Disability equity at the heart of Australia’s development program

Media-release | August 8, 2023

Leading disability inclusive international development agency, CBM Australia, warmly welcomed the Australian Government’s renewed commitment to disability equity and rights as a core issue for action in the development program, as part of the new International Development policy, launched today.  

CBM CEO Jane Edge said this forward-focussed policy comes at a critical time for people with disabilities in our region and beyond, with extreme poverty on the rise globally for the first time in decades.  

“Multiple crises – the COVID-19 pandemic, cost of living and climate crisis – are having catastrophic effects of people’s health and livelihoods, and people with disabilities are feeling these effects most harshly.”  

Australia’s new International Development policy also identifies gender as a focus area. Women and girls with disabilities often face double marginalisation due to their gender and disability, facing higher levels of domestic violence and less access to decision making. It will be important that there is a strong connection between disability equity and gender equality work in the delivery against this policy. 

CBM also welcomes the placement of climate change as a priority of the new policy. As the climate crisis continues to worsen, its impacts are being felt most harshly by the poorest and most marginalised people who have contributed the least emissions, 20 per cent of whom are people with disabilities.

“I have seen firsthand how the changing climate is having a devastating effect on people with disabilities who already faced barriers to basic health and wellbeing,” Ms Edge said. 

“In Kenya, I learned about the impact of the food crisis from prolonged drought on people with disabilities and their families…farmers being forced to choose between planting seeds or using them to feed their families”. 

In Vanuatu, we recently heard how rising sea levels and extreme weather events are causing food insecurity for people with disabilities and their carers, who have limited access to livelihoods supports. 

The Australian Government has committed to the development of a Disability Equity and Rights strategy to go alongside the International Development policy. 

As a core partner in delivering Australia’s aid program, CBM Australia has long and enduring connections with regional, national and local partners, including representative organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs). With partners, we stand ready to engage in the development of the Disability Equity and Rights strategy to ensure it truly models genuine partnership and reflects the priorities of the Disability Rights Movement in our region and beyond.  


Jane Edge is Chief Executive Officer of CBM Australia and a member of the Board of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID). 

For media, contact Emma Hipango on EHipango@cbm.org.au


About CBM Australia  

CBM Australia is a Christian international development agency, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest places in the world. In 2022, CBM Australia transformed the lives of 4.64 million people with disabilities. CBM Australia draws from 115-years’ experience globally and 45 years in Australia. It works alongside people with disabilities to deliver sustainable programs, advocacy and advisory. 

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