Thursday, August 24, 2017

On the subject of Human Rights

As a disability advocate "I had not idea how little the majority of my friends and colleagues understood about my life and my lack of human rights." I smile at the lame attempts some made in response to my last post. Clearly, my colleagues are under the illusion of what my life behind close doors looks like and a strain it takes on my wallet.
At the core of the NDIS are two very basic human rights:
  1. Choice; and
  2. Community participation
As my colleagues fight for equal rights for marriage equality, the are blissfully unaware of how my human rights are deny by the structure of society. 
"Find someone to come to you." So an ablebody person thinks I should opt for second best?  1. That denies choice and 2. Doesn't meet the community participation goal for the NDIS.  Really it sounds like a feasible option its just not the option I want.  Why is it so hard to explain the meaning of ordinary life and the right to chose where I see a health professional.
My rights to choice extends far beyond my medical needs and looks a my right to a meaningful life. For me that life is centred around creativity and making a contribution to my local arts community.  The human rights I am fight for . . . community participation at a price I can afford.  "I could get the power cut off," I joked to someone. 
 The location of my home fortunately means I am not imprisoned completely by my inability to use public transport.  Becoming a NDIS participant meant for the first time I don't need to take the risk to go out on my own. However as everyone pays for transport it is not cover by NDIS.  If my support workers agree to drive their car and most have said 'no'! they that will cost 78 cents per km.
Does that sound like equality to you?
Myth # 1: Half-price taxis are as affordable as the public transport system. Basically my transport budget is $10 per day.  Which gets me in and back to Brisbane City on a Train.  OK if I am happy to stay is the CBD?  However, my $10 doesn't get me to the airport. $9 gets me a one-way trip to my gp.  I dip into Tuesday's budget to go home.
I have funding for improved lifestyle and have chosen hydrotherapy. Travel to the pool at half prices is $20 one-way.  Taxis limit me to one stop, where I might chose to go to Spotlight, then to my hairdresser and finally the supper market.  Each stop by taxi incurs, flag fees, the cost goes up. 
Myth # 2 Now I just been taking about meeting my basic needs here.  Like $112 to go to my specialist appointment at the PA hospital. Oh but, you have you transport funding.  Too true, that leaves me with $20 for the other 13 days in a fortnight. Assuming I skip my hydrotherapy sessions that week. 
Myth # 3 the transport funding provides incentive to work or volunteer.  Nope!  I spent that on just meeting my basic needs.  Luck for me I can shop online. Chuckle postage is now actually cheaper.
Myth # 4  I don't want to work. That's why I am artist, own a small arts business and advocate for Support Studios at National level. Umm! How much was that taxi fare from the airport?
To top it all off, we are still fighting to keep our taxi subsidy. The Queensland Government has given a two year rupee.  I is still consider to expensive a luxury for the state to afford.  The Every Australian Counts campaign that was for runner to introduce the NDIS was fought on enforcing the human right of all Australians and especially those (and their families) disadvantage by disability.
You can help by letting you local MP know that keeping the taxi subsidy scheme ensures some level of rights for those who can't use public transport due to their disability. Please share my post to let other know about this looming failure of the NDIS.  
Well . . . better go make some art so I can go to the pool next week and keep fit.

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