Motivation Australia in cooperation with the First People’s Disability Network (FPDN, formerly the Aboriginal Disability Network) carried out consultations in ten communities in East Arnhem Land, Central Desert, Northern Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands. Twenty-six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with mobility disabilities participated and related their stories and experiences of being service users.
“Enhancing the mobility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island People with a disability: Raising awareness, identifying barriers and planning for potential solutions. This project will give a voice to Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island people with a mobility disability, providing an opportunity for them to tell their story about the challenges they face in accessing effective mobility equipment and services to enable them to live their lives within their own communities.”
First People’s Disability Network (Australia)
The evolution of the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) as the national peak organisation representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities can be traced as far back as 1999 when the then Department of Families and Community Services with the Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Commission (ATSIC) bought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities from every jurisdiction to discuss the development of a national peak. Over the ensuring ten years the development of the national peak, (the National Indigenous Disability Network (NIDN) as it was then known) faced a number of challenges including the demise of ATSIC which significantly inhibited the further development of the network. Capacity to move forward amongst its leadership was also very difficult as there were no funds available for the NIDN to continue to communicate. As a result membership of the NIDN dwindled to the point where it was no longing functioning in any meaningful way. However with the election of the Rudd government in 2007, members of the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW (ADN) advocated directly to the new Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Mr Bill Shorten MP at which point funds were made available to the ADN to investigate the feasibility of establishing a national peak organisation representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities.
After holding a series of community consultations across the country and two face to face national gatherings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities in April 2010 the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) (FPDN) was officially named and endorsed as the new national peak organisation representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities.