Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) is an alliance of four national Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs) in Australia. DPOs are organisations that are led by and made up of people with disability.
DPO Australia promotes and advances the human rights and freedoms of all people with disability in Australia by working together on areas of shared interests, strategic priorities and opportunities. Our work is grounded in a human rights framework that recognises the United Nations human rights conventions and related mechanisms as fundamental tools for advancing the rights of people with disability.
The four national DPOs that make up DPO Australia have been funded by the Australia Government to represent the views of people with disability, to advocate for systemic change to improve the lives of people with disability and to provide advice to Government/s and other stakeholders. In our work we seek to:
- Promote and protect the human rights and dignity of all people with disability
- Represent and promote an understanding of the diversity of people with disability
- Promote and support the active participation of people with disability in decision-making processes and all aspects of community life
- Foster strategic partnerships with other disability and human rights organisations and groups
- Foster co-operative and respectful relationships with all levels of government
DPO Australia is comprised of four national peak bodies:
- National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
- First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)
- Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)
- People With Disability Australia (PWDA)
DPO Australia is overseen by a National Council, comprised of the President or Chairperson of each of our member organisations. All members of the National Council are people with disability. Current council members include:
- Margherita Coppolino, President, National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
- Gayle Rankine, Chairperson, First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)
- Karin Swift, President, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA)
- Bonnie Millen, President, People with Disability Australia (PWDA)
DPO Australia is coordinated by a Director, with each of the four member organisations directly contributing to the work of the alliance, including submissions, media and representatives activities. Therese Sands is currently the director of DPO Australia.
The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is the national peak organisation representing the rights and interests of people from non-English speaking background (NESB) with disability, their families and carers throughout Australia.
NEDA is a community based, non-government organisation funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. NEDA has a small secretariat and is governed by a Council of state and territory representatives. The majority of Councilors are people from NESB with disability, their families and carers.
The First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) (FPDN) is a national peak organisation. FPDN represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their families and aim to be a strong voice of and for them. FPDN do this using a range of strategies including providing advice to government and educating the government and non-government sectors about how to meet the unmet needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
FPDN also seeks to address the stigma that some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability may experience by having its members, who are themselves Aboriginal people with disability, speak about their experiences.
Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) is the peak organisation for women with all types of disabilities in Australia. WWDA is run by women with disabilities, for women with disabilities. It is the only organisation of its kind in Australia and one of only a very small number internationally.
WWDA’s work is grounded in a human rights based framework which links gender and disability issues to a full range of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. This rights based approach recognises that equal treatment, equal opportunity, and non-discrimination provide for inclusive opportunities for women and girls with disabilities in society. It also seeks to create greater awareness among governments and other relevant institutions of their obligations to fulfil, respect, protect and promote human rights and to support and empower women with disabilities, both individually and collectively, to claim their rights.
Founded in 1981, the International Year of Disabled Persons, People with Disability Australia seeks to provide people with disability with a voice of our own. PWDA have a cross-disability focus representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability. PWDA is a non-profit, non-government organisation.