Disabled People’s Organisations Australia (DPO Australia) is an alliance of Disabled Peoples Organisations (DPOs), which are organisations run by and for people with disability. DPO Australia promotes and seeks to advance the human rights and freedoms of all people with disability in Australia.
Our work is grounded in a normative 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 in Australia and internationally.
DPO Australia is the recognised nexus between government, people with disability and other stakeholders. Our key purpose is to promote, protect and advance the human rights and freedoms of people with disability in Australia by working collaboratively on areas of shared interests, purpose and strategic opportunity. In our work we seek to:
- Advance the rights of all people with disability from all walks of Australian life, in relevant national policy frameworks, strategies, partnership agreements and other initiatives.
- Promote and engender a collaborative, co-operative and respectful relationship with all levels of Government in our collective efforts to advance the human rights of people with disability.
- Build on and further develop strategic alliances and partnerships at the state/territory, national and international levels in order to to advance the human rights of people with disability.
- Promote the alliance at the international level as the coordinating point for international engagement with the Australian DPO sector.
- Build respect for, appreciation of, and faith in, the DPO sector in Australia.
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.