The Australian Government will invest $100 million over three years to ensure people with disability continue to have access to advocacy and legal support.
From 1 July 2022, more than $73 million in grants will enable 59 organisations across Australia to deliver the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP).
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the program provided people with disability access to advocacy services to promote their interests and protect their welfare.
“An advocate can identify the issues that the person needs help with, give them information about all of their available options and help them to express their views to others and understand and defend their rights,” Minister Ruston said.
“As part of our record investment in the NDIS, we need to ensure people with disability can access the services they deserve and get what they need.”
Under the NDAP, advocates provide disability advocacy support through a range of different models. This includes individual advocacy, which focuses on discrimination, abuse and neglect; and systemic advocacy, which seeks to remove barriers and address discrimination.
Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Linda Reynolds said the Morrison Government’s $100 million investment in advocacy and legal support demonstrated the government’s firm commitment to protecting the rights of Australians living with disability.
“Our commitment to supporting the rights of Australians with disability includes ensuring they have the best possible access to the world-leading NDIS, which is now transforming the lives of more than 500,000 Australians with significant and permanent disability,” Minister Reynolds said.
“This advocacy funding also comes on top of last week’s budget investment of a record $33.9 billion in 2022-23, and $157 billion over four years for the NDIS.”
Minister Ruston said $30.4 million in grants across three years would also enable 50 providers to deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Appeals program.
“This investment reinforces our commitment that people with disability should have access to independent and robust support services,” Minister Ruston said.
“Advocacy is vital in ensuring the needs and rights of people with disability are listened to and considered in decision-making.”
Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) chief executive Mary Mallett welcomed the Government’s continued investment in disability advocacy.
“The Government’s funding provides certainty and continuity for advocacy organisations, enabling them to plan and deliver better outcomes for people with disability who need their vital assistance,” Ms Mallett said.
NDIS Appeals provides people with access to advocacy and legal support when seeking review of National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) decisions in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Providers include 42 NDAP providers and eight legal aid commissions.
Before these grants commence on 1 July 2022, current NDIS Appeals providers will receive an additional $4.5 million in the 2021-22 financial year to support the increased demand on their services.
While the focus of the NDIS Appeals program is advocacy support, funding for legal services is available for complex cases or in circumstances where applicants cannot represent themselves.
For more information about the NDAP and NDIS Appeals programs, go to www.dss.gov.au