NSW Greens MP and Disability spokesperson, Dawn Walker has criticised the NSW Disability Minister, Ray Williams for incorrectly stating that individuals seeking advocacy support can have that factored into their NDIS plan during Budget Estimates in the NSW Parliament this week.
“The NSW Disability Minister has revealed his incompetence by stating that people with a disability who sought assistance from an advocacy service can now include this in their individual plan under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)” said Dawn Walker MP.
“This is totally incorrect. NDIS plans don’t allow for advocacy support, there isn’t even a line item to accommodate this. It’s disturbing that the NSW Disability Minister is not across his own portfolio responsibilities when NSW is in the middle of a large-scale NDIS roll-out.
“Only a few months ago, the NSW Disability Minister was trying to cut funding to disability advocacy services across NSW, which so many people with a disability rely on for support with issues, such as housing issues, service complaints, employment discrimination or public transport access.
“Without these advocacy organisations, vulnerable people in our community will be left high and dry. Not every person with a disability is even eligible for the NDIS and those that are will not get advocacy support through their NDIS plans, despite what the NSW Disability Minister seems to believe.
“While the NSW Government may have temporarily backed-down on their heartless cuts to disability advocacy, that were expected to wipe-out 50 advocacy groups across NSW from June 2018, this still leaves people with a disability without long-term reassurance that an advocate will be available to assist them with their everyday needs beyond 2020.
“Without a secure funding source from the NSW Government, many advocacy organisations will either be forced to close or enact major staff layoffs. For instance, Ability Advocacy in Alstonville employ 6 staff and support 120 people with disabilities in Northern NSW. These cuts would mean the loss of 2 staff members and would be forced to stop providing support to 40-50 people with disabilities who would have nowhere else to turn. Similarly, DAISI in Ballina told me when I visited them that unless the State Government maintains disability advocacy funding, they would be forced to close their shop front office, lose staff and their organisation would be on the edge of survival.
“It’s shameful that the Liberal-Nationals continue to see people with a disability as easy targets and have used the transition to the NDIS as cover for their cost-cutting agenda.
“The NSW Government must commit to maintaining disability advocacy funding into the future and not misleadingly claim that the NDIS will cover all the needs for people with a disability in NSW” said Dawn Walker MP.