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Greens announce Accessible Australia Plan for Aussies with disabilities

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Disabled person and spokesperson for Disability Rights and Services Senator Jordon Steele-John has announced the Australian Greens have released a plan to improve the lives of persons with disabilities across the country.

“I am so excited to release the first stage of our monumental Greens plan for disabled people ahead of International Day of People with Disabilities.”said Australian Greens Spokesperson for Disability Rights and Services Senator Steele-John.

“The Australian Greens are committed to centering the needs and voices of disabled people. Our Accessible Australian plan provides a clear pathway forward to fix the broken systems disabled people interact with every day, and will enable our community to live fully, and enjoy our lives.”

“One of the systems that must better meet the needs of disabled people is the NDIS. I am committed to ending the uncertainty and distress experienced by many on the NDIS, that’s why The Greens are committed to properly funding, staffing, and resourcing the NDIS.”

“In the balance of power, the Greens would push to remove the age limit that prevents disabled people over 65 from being accepted in the NDIS. The aged care system is not providing sufficient support for disabled people over the age of 65. The Australian Greens want to ensure everyone is able to access support to live a good life.”

“Outrageously, we experience violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation by those who are there to support us, or at the hands of institutions we have no choice but to interact with. That’s why The Greens are committing to investing $300 million in the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission so it is able to undertake its compliance and investigative capacity.”

“Working together, The Greens and the disability community have achieved many things. We’ve stopped the Morrison Government’s attempts at implementing Independent Assessments, successfully negotiated stronger confidentiality protections for people sharing their experiences with the Disability Royal Commission, and obtained justice for Thalidomide survivors. We’re determined to improve our NDIS too.”

The Australian Greens Announcement has been supported by The Disability Doesn’t Discriminate Campaign, Polio Australia, and Young People In Nursing Homes National Alliance.

Mark Townend, CEO of Spinal Life Australia, the organisation behind the Disability Doesn’t Discriminate Campaign supports this policy position of Senator Jordon Steele-John and the Australian Greens.

“We have been campaigning to expose the disgraceful and deliberate decision, made in 2013, to exclude people with disability from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on the basis of age. Disability can impact anyone at any time and doesn’t discriminate, so why should age matter? It is unfair, unjust, and unacceptable, and it must end now,” Mr. Townend said.

“It is unconscionable that Australians with a spinal cord injury over 65 who are excluded from the NDIS, are forced onto the My Aged Care Scheme, which provides a maximum of $52,000 a year in support, has a waiting list of up to 18 months and is means tested. A younger person with the same spinal cord injury, can qualify faster for the NDIS and receive a funding package of up to $200,000 a year. At Spinal Life Australia we hear these heartbreaking stories every day and hope this decision by the Greens will end the shocking inequity once and for all.

“Some of our members have missed out on NDIS funding packages by mere weeks. These are Australians who have fought in wars, paid taxes all their working life, and don’t deserve to be discriminated against,” Mr Townend said.

“Polio Australia welcomes this announcement from the Australian Greens. Those permanently disabled by polio in their early childhood were optimistic about the creation of the NDIS. Survivors thought the NDIS would provide disability support not available through the aged care system, but were devastated when the scheme was capped at age 65.  It’s imperative to remove this artificial limit and end the unconscionable age discrimination against those with a lifelong disability.” Polio Asutralia

“Properly funding the NDIS goes hand in hand with completing the National Injury Insurance Scheme. Both are needed to provide a comprehensive disability support system for Australia.” said Dr Bronwyn Morkham, Young People in Nursing Homes National Alliance.

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