Systemic Advocacy

People who come from a culturally and linguistically diverse background with disability frequently encounter significant additional barriers to having their needs met. Through our advocacy work with individuals we become aware of additional barriers which restrict people’s access to important information and services and limit their ability to fully participate and be included in family and community life.

These key systemic issues are taken up in wider forums with governments, services and communities to influence positive sustainable changes to attitudes, policies, practices, and resources to support people from a non-English speaking background with disability. AMPARO Advocacy provides responses to State and Federal government legislation, policies and practices to highlight the needs and concerns of Queenslanders from a culturally and linguistically diverse background with disability. This role assists government and community to understand the specific challenges and issues faced by this group and to explore ways of addressing these challenges.

A small number of state-wide systemic priorities, informed by our work with individuals, are identified each year as part of the management committee’s annual planning process. AMPARO Advocacy continues to advocate for many of the recommendations in Language and Culture Matter: Remove the Barriers Now to be implemented.

THE NDIS and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: Aiming high for equitable access in Queensland, 2016

AMPARO launched this report at the Griffith University Symposium held on 11 October 2016.

The report aims to highlight longstanding disadvantage and additional barriers that have contributed to ‘decades’ of lower levels of participation in specialist disability services by people from CALD backgrounds with disability. It makes 25 recommendations seeking to inform the development of social policy, strategies and practices that will support equitable access and participation in the NDIS.

The NDIS and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: Aiming high for equitable access in Queensland

Language and Culture Matter

Disability Royal Commission

The Disability Royal Commission was established in April 2019 in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence against, and the neglect, abuse and exploitation of, people with disability. These incidents might have happened recently or a long time ago. The Disability Royal Commission is investigating:

  • preventing and better protecting people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • achieving best practice in reporting, investigating and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability
  • promoting a more inclusive society that supports people with disability to be independent and live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability are key areas of inquiry for the Royal Commission. The terms of reference direct the Royal Commission to have regard to: the specific experiences of violence against, and abuse, neglect and exploitation of, people with disability are multilayered and influenced by experiences associated with their age, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, intersex status, ethnic origin or race, including the particular situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culturally and linguistically diverse people with disability.

AMPARO Advocacy was very excited to be approached by the School of Public Health and Social Work at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2013 to participate in a research project: An exploration of the barriers to services and inclusion of refugees living with disability.

“Disadvantage and disability: Experiences of people from refugee backgrounds with disability living in Australia”

This paper reports on a small study undertaken as a first step in building knowledge and regarding the lived experience of the nexus between refugee background and disability.

Download the full paper here

“Restrictive practices on refugees in Australia with intellectual disability and challenging behaviours: a family’s story.”

The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of a refugee family navigating complex disability and restrictive practice service system.

Download the full paper here

AMPARO Advocacy sits on several advisory groups.

Queensland Transition Advisory Group (QTAG)

Membership of this advisory group enables AMPARO Advocacy to provide advice and feedback on strategies, projects and approaches that are necessary to prepare Queenslanders for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). AMPARO continued its membership of this group in order to highlight the specific challenges and issues that people from CALD backgrounds with disability experience and to influence the development of targeted strategies to address longstanding disadvantage.

Through our involvement in this group AMPARO promotes the need for more to be done to build the capacity of Queenslanders with disability from CALD backgrounds to understand the opportunities that the NDIS will provide and how to best take advantage of these. We advocated for an increased commitment from the Queensland Government to resource additional work to help prepare CALD communities for the introduction of the NDIS across Queensland including the need to:

  • Build the capacity of CALD communities to understand the needs and rights of people with disability so diverse communities are more inclusive;
  • Raise expectations for a ‘good life’ and what that could look like for people with disability and their families;
  • De-stigmatize issues of disability in CALD communities;
  • Inform people about the availability of mainstream and disability specific services;
  • Undertake intensive preplanning with people with disability and their families from CALD communities;
  • Link vulnerable people with disability from CALD backgrounds to appropriate mainstream and disability specific services including the NDIS.

Queensland Accessing Interpreters Working Group (QAIWG): QAIWG is made up of community organisations and peak bodies advocating for the provision of high quality language services and equitable access to culturally responsive services in Queensland since 2008. The Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) continues to provide support to convene the working group with the current Multicultural Policy Officer Kamil Shah providing excellent support to the working group.

QAIWG hopes the information presented in the following reports “A Matter of Interpretation” and “Still a Matter of Interpretation” provides strong evidence of the need for high quality accredited interpreting and translating services, that are supported by culturally competent service delivery in Queensland.

A Matter of Interpretation – December 2008

Still a Matter of Interpretation – October 2012

Working Effectively with Certified Interpreters


QCOSS in conjunction with the QAIWG, hosted a webinar to assist organisations to access and work with interpreters for clients with difficulty communicating in English. This webinar can be accessed via QCOSS Community Door.

Policy and Guideline Template

QAIWG developed a template policy and guidelines on engaging and working with interpreters to provide best practice model how human services can best support access to credentialed interpreters for their clients. These templates provide valuable assistance to organisations to support access to interpreters for clients with difficulty communicating in English. These documents are can be accessed via QCOSS Community Door.

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