Australia committed to disability sports – High Commissioner


Accra, Dec 14, GNA – Mr. Tim Millikan, Acting Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, has said his government is committed to the development and support of people with disability in sports to help them out of poverty.

“Disability-related issues had always been at the heart of Australia’s international advocacy and diplomatic efforts. By supporting and participating in the International Day of Persons with Disability activities in Ghana – just as our colleagues at Australian missions throughout the world are doing – the Australian High Commission in Ghana gives expression to the Australian Government.

“It is a call on us all to recommit ourselves to the efforts and programmes, which will create an inclusive society, where development truly leaves no one behind, a society in which disabled people are empowered to live truly independent lives, achieve their aspirations, fulfill their potential and be the very best they can be in sports, education, career development and other spheres of life.”

Mr Millikan said this at the 2015 International Disability Day (IDD) celebration at the Accra Sports Stadium.

He said “the IDD provides an opportunity to reflect on how we can work together to raise awareness about disability issues and the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all”.

According to Mr. Millikan, numerous studies had revealed that sport can play a key role in the lives and communities of people with disabilities, the same as it can for people without disability.

He said participation in disability sport can result in improved functional status and quality of life as well as contribute to nation building, and that, participation of people with disability in elite sport can potentially act as inspiration for ordinary people to get motivated to participate in sport and other areas of public life.

Mr. Millikan said, “For these aspirations to happen, we need to: Create new opportunities for participation and competition, ensure adequate funding to enable people with a disability to access the sport of their choice.

“We need to integrate people with disabilities in mainstream sport even as we enjoy the sportsmanship and thrills of this day, let us be reminded of the responsibility we have, individually and collectively to support these sportsmen and sportswomen to ensure that they become the very best they can be.” He added.

He announced that the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop had released the Australian Government’s disability strategy, dubbed – “Development for All 2015-2020”, early this year, and it was aimed at strengthening strategies for disability-inclusive development in Australia’s aid programmes.

He said the strategy seeks to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in developing countries with the objective that development leaves no one behind.

“This objective has and continues to direct and drive the Australian Government’s programme for people with disabilities, including people with invisible disabilities – described as disabilities that are not immediately obvious such as mental health and psychosocial disabilities, as well as hearing impairments.” He stated.

GNA

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