Media releases

23 May 2024 




The Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP.

Minister for Social Services.

Parliament House


Dear Minister Rishworth,

Request for Urgent Meeting to Discuss Consortium Funding and Sector Challenges

 We are writing on behalf of our consortium, comprising six National Peaks representing people with disabilities, with each a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO), requesting an urgent face-to-face meeting to discuss our critical funding concerns and the challenges currently facing our organisations and the sector.

Following the dubious success of our Disability Representative Organisation consortium bid, we find ourselves in a completely untenable financial position. Each organisation will receive approximately $143,000 per annum for the next two years. For AFDO, this represents over a 30% reduction from our already inadequate funding level. This funding is insufficient for AFDO to maintain its current operations, and the impact is similarly detrimental to each of the organisations within our consortium.

Added to this we are gravely concerned that Deafblind Australia, representing a significant and disadvantaged community across Australia was unsuccessful in its application and has been defunded. DBA had been funded in this role since 2017 and continues to provide solid key advice to your Government on issues impacting and concerns for their community. We fully support the refunding of DBA and all our consortium members have agreed to include DBA as a member of our consortium.

The Impact of Insufficient Funding

The persistent lack of appropriate funding is a continuation of inadequate support from the Department of Social Services and flawed policy decisions, leaving us with insufficient resources to effectively operate.

This not only hampers our ability to address existing issues within the Disability Representative Organisations (DRO) Program but also to continue our engagement in the numerous ongoing reforms, such as those resulting from the Disability Royal Commission (DRC), National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), aged care, DES employment reviews, and the National Autism Strategy, which we know Minister, are a priority for your Government.

These reforms represent the most significant changes for people with disabilities since the introduction of the NDIS and will have widespread impacts across the disability community. As National Peaks, our role is crucial in ensuring these reforms are beneficial and inclusive for all people with disabilities.

Consortium Funding Adjustment

We propose the following adjustments to our consortium funding to bring it in line once and for all with funding for other sector peak bodies and to ensure we can effectively carry out our collective responsibilities:

  • Consortium Funding Adjustment needed – $981,000 per annum
  • Inclusion of DBA as a member of our consortium with additional funding, making it seven organisations.
  • AFDO to receive $520,000 per annum, recognising our extensive membership base and national leadership role. This is still below the funding received by organisations such as PWDA, NEDA, FPDN, WWDA and CYDA.
  • A4, BCA, BIA, DA, DBA, and DFA to receive at least $220,000 each per annum. Recognising their national role and membership. This ensures an increase for all to actively contribute and is in line with funding provided to other peaks such as PDA but below that for the National Autism Alliance.

Broader DRO Sector Reform Funding

In addition, we also support the broader call for all DROs inclusive of our organisations to receive further funding to manage the extensive reform agenda impacting our sector, which is crucial for supporting people with disabilities and their families and providing relevant and essential advice to Government.


Our consortium, inclusive of Deafblind Australia, urgently seeks a meeting in person with you to discuss our concerns and the proposed funding adjustments. This matter is of utmost importance to ensure we can continue to represent and support the disability community effectively.

We look forward to your prompt response and to scheduling a meeting at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

AFDO CEO, Ross Joyce on 0402 842 040

AFDO President, Grant Lindsay on 0422 228 467

Signed on behalf of the following organisations:

  • Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia
  • Blind Citizens Australia
  • Brain Injury Australia
  • Deaf Australia
  • Deafblind Australia
  • Deafness Forum Australia


About AFDO

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) is a Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) run by and for people with disability, reaching over 4 million Australians. We are a unique representative organisation covering both disability specific and population-based disability communities and the pre-eminent national voice representing people with disability across Australia and internationally.

Our Members are 36 national and state disability advocacy organisations run by and for people with disability and their families, representing Australians with disability. Our vision is “That all people with disabilities must be involved equally in all aspects of social, economic, political and cultural life.”

Our Members:

Advocacy for Inclusion Inc. – ACT Arts Access Australia
Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia Blind Citizens Australia
Brain Injury Australia Deaf Australia
Deafblind Australia Deafness Forum Australia
Disability Advocacy Network Australia Disability Justice Australia
Disability Resources Centre – Vic Down Syndrome Australia
Enhanced Lifestyles – SA Physical Disability Australia
People With Disabilities WA Polio Australia
South West Autism Network – WA Women With Disabilities ACT
Women with Disabilities Victoria National Mental Health Consumer & Carer Forum
Advocacy WA All Means All
AED Legal Centre – Vic AMAZE – Vic
Arts Access Victoria Aspergers Victoria
Disability Advocacy & Complaints Service – SA Explorability Inc – SA
Multiple Sclerosis Australia Leadership Plus – Vic
National Union of Students – Disabilities Dept. National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder


TASC National Limited


Star Victoria Inc
Youth Disability Advocacy Service – Vic Tourettes Syndrome of Australia


Download this Media Release as a Word Document (DOCX)

Share this