View this email in your browser

Welcome back! 

2022 has already been a busy year for DCLS with submissions, NDIS Appeals funding, community engagement, staff updates, our intern program and planning for upcoming events! 

Read on to find out more...

The Disability Support Pension Submission
Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the purpose, intent and adequacy of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and is pleased to see many of its key recommendations reflected in the final report which was tabled on 18 February 2022.

While many of the Committee’s recommendations should be implemented immediately, the full overhaul requires consultation with people with disability, Aboriginal and other representative bodies, treating health professionals, disability advocates, community legal centres and many others.

DCLS acknowledges the work of the following organisations who also made submissions to the Inquiry, expressing profound problems with DSP in the NT and the effects :
  • the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT)
  • the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA)
  • Danila Dilba Aboriginal Medical Service
  • the Central Australian Land Council, and
  • the NPY Women’s Council
To read more on the Senate Inquiry into the purpose, intent, and adequacy of the Disability Support Pension or to read Darwin Community Legal Services’ submission, see here:
Submission 127
The Disability Royal Commission
What is the Disability Royal Commission?
A Royal Commission is an official way of looking into a big issue in society.
There is currently a Disability Royal Commission (DSP) that is looking into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability in Australia. They want to hear about peoples experiences.
There are many ways you can tell your story to the Commission; make a submission, go to a community forum or attend a public hearing. Submissions close on 31st December 2022.
About the Disability Royal Commission
We are excited to introduce you to Krisha who is our new Disability Royal Commission Advocate. Krisha will be engaging with the community and spreading awareness about the DSP. If you have a story to tell or know someone who has a story to tell, Krisha can support you in making your submission in any way that you feel comfortable.   
Krisha Ketchell
Disability Royal Commission Advocate
I am Darwin girl born and bred, a proud aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, and very excited to be a part of the DCLS team!

NDIS funding cuts

Northern Territory Disability Advocates call for action on NDIS Appeals crisis.

Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS), Disability Advocacy Services (DAS) Alice Springs and NPY Women’s Council (NPYWC) are all NT based organisations that receive funding from the Department of Social Services for NDIS Appeals Advocacy.

NDIS Appeals Advocacy provides specialist support to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants and people seeking access to NDIS supports when appealing decisions made by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

However, the funding our services receive for NDIS Appeals Advocacy is highly inadequate, to the point that none of us now have funding for even one full-time position.

DSS has not correlated funding for NDIS Appeals Advocacy support to NT participant needs, the service areas or the specialist nature of the work.

On top of this DSS has advised that the NDIS Appeals Advocacy funding of $80,000 pa received by DCLS for NT wide assistance, will be reduced by 30% next financial year.

The NDIS Appeals Advocacy funding each of our organisations receives is unresponsive and tokenistic to the NT context and is dismissive of the rights and needs of people with a disability in the NT especially those in remote and very remote settings.

Please read our joint statement regarding the NDIS Appeals Crisis in the NT that we have sent to NT Disability Minister Worden and federal Ministers Rushton and Reynolds

READ: NDIS Appeals Crisis in the NT
News & Media Releases
We have recently issued a number of media releases on various matters.
Click the link to read in full.

The Santa Teresa Decision "Reasonable Comfort"
Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) welcomes the decision by the Northern Territory Court of Appeal that public housing tenants in the Northern Territory are entitled to ‘reasonable comfort’. Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) residents have experienced years of hardship, waiting for basic repairs to their homes.
Read More
DSP Senate Enquiry
Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) is pleased to see many of its key recommendations reflected in the final report of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the purpose, intent and adequacy of the Disability Support Pension (DSP), tabled on 18 February 2022.
Read More
Calls to Mandate Airconditioning in Rentals
Darwin Community Legal Service pushes for “reasonable comfort” RTA reform.
Calls have been made for airconditioning to be mandated in rental properties which has left renters and other stakeholders divided; including Darwin Community Legal Service (DCLS) and its’ Tenancy Advice Service (TAS) Solicitors who can see both sides of the argument
Read More
Half of all NDIS plans reviewed in the NT had funding slashed over last six months
DCLS recently briefed The Guardian on the disproportionate impact on Territorians with the national disability insurance agency's apparent shift in approach.
Read More
Community Engagement
Despite the very wet wet-season we have been having, our team have been out-and-about advocating and sharing information.

SDRS Advocate, Ramnik, represented DCLS the Elder Abuse Action Australia Conference in Hobart.

At the conference, Nik presented the poster "My plight as a Senior" which featured his aged care client and her letter to the Minister and the quick actions that followed.

The letter, written with the support of Ramnik, highlights the challenges many older people face when receiving aged care services.

True advocacy in action!

DCLS enjoy collaborating with community organisations in community education surrounding your human rights and the law.
Great work by our TAS Solicitor Phil - seen here at Your Rights thru Art program run by NT Legal Aid.
The team in Wagait Beach providing advice on legal and advocacy matters.
Positions Vacant
Principal Solicitor

The Principal Solicitor is responsible for the DCLS legal practice including individual client work, community legal education, community empowerment and law reform.

The legal practice consists of the GLS and TAS and the Principal Solicitor is responsible for relevant aspects relating to the SDRS in accordance with the Community Legal Centres Australia Risk Management Guide.

The Principal Solicitor position aims to ensure that the legal practice and DCLS operations delivers quality, accessible help and are striving, energetic and effective in advancing social justice.

Aged Care Advocate - Katherine
The Seniors and Disability Rights Service (SDRS) provides advocacy support to older people and people with disabilities and their representatives, community education and community awareness activities, and law reform and policy development.⁠
⁠This position is Katherine-based and is offered as a part time 12 month contract. Working under the direction of the SDRS Team Leader, you will provide advocacy support, identify community education and training needs and identify and report on systemic issues that adversely affect our consumer groups

Financial Advocacy Officer
Working in close collaboration with Aged Care Advocates, the Financial Advocate is responsible for providing support to advocates and older people receiving aged care services, to assist with a better understanding of costs and pricing, to support consumer choice. Providing support in line with the National Aged Care Advocacy Framework providing specialist financial advocacy that is client directed, rights based and always on the side of the older person. This position will not be required to provide financial advice or counselling. ⁠
click here for more information
follow us on socials!
Copyright © 2022 Darwin Community Legal Service, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 3189
Darwin NT 0801

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.