Last night’s 2018-19 Federal Budget announcement has highlighted Government initiatives and funding allocations across a range of priority areas, including promises to increase support for people with disability.
Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan says the Turnbull Government will continue to provide a genuine safety net for those in need, while strengthening the integrity of the system through a focus on sustainability.
“A sustainable welfare safety net helps the Government live within its means, which guarantees support is provided to those who need it most,” Mr Tehan says.
The main areas of focus within the Budget include increasing the disability workforce, supporting people with disability who are ineligible for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support, aiding adjustment to the Disability Employment Service reform and supporting victims of domestic and family violence.
The Government will establish a NDIS Jobs and Market Fund to ensure the disability workforce can meet the growing demand as the it reaches full scheme. A funding grant of $64.3 million over four years will support one of the largest job creation opportunities in Australia’s history, as the workforce is expected to more than double by 2020.
The Jobs and Market Fund will raise awareness of NDIS job opportunities for school leavers, support underdeveloped disability provider markets in rural and remote areas and help businesses build their capability.
It will also play a pivotal role in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations in becoming NDIS registered providers.
From 1 July 2019, clients of Commonwealth funded disability programs who are ineligible for the NDIS will receive continuity of support through the Government’s commitment of $92.6 million over four years.
Although the majority of Commonwealth disability program clients are expected to transition to the NDIS by full roll out on 30 June 2019 (excluding Western Australia), some clients will remain ineligible and in need of other supports.
The initiative will deliver support for 15 Commonwealth programs, including mental health programs, carer programs, Mobility Allowance recipients, clients of the National Auslan Interpreter Booking and Payment Service and the support Fund.
“We welcome the announcement of funding for mental health supports for people currently receiving supports under programs that are transitioning to the NDIS, who will not be eligible for an NDIS package,” Mission Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Toomey says.
“We now await the detail around the program to ensure that it is delivered in a way that best meets people’s mental health needs.”
Approximately 27,000 existing Commonwealth clients who do not meet the NDIS residence, age or disability requirements will continue to receive support.
The Budget also outlined a commitment of $9.9 million in grants to Disability Employment Service providers to offer support during the program reform, while continuing to deliver higher quality services to Australians with disability seeking employment.
Around 7,400 frontline workers, such as nurses, counsellors, disability and settlement services workers will be trained to identify and support victims of domestic and family violence, thanks to an additional $6.7 million in funding.
Over 18 months, $11.5 million will be committed to 1800RESPECT, the national domestic, family violence and sexual assault counselling, information and support service to help meet increased demand, whilst providing 48 trauma specialist counsellors.
Therese Sands, Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia says they will be holding all sides of the government to account for the clear statement in the Budget that the NDIS is fully funded, now and into the future.
“We hope this now ends the uncertainty for people with disability, the ongoing political debate and the cuts to social security and services as trade-offs for NDIS funding,” she says.
For the full 2018-2019 Federal Budget click here.