Governments have failed to address disability - Tesch
Despite the rhetoric, governments across Australia have failed to address disability employment gaps, according to Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch.
"Discrimination in our workplaces is still a constant," she said, speaking on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Friday, December 3.
In an essay on the topic, to be published in this week's Peninsula News EXTRA, Ms Tesch said: "Even as a Parliamentarian, the barriers remain.
"In 2017. I was elected as the Member for Gosford.
"As I was forced to take the back entrance on my first day of work, the silent discrimination was louder than ever before.
"When I first arrived, I was reminded regularly that 'this is the oldest Parliament in Australia' as though this is a license to discriminate against people with disabilities.
"The inaccessibility of Parliament was obvious and there were parts of my workplace I couldn't dream of getting to.
"After four years of meetings and letter-writing, this year ramps were finally built in the Speaker's Garden and the north side of the building.
"I was wheeled out for the opening of one of these ramps but the emotions I felt were very mixed.
"On the one hand, I was very happy that people with various physical disabilities can now access that beautiful garden and one side of the building.
But I was bitterly disappointed, and I still am, that this kind of infrastructure has taken four years to install and there are still many areas within the building which are still so hard for people like me to reach.
"Since I arrived in Macquarie St, the ongoing conversations with both the Parliament and the Government about the accessibility to our workplace have been tiresome.
"Every year I make submissions to Parliament's Disability Inclusion Plan.
"This year I was asked for my input but I found myself writing the same suggestions that I have been making for four years- with little confidence that the fundamental changes we desperately need will be taken seriously and acted upon.
"I hope all Parliamentarians believe the NSW Parliament should be the People's Parliament.
"However without a serious determination to fix these issues, this sentiment is only lip-service.
"It is hard to feel included when parts of your own workspace are inaccessible.
"This is the same battle being fought by people with disabilities in workplaces across our community.
"How can people who are disabled feel included when there are so many barriers?"
Media release, 3 Dec 2021
Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford