How technology can change the lives of people with a disability

- April 8, 2016 2 MIN READ

Over the past 30 years, we have witnessed as technology has permeated nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Advances in technology have affected everything – from how we work with one another, how we shop right through to how we connect with our loved ones.

For people with disability, technology can be a truly transformative, life-changing force. It has given movement to those unable to move, it has given a voice to those unable to speak and it has given sound to those unable to hear.

As the NSW Minister for Disability Services, I believe the unapologetically ambitious reform that is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will unleash a wave of technological innovation in disability services.

The NDIS will create untold, previously imaginable opportunities for people with disability, their loved ones, staff and providers.

The facts are clear. The NDIS in NSW will create an extra 30,000 jobs in the disability services sector, support an additional 64,000 people with disability and more than double funding for disability services to over $6 billion a year.

Importantly, by giving people real choice and control over their own lives we will create a vibrant and competitive disability services market. A market where the best ideas, best technologies and best services will flourish.

This is where Remarkable, Australia’s first disability focused tech innovation accelerator, comes in. Remarkable’s launch could not have occurred at a more advantageous point in time. It is an initiative of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, and supported by the NSW Government and Telstra Foundation.

It will engage up to 300 technology, design and disability experts to create up to 30 new technology based solutions for people with disability.

Remarkable will be at the forefront of identifying, cultivating and nurturing the best and brightest ideas in disability services technology.

Last Thursday, I was proud to attend the launch of Remarkable and open the Enabled by Design-athon, a two-day event aimed at brainstorming innovation solutions targeted at better including people with disability.

The excitement in the room about the possibilities of Remarkable, and the ideas it will foster was palpable.

Over the coming weeks and months, I look forward to seeing what ideas flow from Remarkable. Ideas which I am confident will change the lives of thousands of people of disability for the better.

Image: John Ajaka and Senator Mitch Fifield.