The funding allocation for the Royal Commission into the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability is a key announcement in tonight’s Federal Budget and is set to break records.
The Government is expected to allocate a staggering $527 million to the inquiry, overshadowing $372 million spent on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the $75 million spent on the Banking Royal Commission and expected $100 million on the ongoing Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
The updated Terms of Reference are expected to be revealed as soon as Friday following two weeks of public consultation.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had originally asked for the Commission to be jointly funded by the States, Territories and the Commonwealth before announcing it would be fully funded by the Federal Government in March.
Co-Chief Executive of People with Disability Australia Matthew Bowden labelled the funding announcement as “fantastic.”
“The abuse and neglect of people with disability is a really significant issue and it’s great to see it is being taken seriously.”
Mr Bowden says the impressive funding amount was required for this particular inquiry to address the huge scale of issues within the disability sector.
“This royal commission is looking at all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation in all settings and contexts — the scope is very big so the funding needs to reflect that.”
Greens Senator and disability advocate Jordon Steele-John who originally spearheaded the calls for a Royal Commission into disability many years ago took to Twitter to share his joy.
“After 5 years of campaigning, there will be a Royal Commission! This urgently needed investigation is now a reality because of us; because of the disability activists who fought tirelessly, alongside our Greens movement, to see justice done. Today we won.
“Thank you to everyone who shared stories, raised your voices, rang the PM, rang state & territory Premiers, wrote letters, wrote emails, talked to family & friends & kept fighting so that future generations can live free of such things.
“This is not the end of the fight. In the months ahead we will need to make sure that the commission we get is the commission we need - not the one politicians want to give us.
“We need a final terms of reference that truly empowers the commission to do its job and we need Commissioner’s with the lived experience and expertise necessary to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice.
“But just for a moment take a breathe, hug a mate and let tears of joy and sadness flow freely. We won, we are powerful and when we come together, change is possible!!”
Chief Executive at Disability Advocacy Network Australia Mary Mallett highlights the needs for interpreters, translators and other disability aids to ensure maximum accessibility for the Royal Commission would result in additional costs not faced by previous inquiries.
“We are very pleased that the government is taking this seriously,” she says.
The Royal Commission into the violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation against people with disability will be the sixth Royal Commission in as many years.