NSW Budget Neglects Disability Needs, Prioritizes Must-Haves

People with Disability Australia

People with Disability Australia (PWDA) has welcomed the NSW Government's investment in housing and cost-of-living relief but is disappointed by the lack of funding for people with disabilities in today's NSW Budget. The national cross-disability rights and representative organisation had expected more targeted investment to deliver the reform agenda laid out in the Disability Royal Commission Final Report.

PWDA President Marayke Jonkers has welcomed the significant investment in housing and commitment to deliver 6,200 new homes but expressed concerned at the lack of commitment to ensuring these are fully accessible.

"When you build for people with disability you build for everyone. The failure to commit NSW to the Livable Housing Design Standards means we are denying disabled people the right to safe and affordable homes.

"Unless the 3,100 homes earmarked for women and children fleeing violence are fully accessible, women and children with disability will continue to have nowhere to go," Ms Jonkers said.

NSW is yet to sign onto the Livable Housing Design Standards in the National Construction Code, an action PWDA has long advocated for.

PWDA has called the lack of forward investment in foundational supports and ensuring mainstream services are accessible a missed opportunity.

"For too long people with disability in NSW who are not NDIS participants have been denied access to supports that would enable them to live free and equal lives. It is disappointing that the NSW Government has delayed investment in foundational supports and making mainstream services inclusive and accessible. They could have led the way while government agreements are still being negotiated. Now people with disability will continue to go without the supports they need," Ms Jonkers said.

PWDA has called for the increased revenue from NDIS Worker checks to be reinvested into community based support initiatives.

The $7.1 million investment in the Disability Response Taskforce indicates the NSW Government will take its response to the Disability Royal Commission's recommendations seriously. However, PWDA expected funding to be allocated to enacting the reforms needed to ensure the full inclusion of people with disability.

"We hope the funding for the Disability Response Taskforce is targeted so reform is led by people with disability. This means allocating additional funding to Disability Representative Organisations to support the co-design of policy, legislative and service responses to the Disability Royal Commission.

"NSW must not only invest in the design but also the implementation of reforms. Today's budget does not do this despite the Disability Royal Commission showing we're failing people with disabilities on access to housing, employment and education. This will delay progress towards a fully accessible and inclusive future where we have the same opportunities and can participate in the NSW community like everyone else," Ms Jonkers said.

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People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.

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