Multiple disability advocates left disappointed by 2024–’25 Federal Budget

Posted 2 weeks ago by Georgie Waters
The 2025 Federal Budget speech was broadcast live from Parliament House in Canberra. [Source: Shutterstock]
The 2025 Federal Budget speech was broadcast live from Parliament House in Canberra. [Source: Shutterstock]

The 2025 Federal Budget has now been released but some disability advocates say more funding should have been allocated to support people with disability

Key points

  • An increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance and JobSeeker assistance are some positive funding allocations for people with disability
  • Members of disability organisations such as People with Disability Australia responded to funding allocations in the 2025 Federal Budget, with both praise and disappointment regarding certain decisions made
  • Ms Jonkers from PWDA said that in the future, she wants to see a ‘[…]total overhaul of housing, education, health and the systems [people with disability] rely on for support and to fully participate in the community’

With the 2025 Federal Budget now released, disability organisations have responded to the new funding allocations. One of these organisations, People with Disability Australia, is a peak advisory body that aims to help improve the lives of people with disability through support and advocacy. 

People with Disability Australia President Marayke Jonker praised the government for some aspects of budget allocations including help for eligible Australians with housing assistance.

“PWDA welcomes the 10 percent increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance and the higher rate of JobSeeker. This demonstrates some recognition of the disproportionate cost of living pressures for people with disability. More people with disability will now be able to afford essentials like food, electricity and health care — essentials we rely on to stay alive,” said Ms Jonker.

However, Executive Ben Carblis of Mission Australia, a community services charity, noted that this increase should have been higher to better support Australians struggling with the increased cost of living and rental stress.

“Those who rely on the government’s inadequate income support payments are living below the poverty line when income support should be a safety net that stops people living in poverty. 

“That’s why we urge the Federal Government to substantially increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance and lift income support payments to at least $80 a day to keep people in need out of poverty and help people in rental stress to avoid homelessness,” said Mr Carblis.

The 10 percent increase to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance will come from the 1.9 million dollars allocated in this year’s Federal Budget

However, while an increase to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance will somewhat benefit people with disability needing financial support, PWDA Treasurer Presley Chihuri believed more should be done to support people with disability in finding appropriate housing for their needs. 

“The commitment to deliver 1.2 million new homes by the end of 2029 is welcome, but the government has failed to acknowledge the challenge of delivering housing options for people with disability.

“We must be a priority cohort; we must be at the table. We won’t have choice and control over where we live and who we live with unless we’re prioritised and involved in the rollout and there’s no indication that this will occur.

“If you build for the disability community, you build for everybody. We’re frustrated this is another missed opportunity to increase housing options for people with disability and support the transition from group homes,” said Mr Chihuri.

Over six billion dollars has been allocated in this Federal Budget as a new housing investment with states and territories given an additional one billion dollars to build more homes.

Ben Carblis from Mission Australia made it clear that while this funding allocation will help create new housing, it simply is not enough to meet demand.

“Almost one million new social and affordable homes will be needed over the next two decades to meet growing demand, yet existing government commitments across Australia and this year’s Federal Budget investment do not come close,” said Mr Carblis.

While sufficient housing appeared to be a concern, Ms Jonkers also believed that some budget allocations should have been made towards directly helping people with disability.

“[…] Minimal growth for Disability Support Pension recipients is disappointing. PWDA will continue calling for a supplement to ease cost of living pressures for recipients,” she said.

Regarding the further funding set for the NDIS, Ms Jonkers made her stance known about ensuring people with disability and associated organisations are actively involved in discussions.

“The funding dedicated to consultation, price setting and governance needs to ensure genuine co-design with people with disability and NDIS participants. We don’t want to see this only directed to government agencies. Disability representative organisations and people with disability need to not just be in the room, they need to be leading reform, [and] this needs to be funded.

“We tentatively welcome the establishment of an NDIS Evidence Advisory Committee to provide advice to [the] government about what works for participants. This committee will only be successful if it’s led by people with disability who are NDIS participants.

“Twenty million dollars has been pledged to commence designing the new navigator role. We’ll be watching closely to see that the design process is done right,” said Ms Jonkers.

Additionally, despite being outlined in PWDA’s pre-submission recommendations to the Federal Budget, Ms Jonkers is disappointed about the limited response of funding allocations for open employment options for people with disability.

“There’s tinkering at the edges on employment for people with disability but we’ve been calling for a radical shift. We didn’t see that tonight. It’s not clear how the government will support the transition to open employment for all people with disability. We remain concerned measures announced tonight may continue to entrench segregated employment and deny people with disability access to mainstream opportunities,” she said.

Ms Jonkers also expressed that key aspects in pre-submission recommendations to the Federal Budget were missed in funding allocations which could have been used to better support people with disability.

“People with disability are tired of incremental change. We need a total overhaul of housing, education, health and the systems we rely on for support and to fully participate in the community. The Disability Royal Commission has shown that this is the only way we will end the violence our community has endured.  It is the only way we will have the same rights as everybody else and we haven’t seen enough commitment towards this tonight,” said Ms Jonkers.

What are your thoughts about the new Federal Budget for people with disability?

Let the team at Talking Disability know on social media. 

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