In the last few years, society seems to have made some ground in its treatment of people with a disability.
In Australia, a big change appeared to ripple through society when former prime minister Julia Gillard floated her plan for the National Disability Insurance Scheme in 2012.
The plan received widespread public support. It seemed like a watershed moment.
People seemed happy to pay more through the Medicare levy to fund the scheme. In 2013, the then federal government committed $14 billion towards it.
Since then, there's been plenty of discussion about the NDIS and how it's been handled by successive governments. No doubt, there will be much more to come.
On Tuesday, there will be plenty of discussion about many issues related to disability. This is because it's International Day of People with Disability. It's a day for raising awareness of the benefits of including people with disabilities in all parts of life.
The United Nations creates a theme for the day each year. This year's theme is: "Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership".
The day examines how society can strive to better include people with a disability in day-to-day life. It seeks to remove barriers for such people, so no one gets left behind.
Newcastle's Kurt Fearnley is Australia's patron for the day.
Fearnley said he wanted the day to be "a launching pad for further action".
He said people with disabilities were entitled to the same "respect, independence and choice" as others. He's calling for honest discussion about the barriers in society that prevent this. He wants people to work together to break down these barriers.
He asserted that people with disabilities have the same rights to employment, respect, independence and equality as everyone else.
One of his messages is that we all have a role to play in breaking down the barriers faced by people with disabilities.
Mr Fearnley says one in five people in Australia live with a disability. That's 4.3 million people.
He says people with a disability are less likely to have a job. They face daily challenges that people without a disability rarely do.
One of the ways to mark the day is to encourage people with a disability to share their stories.
The Newcastle Herald has given people a platform to do so today.
In one example, Newcastle accountant Paul Gruppelaar, who lives with cerebral palsy, spoke about the positive change that had happened over the past 20 years, particularly in the workplace. Discrimination, though, still exists. More change is needed.
The last word should go to Mr Fearnley, who says society is moving forward, but still has a long way to go to remove barriers to ensure that people with a disability can reach their full potential.
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