08 October 2020
On Tuesday 06 October 2020, the Federal Government delivered what was described as “the most important Federal Budget since World War II.”
For the community NEDA represents, people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, the 2020 budget was a mixed bag.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
We welcome the additional $3.9 billion funding to the NDIS, which “reflects the forecasted demand for participant supports required now and into the future.”
We see this additional funding as a continued commitment from the government to sustain the scheme and provide long term, solid support to our community.
In saying that, we would like to urge the Government to work with us - Disabled People’s Organisations and the disability advocacy sector to determine how best to prioritise those extra funds.
Mental Health Services
We are grateful for the extra $148 million allocated to mental health services. The increase in Medicare-subsidised psychological sessions, doubling from 10 to 20, is also a welcome relief for many CALD people and people with disabilities, especially those with psychosocial disabilities.
Reduction to Refugee and Humanitarian Program
We were very disappointed that the 2020 Federal Budget did not deliver for people on temporary and humanitarian visas.
With the refugee program cut by 5000 places a year, financial assistance to people seeking asylum halved to just $19.6 million and offshore processing costs slashed again, this budget is a huge blow for refugees and asylum seekers.
New English Requirements
We are also concerned about the new English requirements to apply for partner visas and the implications they will have on family reunion.
Significant cuts to Income Support Payments
We are distressed to see that income support payments will revert to pre COVID-19 payment levels, hence further cementing CALD people with disabilities and their families into intergenerational poverty.
Additionally, it is astonishing that accessible and affordable housing was not prioritised in the Morrison Government’s budget.
With a huge portion of CALD people with disability experiencing significant barriers to living independently in their own home and many living under the poverty line, this is a missed opportunity from the Government to provide accessible housing to all our people.
Last but certainly not least, while the budget promised to deliver on job creations, it is deplorable that job creation incentives did not focus on accessible employment.
Overall, while we are grateful to see the boost in NDIS funding and mental health services, the 2020 Budget does little for CALD people living in poverty. The $250 payments announced are alas not enough to meet the rising living costs of our people amidst the pandemic.
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08 October 2020