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Disability royal commission finds Federal Government responsible for ‘serious failures’ during COVID-19 – ABC News

By national disability affairs Nas Campaella and the Specialist Reporting Team’s Celina Edmonds


People with disability have been “forgotten and ignored” during the pandemic, leaving them “stressed and frightened,” a Commonwealth report has found.


Disability royal commission Chair Ronald Sackville said the Government was responsible for a “serious failure” in its communications with people living with disability.

The disability royal commission held a hearing with 36 witnesses in August into the impact of the pandemic on the disability community and today its COVID-19 report was tabled in Parliament.

In it, the commission made 22 recommendations and Mr Sackville called on the Federal Government to consider them “very swiftly”.

“The recommendations are designed to ensure that for the future, people with disability are consulted from the very outset,” he said.

“It was the absence of that consultation that led to significant failures in the responses of the Australian Government.”

Mr Sackville said there was no plan in place at the time the pandemic commenced that addressed the specific issues of people with disability.

“People were deprived of essential supports without warning and left without support and therefore bewildered, frightened and sometimes even without food or medication,” he said.

Mr Sackville said one of the “most disturbing” features of the commission’s inquiry was the lack of data on the number of people with disability who contracted COVID-19.

“Our recommendations include requiring the Commonwealth to make sure that data is collected and disseminated so that we know exactly what is happening within the disability community in this and any other emergency.”

The ABC has contacted the Government for comment on the report.


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