About the National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) Inc.
The National Ethnic Disability Alliance Inc. (NEDA) is the only National peak organisation representing the rights and interests of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CaLD/ NESB) with a disability, their families and carers throughout Australia.
NEDA advocates at the Federal level for the rights and interests of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with a disability, their families and carers so that they are able to participate fully in all aspects of social, economic, political and cultural life.
NEDA provides policy advice to the Government and other relevant agencies to secure equitable outcomes for people from CaLD/ NESB backgrounds with a disability, their families and carers.
In submitting the 2014-2015 Federal budget statement priorities, NEDA is aware that the Government is committed to a strategy in repairing Federal budget deficits and is in the hope of returning to a budget surplus.
It is forecasted that the budget deficit for 2013-14 has increased from $30 billion in the pre-election economic and fiscal outlook to $47 billion and budget deficits totalling $123 billion are expected over the forward estimates. 
NEDA is aware that the Federal Government’s budget deficits means that National expenditures priorities will be reassessed across all sectors in order to achieve a return to a budget surplus; NEDA has continued to advocate to the Government for their commitment on the full roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) across other remaining states and/or territories.
NEDA acknowledges that the Federal Government continues to develop significant reforms in disability services, and we are mindful that the Government is currently operating in a climate of fiscal constraint and as such, NEDA’s submission for the 2014-2015 Federal budget is focussed on significant gaps which needs to be addressed and that require relatively minimal funding.
NEDA’s Budget Priority Statement outlines the following three key recommendations for consideration for the 2014-2015 Federal budget.
Focus of Submissions: Policy and Recommendations
- Priority Area 1: To allocate resources in raising awareness and addressing complex needs of persons from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in the implementation of NDIS
The Australian Government has dedicated $19.3 billion over the next seven years in rolling out the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). NEDA acknowledges the Government’s commitment to implement the scheme and a full national rollout in 2018-2019.
However, NEDA continues to advocate for a planned allocation of funding in the Government’s Federal budget in ensuring that resources are made accessible and easy to understand so that information sent out to CaLD/ NESB communities are consistent and clear; as well as an extensive community consultation in order to explain how to use the scheme effectively.
Investment/ Support Required:
- To allocate further resources to develop a nation-wide media campaign with regards to the NDIS, particularly one that caters to culturally and linguistically diverse communities through every type of media outlet available such as SBS television, community radio stations and community newspapers in-order to engage these consumers and offer them greater choice and control.
- To allocate additional funding within the NDIS to develop multicultural servicing strategies and ensure that services are responsive to the needs of persons from culturally and linguistically diverse communities; and to make sure that they are able to fully participate in the scheme.
- Priority Area 2: To strengthen the disability workforce with economic participation strategies and programs via Federal Government support for persons from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with a disability
Nearly half (46%) of working-age people with a disability were not in the labour force, and one-fifth (20%) had no employment restrictions, showing that it is not their disability that prevents them from working.
NEDA believes that the Government needs a strong commitment in its 2014-2015 Federal budget to assign funding and take additional steps to improve employment of people with disability, particularly for persons from CaLD backgrounds with a disability, and increase Australia’s future productivity.
It is reported by COAG that the use of Commonwealth-delivered supported employment services, is decreasing in which nationally (in 2010–11), 6.8% of Indigenous Australians with disability (or 4700 of 69 088) used open employment services (in open employment services, employment assistance is provided by a service outlet to clients whose employment contracts are with another organisation or who are self-employed)  and for people born in non-English speaking countries the rate was 5.1%.
The table below shows the caseload by characteristics for disability employment services (DES).
As such, a more targeted approach in supporting employment pathways and better opportunities for persons from CaLD/ NESB communities with a disability, more importantly for those living in rural and remote parts of Australia, need to be addressed in the 2014-2015 Federal budget.
Investment/ Support Required:
- To develop and implement a workforce strategy for the NDIS as the scheme will not only provide people from CaLD/ NESB communities with a disability with better choice and control, but possibly more employment opportunities which will need to be filled in the industry. This will help to not only address the possible future labour shortage within the disability support system, but also to ensure a “Multicultural Workforce Strategy” is in place alongside the NDIS.
- To develop tailored employment training and support arrangement within Disability Employment Services (DES) for culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
- To develop a national framework to assist DES providers to target and promote services to people from CaLD/ NESB backgrounds with a disability.
- To introduce a program that provides additional supports for migrants with a disability who are not eligible recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and ensure that there are employment pathways in supporting them to gain paid employment.
- Priority Area 3: To implement targeted programs as part of the Gonski reforms, particularly for children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with disabilities and special needs.
NEDA acknowledges that the current Government is keeping its promise to adopt Gonski’s school funding model; and we do believe that a needs-based funding system in the education system will allow disadvantaged students, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds with a disability or special needs, to receive greater support that addresses their complex needs.
According to the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, a total of 4,036 (1.6%) students at primary level speak other languages other than English has a need for assistance with core activities; and a total of 2, 667 (1.2%) students at secondary level speak other languages other than English has a need for assistance with core activities.
This data reflects the need for the Government to implement a strategy that addresses the complex and high needs of children and youth from CaLD background with a disability, and for the Government to consider a transition program that will allow these youths for job readiness when entering the future workforce.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics, “Disability and Work,” Australian Social Trends, March Quarter 2012, available at http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Main+Features40March+Quarter+2012#intro