered disability service provider. New to the market place, small family owned business - looking after your young adults as if they were our own.
I am a registered SDA provider although I do not operate any houses at this time. I am very familiar with the Liveable Housing Guidelines and I have a very firm understanding of SDA and think they should be in all new developments - at least at silver if not gold level. Platinum housing is a must but no en masse as we can't trust builders to get them right just yet....plus the proverbial "they" keep moving the goal posts. Perhaps we could encourage (read force) developers to include this in their future developments along with things that make living on the poverty line slightly easier such as solar power and water tanks. I am renovating my own home to open it to a couple of young people like my daughter in a couple of years time. I also have a very detailed unique solution to help many people in my position but I haven't moved forward with that yet.
I concur that an "assessment of future need should reflect the fact that disability could happen to anyone; no one ‘plans’ to have a disability." I am also aware of how SDA is funded and would love to see some public housing built to these guidelines however that is not in council's purview.
I have a 3 tiered approach to attack the issue of homelessness in our city but it will not be a quick fix neither I am afraid will be the issue of disability housing. Please be assured it as important to me as it is to your members. The success of the NDIS scheme to paramount to my daughter's future and safety so I am a confirmed allay!
With respect to your summarized points:
1.Access and inclusion plans
Upon election, I will meet with your group within the first month and/or convene an open meeting to discuss the needs of Division 6 residents who have a disability, or create a plan to implement the actions needed
2. Disability parking
I understand that we police the disability car parking passes issue in our shopping centres and I presume in general vigorously but am happy to investigate upon election exactly where we focus our attention and where we do not and make amends to that. I will review the number of spaces we have and work to increase those over the the first term - when I am sure of the timeframe required to deliver on this I will advise in writing.
3. Community connections
This is one of the items on the agenda for our first meeting to create a wishlist of infrastructure improvements to and from homes, services and venues. This will include repairs needed to footpaths, kerb ramps, crossovers and pedestrian crossings as a start.
4. Economic development
I am vocal about our councils error in judgement with their obsession with certain overseas markets. I wholeheartedly support the small business operators who offer inclusive tourism opportunities and will work to ensure they are included in the workshops and other opportunities our Economic Development Office has on offer. I am also very keen to educate other businesses on how to better serve people with a disability and find opportunities to undertake projects together if a council qualifies for grants/funding offers.
After consultation with the residents of the division, who I will need to examine how truly accessible our transport options are, is a must before can create a plan to improve those. The move to ensure the lions share of our health and legal services remain in the CBD should signal a focus on repairs and changes as outlined already.
yes people with disabilities should have choice and control and not be shoved into developments as an afterthought. Retro fitting supports is costly and well, just plain ridiculous when some forethought would alleviate much of the extra cost - I am about doing things right the first time. I support ensuring more accessible housing options in the centre of the CBD for those that can deal with that and further out for those who need something different to survive.
I hope I have gone some way toward answering your letter satisfactorily and I look forward to working closely with you in the coming term. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
From: Reece Wallen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, 11 March 2020 2:46 AM
Subject: Information for your consideration
Dear Council Candidate
Please find attached some information which we would like you to consider in your campaign for Councillor in the upcoming elections.
Advocacy Officer - Inclusive Local Communities
Spinal Life Australia
Supporting people with spinal cord damage to live accessible, equitable and empowered lives.
Phone: 1300 774 625
Mobile: +61 400504422
Mail: PO Box 5651, WEST END QLD 4101