All of the support organisations receiving funding from the Government to cover people engaging with the Disability Royal Commission was announced today.
Nearly $140 million will be invested in advocacy and counselling support and legal assistance services for people with disability wanting to tell their story at the Royal Commission.
Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, says, “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to access support if they choose to participate in the Disability Royal Commission at any point over the next three years.
“This funding includes $7.35 million for key disability representative organisations to address systemic barriers for people affected by the Disability Royal Commission.
“Ten state-based counselling organisations will also receive $27.7 million over three years to deliver in-person counselling, for those who need more support.”
Providers of counselling and advocacy supports are attending a Melbourne workshop today to discuss how they will provide assistance to people participating in the Royal Commission.
Minister Ruston says, “It is encouraging to see service providers working together to ensure people get the support they need.
“We are also currently looking at ways to strengthen supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their communities.”
Blue Knot Foundation established the National Counselling and Referral Service ahead of the Commission and has already received over 300 calls.
Dr Cathy Kezelman AM, Blue Knot Foundation President, says it’s encouraging that people are accessing the free, independent and trauma-informed supports.
“Making a decision to tell your story for a formal inquiry can be daunting so discussing your personal situation with an experienced practitioner or asking them to connect you with the right services is a great first step in the process,” says Dr Kezelman.
Disability Advocacy Network Australia Chief Executive, Mary Mallett, says all providers have agreed to work together to make sure all people engaging with the Commission have adequate support.
“Whether you are an advocate, a counsellor or a legal representative, we all want the same thing and that’s to ensure maximum accessibility for people with disability who want to engage with this process,” explains Ms Mallett.
For counselling support or to be referred to other support services, contact the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468, Monday to Friday 9 am to 6 pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT), Saturday to Sunday 9 am to 5 pm AEDT.
There are interpreters available if you wish to receive support in another language. You can inquire about this when contacting the service.
The National Relay Service (NRS), on 133 677, is available for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment.
To find out more about the available supports, head the Disability Royal Commission website.