Disability inquiry to measure virus impact

Sophie Moore
A royal commission will hear how COVID-19 has affected people with disability and their supporters

A royal commission wants to hear from people with disability about the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on them and their families, and if enough had been done to prepare for the outbreak.

The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability will hold a public hearing to gather evidence from people with disability, their families, advocates and experts as well as government representatives.

It will examine whether there was adequate preparation at all levels of government and among services for the crisis, Chair Ronald Sackville said in a statement on Thursday.

"It is proposed that the hearing will also examine any systemic issues that may have arisen, or been exacerbated, during the pandemic."

In April, the royal commission released an issues paper on Emergency Planning and Response within the disability sector.

Responses so far have identified a range of concerns which emerged during the outbreak, including access to information, services and support, a lack of oversight, and the heavy toll COVID-19 restrictions have taken on people with disability throughout the crisis.

The paper also asked for feedback about what can be done to improve the safety and wellbeing of people with disability during emergencies like the pandemic.

The hearing is set to take place in Sydney from August 17.

It will also be livestreamed on the royal commission's website with live captioning and Auslan-English interpreters.