Equity & Diversity Annual Report – 2003 4. Disability Action Plan

4.1 Disability Discrimination Act

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes discrimination against people with a disability (and their associates) unlawful in the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs, as well as in a range of other areas.

As part of the Act, a ten-year plan, known as the Commonwealth Disability Strategy, was developed to remove barriers in Commonwealth policies, programs and services for people with a disability. All Commonwealth agencies were encouraged to develop a Disability Action Plan under the Act. A Disability Action Plan for the RBA was developed in 1998.

The Plan was structured around the following core strategies contained in the Commonwealth Disability Strategy to assist people with disabilities to participate in and benefit from the RBA's programs and services:

  1. Planning Better Services – the needs of people with disabilities should be considered in all stages of planning.
  2. Access to Buildings – access to Bank buildings and venues where meetings and conferences are held should provide for the needs of people with disabilities.
  3. Communication – information provided by the Bank should be in a format that, so far as practicable, is accessible to Bank clients and staff, including those with disabilities.
  4. Employment Practices – personnel practices and policies should be fair and equitable and assist in the recruitment and retention of staff by, wherever practicable, accommodating individual differences.
  5. Training & Education – all staff should be made aware of the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act and take into account the needs of people with disabilities.

4.2 Commonwealth Disability Strategy

Under the original Commonwealth Disability Strategy (Strategy), launched in 1994, all Commonwealth organisations were expected to implement Disability Action Plans and lodge them with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC). The Strategy provided a 10-year planning framework for Commonwealth organisations to:

  • promote acceptance that people with disabilities have the same fundamental rights as the rest of the community;
  • identify and remove barriers in program development and delivery;
  • eliminate discriminatory practices as employers and program administrators; and
  • develop plans, strategies and actions to ensure planning and service delivery takes into account the needs of people with disabilities.

The Strategy was reviewed in 1999 and the key aspects of the revised Strategy are as follows:

Equity: people with disabilities have the right to participate in all aspects of the community including the opportunity to contribute to its social, political, economic and cultural life;

Inclusion: all mainstream Commonwealth programs, services and facilities should be available to people with disabilities. The requirements of people with disabilities should be taken into account at all stages in the development and delivery of these programs and services;

Participation: people with disabilities have the right to participate on an equal basis in all decision-making processes that affect their lives;

Access: people with disabilities should have access to information in appropriate formats about the programs and services they use; and

Accountability: all areas of Commonwealth organisations should be clearly accountable for the provision of access to their programs, facilities and services for people with disabilities. This includes specifying the outcomes to be achieved, establishing performance indicators and linking reporting on outcomes of the Strategy to mainstream reporting mechanisms.

With this particular change in the revised Strategy, the Bank's Equity & Diversity Policy Committee determined that the Disability Action Plan would be incorporated into the Bank's Diversity Plan, and consequentially the Equity & Diversity Annual Report would be the platform for reporting on the progress of specific Plan initiatives.

4.3 Access & Equity Plan 2003

A sub committee of Diversity Contact Managers was established in May 2003 to review the RBA's current Disability Action Plan.

Photograph of Access & Equity Sub Committee

In order to cater to the needs of people with a range of disabilities the review of the Bank's Plan will consider the following issues as noted in the revised Commonwealth Disability Strategy:

Physical Access Communication Managers' Responsibilities
  • Building layout.
  • Fittings.
  • Lighting.
  • Signage.
  • Accessible formats.
  • Involvement of advocates and carers.
  • Use of assistive listening devices and TTY (telephone typewriter).
  • Provision of sign language interpreters for meetings if required.
  • Understanding of the concept of reasonable adjustment.
  • Awareness of the Bank's responsibilities under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy.
  • Knowledge of the Bank's Workplace Diversity Plan and Disability Action Plan.