Ahead of the 2021-22 Federal Budget, which will be released later today, Tuesday 11th May, People with Disability Australia (PWDA) has shared a list of requests for the next Federal Government to address in the Budget.
The consumer advocacy group released a document called 'A Fair Go for People with Disability' and is calling on the Government to fund the implementation of a range of measures to meet Australia’s responsibilities under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.
The list includes measures such as funding for a national plan to end segregation of people with disability in the community, grant a 17-month extension for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, urgently address the housing affordability crisis and introducing and funding a National Flexible Workforce Strategy.
“The budget will be critically important for many disabled Australians who are facing heightened anxiety and significant disadvantage during a period of disruption, unrest and fear about the pandemic,” says PWDA President Samantha Connor.
She adds that widespread improvements to many disability policy areas were urgently required, but they must be developed in conjunction with people with disability.
“Over the past six months, the National Disability Insurance Agency has been trying to ram through changes to the NDIS that were designed without meaningful input from disabled people and which will almost certainly result in perverse outcomes,” says Ms Connor.
“We need a seat at the table to talk about any proposed changes to our NDIS, to have full access to the scheme’s raw data, to enter into legitimate co-design processes if any changes are required and to be sufficiently resourced in order to do so.
“PWDA and the entire disability sector is united in standing against changes which will adversely affect people with disability, especially exceptionally marginalised groups.”
Like other disability organisations, PWDA has been lobbying the Australian Government to urgently prevent sweeping changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
PWDA is among 11 key disability sector organisations that called on Government to halt its plans for so-called NDIS independent assessments. The group recently put its foot down, setting its terms of engagement for any future cooperation with the government.
The government’s proposed privatised assessment system has been opposed by people with disability, their families, academics, service providers and allied health professionals.
“We call upon government to ensure that we are able to access society on a level playing field, get the support we need and to have a fair go, just like other Australians,” Ms Connor adds.
Like more than 100 social sector organisations, People with Disability Australia wants the government to reconsider its planned approach to so-called independent assessments.
In relation to the planned approach to so-called independent assessments, PWDA is asking the Australian Government to:
Urgently halt the current independent assessment trials and fund an independent robust, transparent evaluation of the current pilot of independent assessments.
Fund robust, independent and transparent trials of alternative approaches to improving consistency in access and planning
Fund a meaningful co-design process with people with disability, their families and the organisations that support them to ensure a fair and consistent approach to both access to the scheme and planning
PWDA also wants the Federal Government to:
Fund a national plan to end segregation in workplaces, schools and other disability specific congregate environments
Legislate the ongoing funding of the NDIS, protect the DisabilityCare Australia fund and ensure that underspent funds are preserved and reinvested directly into the scheme.
Urgently address the housing affordability crisis by increasing Centrelink Rent Assistance, funding Aboriginal housing and crisis and homelessness services and investing in (non-segregated) social housing through direct grants to states and territories for people with disability
Immediately commence a plan of action to ensure that clinically vulnerable people with disability are prioritised for the most suitable vaccines for their medical requirements, as well as introducing an ethical decision making framework and a Shielded Person List
Fund economic independence for people with disability by introducing and funding a National Flexible Workforce Strategy
Ensure emergency preparedness and implement climate change readiness
Fully fund the implementation of the National Disability Strategy
Ensure full access to advocacy