A Shorten Labor Government will provide an additional $2 million a year to peak disability advocacy organisations to ensure people with disability have a powerful voice in the debates and decisions that affect their lives. People with disability and their advocates spent decades fighting for a National Disability Insurance Scheme. Now, because of their hard work, the NDIS is real.
As the NDIS rolls out across the country, independent advocacy for people with disability becomes more important, not less. Advocacy organisations help people with disability ensure their rights are protected; help them make decisions about their lives; and make sure their voices are heard in matters that affect them.
The additional funding that Labor is committing will ensure disability advocacy peak bodies have secure funding into the future, so they and the people they work for have certainty. This funding will also support new and emerging organisations to advocate on behalf of people with diverse sets of disabilities.
In contrast to Labor’s strong support for advocacy, the Liberals have done all they can to silence the voices of people with disability. The Liberals have cut funding for peak disability advocacy organisations. Organisations like the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, Deaf Australia and Blind Citizens Australia had their future thrown into uncertainty.
While a very small part of this funding has since been reinstated, this funding is inadequate and the future of these organisations remains in doubt after 1 July 2016. The Liberals also abolished the full-time Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, silencing another powerful voice for people with disability, only recently reinstating the position.
Under Labor, people with disability will have strong advocates to make sure their interests are never sidelined, never ignored and never forgotten.