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PWDA calls for 2022 Budget measures that improve health and safety of persons with disabilities

A man in a wheelchair at the emergency room of the city hospital.
Photo: Igor Akimov/ Dreamstime

Australia’s disability advocacy organisation is calling on the Federal Government to provide additional funding in next week’s budget to give people with disability more support during emergencies, better support via the NDIS, and increased support from disability advocacy services.  

People with Disability Australia President Samantha Connor: “With a federal election just around the corner, the upcoming federal budget – due to be released on March 29 – will set much of the election agenda.

“PWDA will be seeking a range of spending commitments in our upcoming election campaign across a variety of areas such as employment, financial security, health and wellbeing, housing, safety and justice.

“However, for this upcoming budget, what we’re focusing on are four key things that will significantly improve the health and safety of people with disability across Australia.

“In uncertain times such as these, what we expect from our national government are measures that will protect us from danger and provide us with the equity, dignity and respect to which all Australians are entitled.”

“We’ll be giving our reaction to the Government’s budget and the Opposition’s budget reply following their release next week. In the meantime, we’re encouraging members of our community to get in touch with their local federal members with their own budget priorities.”

PWDA’s 2022 Budget priorities are:

1) More money to improve emergency planning and support for people with disability.

The 2019 bushfires, the COVID pandemic and now the recent floods have shown us that people with disability don’t get the support and services we need in disasters and emergencies because the system isn’t designed to help us. This needs to change now and the government should deliver sufficient funding to enable the disability sector to spearhead this change.

2) More money to ensure a fully funded and sustainable National Disability Insurance Scheme.  

The NDIS is boosting our economy as well as transforming the lives of people with disability. We want to see the government commit to supporting the NDIS with a guarantee of ongoing sustainable funding, such as a dedicated Commonwealth fund as was suggested in the 2011 Productivity Commission Report.

3) More money to improve COVID safety for people with disability.

There is still no targeted approach to help give people with disability, their families and support workers the security they need to be safe from COVID-19. We need adequate income support to make sure all people with disability are living above the poverty line, as well as measures in place so that we can safely attend school, work and recreational activities. Our government must renew their focus and make sure those who are most at risk from COVID-19 are safe and supported.

4) More money for disability advocacy services.

Appeals against adverse NDIS decisions have risen 300% in the past six months, which is putting enormous strain on Australia’s publicly funded disability advocates who help people with disability navigate complex legal and regulatory systems such as the NDIS. We want to see funding for this vital service tripled to help ensure people with disability are getting the fair go they deserve.

We’ll be giving our reaction to the government’s budget and the opposition’s budget reply following their release at the end of the month. In the meantime, get in touch with your local federal member with your budget priorities.

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