8/5/12: AFDO and PWDA: Budget should prioritise disability

Federal Budget should Prioritise Disability

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and People with Disability Australia (PWDA) have called upon the Federal government to provide a strong focus on supporting people with disability to be included in the community as part of tonight’s Budget.

“People with disability have the same rights to be included in all areas of Australian life as every other citizen,” said Lesley Hall, AFDO CEO.

“Unfortunately, a lack of appropriate supports and poor community attitudes means that people with disability have lower chances of finishing education and finding employment, and a much greater chance of living an isolated life of poverty,” said Ms Hall.

In particular, PWDA and AFDO called on the government to:

Provide meaningful funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): The Federal government should outline its funding commitment to ensure the launch of the NDIS will happen mid 2013, and should clearly outline how funding will be raised and controlled in a sustainable way for the life of the Scheme.

Dedicate funding to realize the National Disability Strategy: Although the NDIS will significantly improve the lives of some Australians living with disability, it does not resolve all the barriers to participation in everyday life. For example, the NDIS does not cover education and employment support, which are key to participation. AFDO and PWDA believe the National Disability Strategy sets out a comprehensive way forward for disability reform and its implementation should be funded equally comprehensively.

Continue to provide income support  to people with disability: The Disability Support Pension and other benefits must be  provided to all people with disability who require income support at a level which enables them to have an adequate standard of living.

Supporting disability advocacy and disabled person’s organisations: Underpinning all of the work in the disability space is advocacy, whether it is through traditionally funded organizations doing individual and systemic advocacy, or through disabled person’s organizations including self advocacy groups for people with a range of disabilities. Without the strength of voice provided by different advocacy options, people with disability are less able to have control and choice over their lives and the government decisions which affect them.

PWDA and AFDO are particularly pleased to be a part of a strong disability presence at the government’s Budget lock up, with AFDO Chair, Dean Barton-Smith and AFDO Policy Officer, Leah Hobson, attending alongside Michael Bleasdale, a PWDA Executive Director.

Michael, Dean and Leah will be at Parliament House in Canberra from 8 - 9 May and will be available for comment in Canberra prior to and immediately after the Budget is announced.

Media Contacts
AFDO contact:
Lesley Hall, AFDO CEO: 0417 320 818
Leah Hobson, Policy Officer: 0430 210 980
PWD contact:
Daphnee Cook, Communications and Membership Development Manager: 0405 013 779
Email: daphneec@pwd.org.au