Australia keen to help people with disabilities: Feakes

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes. Picture: REINAL CHAND

THE Australian Government says improving the lives of people with disabilities in the region is an integral part of its development assistance work in the Pacific.

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes made the comment while opening the first rehabilitation and mobility conference in Nadi this week.

He said the Australian Government was honoured to partner with Motivation Australia and the Pacific Disability Forum (PDF) to contribute to disability rehabilitation and access to assistive technology within health services in the Pacific.

“Many people with disabilities and others in our region need access to rehabilitation services and an important part of the Australian Government’s work in this space is around strengthening health systems in our region and we are pleased to be able to support people to access quality rehabilitation services,” said Mr Feakes.

“Rehabilitation services also allow people access to life-changing assistive devices and products necessary to participate equally and meaningfully.”

PDF deputy CEO Savina Nongebatu said access to assistive devices was an area which would hugely benefit from a regional multi-stakeholder approach.

“PDF and its members will continue to advocate to ensure much-needed services are accessible and available for all,” she said.

Motivation Australia CEO Kylie Mines said the conference was timely and an important opportunity to critically analyse what was working well, where the gaps were and what could be done better.

The conference was funded by the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), Australian Government, Pacific Community (SPC), Latter-Day Saints Charities, New Zealand Government, Torquay Rotary Club, World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific and the Eleanor Walker Education Support Trust.

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