The Queensland Government has delivered on its election promise to ensure that Queenslanders living with disability can stay connected to their communities and support during a disaster using digital technology.
Communities, Housing and Digital Economy Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was committing $500,000 for the Access, Affordability and Ability Digital Inclusion project to link people living with a disability with devices, data and digital skills to keep them connected with their communities.
“As have we seen with recent flooding and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Queenslanders continue to face many challenges and we know that these challenges can have a significant impact on people with disability,” Ms. Enoch said.
“To ensure people with a disability have access to support and services during our health response to COVID or in natural disaster emergency situations it is important they have digital connection."
“The ability to access the digital world has been key to enabling people with a disability to have the right and timely information, as well as access to essential goods and services to support their health, emotional wellbeing and continued social connection.”
The Access, Affordability and Ability Digital Inclusion project brings together Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN), GIVIT and Volunteering Queensland and Care Army volunteers to support people with disability.
The project will have three key areas:
QDN CEO Paige Armstrong said the project aimed to improve the lives of people with disability and reduce the risk of injury or death caused by emergencies such as health and natural disasters.
“The concept came about during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when QDN members were contacting us saying that they didn’t have access to devices, sufficient data or the skills needed to access groceries, medical supplies, and other essential services online,” Ms. Armstrong said.
“This project aims to improve the digital inclusion of Queenslanders living with a disability living in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Ipswich, and Townsville over a 12-month period."
“We’ll work with GIVIT, Volunteering Queensland and QUT to source devices, and set them up to ensure they match each individual’s access needs."
“QDN Digital Champions and volunteers will work with neighbourhood centres to deliver individual support and workshops that build the skills, knowledge and confidence of our participants."
“This is a very important project, which will make a real difference in the lives of Queenslanders with a disability."
“At QDN we believe ‘nothing about us, without us’, which is why we’ll be working closely with people with disability, their families, and carers to ensure that this project is accessible, inclusive and meets their needs.”
Ms. Enoch said that the Access, Affordability and Ability Digital Inclusion project complements other Queensland Government initiatives with the sector to support Queenslanders with disability during times of disasters.
“In October we launched a suite of disaster planning and preparedness resources for people with disability and their support networks as part of the Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) project,” she said.
“It’s projects like DIDRR and Access, Affordability and Ability Digital Inclusion that will help save the lives of people with disability during disaster and ensure they are able to access the support they need.”