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Disability inquiry to hear COVID-19 impact

Source: AAP

The impact of coronavirus on people with a disability, as well as the federal government’s pandemic response, will be examined across a four-day royal commission hearing.

Almost 40 people, including those with a disability, their families, advocates and experts, will give evidence.

The commission will on Tuesday hear from leading disability rights activist Rosemary Kayess, who was last year awarded the Australian Human Rights Commission medal for her advocacy on the global stage. 

The hearing will focus specifically on the federal government’s COVID-19 response, with states and territories to be examined at a later date. 

It comes after the royal commission into aged care heard damning evidence last week about Canberra’s lack of planning in the sector and conflicting messages from various levels.

The disability royal commission in March released a statement of concern which called on federal and state governments to protect and support people with disability during the pandemic. 

The hearing is expected to hear of peoples’ struggles during isolation and their troubles accessing basic supplies, as well as evidence about poor communication from authorities.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth is among government officials who will front the commission later in the week. 

The boss of the National Disability Insurance Agency and representatives from the National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguards Commission will also give evidence. 

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