Don’t remove social welfare support to fund the NDIS
The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) welcomes the Government’s continued commitment to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). However, we are startled to learn that it is cutting social welfare to fund it. Additionally, NEDA is disappointed that the budget delivers very little for culturally and linguistically diverse people (CaLD) with disability, outside of the NDIS.
Yesterday’s budget revealed that savings arising from the reassessment of 90,000 Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients (over the next 3 years) will be redirected into the NDIS Savings Fund. Exactly how this assessment of some of our most vulnerable people will occur, including who will be selected appears punitive and remains unclear.
“The assumption that there’s a large cohort of people on the DSP who shouldn’t be is just false, and is contradicted by evidence”, said NEDA CEO Dwayne Cranfield.
”Government can’t assume that employment opportunities will be available to people with disability, let alone the CaLD community. The Willing to Work Inquiry report has shown that job opportunities for the disability community are near to non-existent. ‘These measures will place CaLD people with disability at significant risk of financial vulnerability and poverty, resulting in further marginalisation,' continued Mr. Cranfield.
“We need to remember that although the NDIS will provide people with their much-needed disability related supports, the DSP is a vital welfare payment for people with disability. It ensures they have a minimum safety net to pay for their everyday living, such as rent, food, and bills, etc,” stated NEDA President Suresh Rajan.
“People with disability need both the NDIS and DSP to go about their everyday life,' said Mr. Suresh Rajan. ‘Linking the NDIS savings fund with cuts in welfare spending is astounding, and frankly, a very bad decision,” continued Mr. Rajan.
NEDA does welcome a handful of specific budget measures, such as the creation of the PaTH employment program for young people, an additional $10.9 million over 3 years to support recently arrived humanitarian entrants, and the increased funding measures for veteran mental health and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder health care.
However, it appears CaLD people with disability were again overlooked in this budget. “I take this opportunity to remind the government of its commitments as set out in the National Disability Strategy,” said NEDA President Suresh Rajan. “We need to see proactive policy initiatives being implemented in other portfolios, outside of the NDIS, that work to promote the full social, cultural and economic participation of all people with disability”.
For further information, please contact NEDA CEO Mr. Dwayne Cranfield on: 02 62626867 or NEDA President Mr. Suresh Rajan on: 0413436001.