Commission and HaDSCO collaborate to provide info to Geraldton

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The Equal Opportunity Commission co-hosted an information session with the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) for people with a disability, their carers and advocates living in the Geraldton area.
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Steve with community member aerial view

Senior Aboriginal Education and Conciliation Officer Stephen Goodall provided information on behalf of the Commission about the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (the Act) and the Commission's services. 

"It was a great opportunity to speak to people with a disability, their carers and their advocates about their rights under the impairment discrimination, and other provisions under the Act," Stephen said. 

He said it also helped people understand the difference between the complaints the Commission could accept, which were discrimination based, and which complaints were better placed under HaDSCO's jurisdiction.

"People often feel all types of less favourable treatment is discrimination, however discrimination is only unlawful if the less favourable treatment is mentioned in the Act.

"Sometimes unfavourable treatment is not considered unlawful discrimination under the Act and may be better placed with another accountability agency like HaDSCO, the Ombudsman Western Australia or Consumer Protection Western Australia," Stephen said.

He said the Equal Opportunity Commission was part of the Regional Awareness and Accessibility Program (RAAP) which coordinated officers from a number of accountability agencies to travel through WA's regional areas to provide outreach and awareness about their services.

"The RAAP works so well because people in regional areas who wouldn't ordinarily have access to accountability agencies' services can not only access the services but gain a better understanding of which agency is most appropriate to deal with their issue," Stephen said. 

He said the information session with HaDSCO was a breakout session during a RAAP trip to Geraldton with officers from Ombudsman Western Australia, Energy and Water Ombudsman Western Australia, Australian Financial Complaints Authority and Consumer Protection Western Australia.

"The RAAP trips are vital for providing complaints services to rural and remote areas of WA in a one stop shop.

"They also provide connections with government agencies, closing the gap between metropolitan areas and the regions," he said.