Putting people with disability at the heart of the government agenda

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Improving the policy response for people with disabilities is a critical need for women, who make up the majority of people with disabilities in Australia while also facing reduced access to services, greater rates of poverty and increased experiences of violence. In today’s federal election piece, we share an analysis of the party platforms for Liberal Party, the ALP and the Greens which was conducted by People with Disability Australia (@PWDAustralia). You can access their analysis on their website here, as well as more detailed statements on social security, employment, the NDIS and preventing violence.

 

Liberal Party Plan To Support People With Disability

The Coalition is proposing to make a number of changes that PWDA has been calling for. You can read their full plan here.

NDIS

The first is an ‘NDIS Participant Service Guarantee’, which includes a single point of contact for NDIS participants, and new timeframes for access to the scheme, to develop plans, and to get our plans reviewed.

We welcome the options for longer 3-year plans for those who need this, and specific service standards to ensure children with disability are provided with immediate support.

There is a proposal for a new Community Connectors Program to assist people who find it hard to access the NDIS, particularly rural and remote communities, Indigenous communities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The Coalition also proposes a new online “National Disability Gateway” to help people with disability find services. This Gateway could build on work that PWDA is undertaking and being funded for through our Enable In and Wayfinder projects.

Specialist Disability Accommodation reforms

We welcome the stronger focus on fixing the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), which has been slow to deliver better housing options for people with disability with high support needs.

We have been calling for greater flexibility for living arrangements in SDA and welcome the proposal to remove the restrictions of families from living together in SDA.

It is good to see proposals to move young people with disability out of aged care, but we need stronger targets and timeframes to makes sure this policy is implemented effectively.

National Disability Strategy

The National Disability Strategy is vital to delivering inclusion for all people with disability including people who are participants in the NDIS. We would like to have seen greater detail on what the Coalition plans to do to link the National Disability Strategy to a new National Disability Agreement as was recommended by the Productivity Commission. This is critical to addressing the multiple interface issues between the NDIS and mainstream services such as health and education.

Employment

We welcome the commitment to set a target of 7% for employment of people with disability in the Australian Public Service (APS)by 2025. We have called for a stronger target of 15% across the APS.

The NDIA must be a leader in the employment of people with disability and we have called for a target of 51% across all levels, including in senior leadership roles.

But targets are not enough without a comprehensive national jobs strategy to address the low employment rates of people with disability across the APS.

We called for a National Jobs Plan that will provide practical tools for identifying and addressing systemic and structural barriers we face in finding and keeping a job and development of comprehensive strategies for increasing workforce participation in mainstream employment.

Labor’s Plan To Fix The NDIS

Labor are promising to fix the NDIS with a number of changes, some of which PWDA has been calling for. Read their policy NDIS here and their Disability and Carers policy here.

NDIS

The Labor party has promised a standalone funding stream for the NDIS, meaning it will be easier to track and set aside any underspends for people with disability. This is something that PWDA supports.

They have also promised to remove the staffing cap, something we called for in our election platform, and create a backlog taskforce for access and reviews.

The policy proposes a range of changes to the planning process, including giving people the opportunity to view draft plans, support to enact their plan, ability to shift funds between different parts of their plan, multi-year plans, and plan changes without a formal review. PWDA would like to see a commitment to fixing the NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation funding stream and implementation, which is causing some people with disability to live in institutional settings or group homes, and removes their choice and control.

We are pleased to see the policy includes a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, rural and remote communities, people from CALD communities, LGBTIQ people, and people with psychosocial disability. We would also like to see a focus on women, who are currently only 38% of NDIS participants.

Political representation is essential to get the policies right - a  critical advocacy point for the Royal Commission into Disability  but also true more generally. Pictured is the  Disability Advisory Committee for the City of Yarr a.

Political representation is essential to get the policies right - a critical advocacy point for the Royal Commission into Disability but also true more generally. Pictured is the Disability Advisory Committee for the City of Yarra.

Royal Commission

We welcome Labor’s commitment to include redress in the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Against People with Disability, and review the appointments of Royal Commissioners due to our concerns about Conflict of Interest.

National Disability Strategy

The policy includes a commitment to negotiating a new National Disability Agreement with the states and territories to fix the gaps between the NDIS and mainstream services.

Employment & Support

Labor have also committed to a number of improvements for carers, a $10 million advocacy funding increase, and $9.5 million to improve healthcare for people with intellectual disability.

They have set a target of 6% Australian Public Service (APS) employees with disability by 2022, along with a number of other measures for inclusion and accessibility. We have called for a stronger target of 15% across the APS.

The NDIA must be a leader in the employment of people with disability and we have called for a target of 51% across all levels, including in senior leadership roles.

But targets are not enough without a comprehensive national jobs strategy to address the low employment rates of people with disability across the APS.

We called for a National Jobs Plan that will provide practical tools for identifying and addressing systemic and structural barriers we face in finding and keeping a job and development of comprehensive strategies for increasing workforce participation in mainstream employment.

The Greens: An Accessible Australia

You can read the Greens’ full policy here. You can read an Easy English version here.

NDIS

The Greens say they will fully fund the NDIS, make it more transparent and accountable, remove the staffing cap and train staff adequately, and improve IT systems. These are all positive things that PWDA has called for. In addition, we would like to see improvements to NDIS access, particularly for marginalised groups, with functional rather than diagnostic assessment to determine access.

Built and Digital Environments

The Greens have a number of policies to improve the built and digital environments, including establishing a new $1 billion Accessible Infrastructure Fund and $5 million Accessible Nature Fund, and providing a National Disability Telecommunications Service, a national resource for telecommunications products and services information, training, and support.

Inclusive Education and Employment

The Greens plan to improve Australian Public Service participation rates for people with disability, with a target of 15% by 2030. They also aim to improve inclusive education. They also say they will increase federal advocacy funding to disability advocacy bodies by $11.3 million over four years and re-establish a platform similar to the now defunct RampUp.

This post is part of the Women's Policy Action Tank initiative to analyse government policy using a gendered lens, and this piece is part of our Federal Election series 2019. Photo credit for the voter’s box in our logo: Flaticon. View our other policy analysis pieces here and follow us on Twitter @PolicyforWomen