Disability Advocacy Services Funding

Concerned about the continued lack of long-term, secure funding for vital independent Disability Advocacy Services despite calls for funding from the Ageing & Disability Commissioner, today Abigail successfully moved another motion calling for the Government to support these essential services.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I move:

That private members' business item No. 423 outside the order of precedence be considered in a short form format.

Motion agreed to.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (21:24:35): I move:

(1) That this House notes the NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner's Review into Disability Advocacy in NSW published in 2019, which recommended that:

(a)funding for the independent disability advocacy sector be secure and ongoing; and

(b)at a bare minimum, current funding levels for the sector should be maintained. 

(2) That this House calls on the Government to:

(a)provide certainty for independent disability advocacy services by publicly committing to adequately fund the sector on a long-term basis;

(b)in line with the commissioner's review, provide a budget allocation for independent disability advocacy services of at least $13 million for financial year 2020-21, $14 million for financial year 2021-22 and $15 million for financial year 2022-23; and

(c)urgently consult with the independent disability advocacy sector, separate from consultation conducted with the NSW Disability Advisory Council, when considering the structural forms proposed in the review.

I will keep my contribution relatively short because we have all been here before and the positions of various parties in this Chamber have already been well made. In August last year this House noted that independent disability advocacy, information and peak representative organisations play a critical role in upholding the rights of people with disability and called on the Government to ensure that secure, long-term funding for independent disability advocacy, information and peak representative organisations be provided as soon as possible.

At the time, the Government opposed this motion with the justification that it would act as soon as possible following completion of the review into disability advocacy in New South Wales conducted by the Ageing and Disability Commissioner. In fact, the Hon. Damien Tudehope suggested that The Greens' motion was perhaps "a few months early" and that concern about the future of the disability advocacy sector was "alarmist". It is now over two months since the completion of the Ageing and Disability Commissioner's report and only a few months until funding for disability advocacy services across the State ceases. But there has been no word from the Government on whether people with disability will still have these organisations advocating for them in a few months time.

In the meantime, the sector is so concerned that its services will be forced to shut their doors that it is being made to put crucial resources into the campaign to maintain its funding, rather than dedicating its full attention to individual and systemic advocacy work. Let as now end this saga for all concerned and let these disability advocacy organisations get on with providing vital services to people with disability across the State. I urge this House to call on the Government to urgently provide certainty for the future of disability advocacy services in line with the recommendation of the commissioner's review and to consult with the sector.

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