EXTRACT from an article by Luke Michael
One of Australia’s oldest disability advocacy groups is set to have its funding cut next year by the New South Wales government, with the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme meaning that disability advocacy services will no longer be funded by the state.
IDEAS is one of Australia’s longest established independent information providers for people with disability, and has launched a campaign calling on the NSW government to reverse its decision to cut funding for the organisation in June 2018.
The petition said the NDIS “leaves disability-related organisations like IDEAS in a funding crisis”.
Diana Palmer, the CEO of IDEAS, explained the reason why the advocacy group was losing its funding.
“IDEAS is funded under the advocacy and information program in NSW, which is part of the disability services program. The federal government has agreed that the NDIS doesn’t include information advocacy services and that these services are a shared responsibility,” Palmer told Pro Bono News.
“However the NSW government hasn’t had a nuanced conversation around that and in their bilateral agreement they will hand all their disability services over at the end of the transition period, which for NSW is June 2018.
“For us, that means that NSW will no longer fund IDEAS, even though we have received funding for many years, since the 1980s. In that time, over the phone alone, we have helped around 6.7 million people.”
Palmer said that the transition to the NDIS made disability information and advocacy services like IDEAS “more important than ever”.
“The Productivity Commission report agreed that state jurisdictions shouldn’t be pulling out too soon, and that they need to keep those supports in place to allow for the better transition to the NDIS in its infancy, so people have access to that independent information,” she said.
“It’s especially important now, because we’re in a major period of change. There are still people who have very little knowledge of the NDIS, and what it actually could do for them.
“There’s also a majority of people with disability who won’t actually be eligible for a funded package under the NDIS. Those people need good quality information and advocacy support to allow them to access services to help them in their daily lives.”
SOURCE: Michael, Luke. “Disability Advocacy Group Fights to Restore State Funding.” Pro Bono Australia, 9 November 2017.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia