Disability at Centre of Budget for the First Time in Australia’s History

Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes says seeing the NDIS funded in last night’s federal budget was “nothing short of inspiring” but he’s disappointed that people with disability will be disadvantaged in two other areas.

Speaking from Canberra, Commissioner Innes said while the decision to fund the NDIS was made weeks ago, its official status in the budget was momentous.

“I think the majority of Australians have shown that they want people with disabilities to be supported, even if it takes dollars out of their own pockets. It’s something the Commission and in particular the disability team I lead, view with great pride”, said Commissioner Innes.

The government will today introduce legislation for the half a per cent levy increase and is proposing seven years of forward commitment.

“The levy is the right mechanism to fund the scheme, because it puts funds aside for a discrete purpose which mean by 2019, up to 460 000 Australians with disability will receive the help they need. Seven years of forward commitment offers peace of mind for those with disability as well as their families and careers,” said Commissioner Innes.

The NDIS will facilitate some people with disability returning to employment with the help of companies including Coles, Woolworths and Westpac.

Commissioner Innes says while he was thrilled to see the NDIS in the budget, there were two disappointments.

Despite increased funds for the ABC, there was nothing in the budget to continue audio description. Even though the trial last year was successful, 300 000 people who are blind or have print disability will miss out. “It’s our ABC too,” said Commissioner Innes.

“The other disappointing element to the budget for people with disability is that the 10,000 houses funded under the Nation Rental Affordability Rental Scheme will not be required to comply with the Liveable Australia Guidelines which means they won’t be built to provide access for people with a disability, ” said Commissioner Innes.

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Aids, Equipment, Technology, Government, Policy, Legislation, Housing, Accommodation, Tenancy, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Australian Human rights Commission

Media release

Date published:
Wed 15th May, 2013