Inclusion Australia urges all governments to put the interests of people with disability first.
Last week’s headlines in the Fairfax media [‘Ministers accuse federal government of prioritising budget surplus over NDIS’] are of great concern to Inclusion Australia.
Fairfax reported the NSW and Victorian governments are in rare agreement in accusing the federal government of prioritising a budget surplus over people with a disability by refusing to release $1.6 billion in critical unspent NDIS funding.
In a bipartisan approach to the federal government, NSW Disability Minister Gareth Ward and his Victorian counterpart Luke Donnellan demanded the funds be released immediately.
A letter co-signed by the ministers to the federal minister responsible for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, said it is “unacceptable” that reserve NDIS funding is not being released.
As Inclusion Australia gathers with over 1,200 people with intellectual disability and their families and supporters in Geelong for the annual VALID Having a Say conference, we can only deplore the rhetoric of adequate funding for a ‘demand-driven’ system when it is so clear that unused funds are not being prioritised to resolve the unmet needs of people with disability.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme was designed and developed to be a system whereby people with permanent and significant disability could access the supports they needed. However, the lives of many people with intellectual disability and complex support needs remain, or have become more, complicated under the NDIS with no serious resolution in sight.
We believe that arguments between governments about the complexities of the NDIS reserve fund could be resolved with mutual goodwill and a focus on the people the NDIS has been set up to support.
Quotes attributable to Kevin Stone, CEO, VALID:
“The current buck passing and blame shifting between the Commonwealth and State governments is all too reminiscent of the bad old days of the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA) and National Disability Agreement”
“A ‘demand-driven’ NDIS is not the same as a ‘demand-met’ NDIS. People with disability, including people with intellectual disability, deserve to have their reasonable and necessary support needs met in a timely manner.”
Quotes attributable to Catherine McAlpine, CEO, Inclusion Australia:
“We hear too many stories of inadequate plans, reviews taking many months, people unable to access the equipment they need to believe that the demand for support under the NDIS has been met.”
“Inclusion Australia urges all governments to put the interests of people with disability first and ensure that funds allocated for the benefit of people with disability are used for that purpose, and that purpose only.”
Kevin Stone AM (CEO VALID)
0418 562 922.
Catherine McAlpine (CEO Inclusion Australia)
0419 530 524