Time to Maximise Momentum to Improve Support for People with Disability

23 November 2009

The Federal Government’s announcement of a Productivity Commission inquiry into disability services is an important step toward landmark reforms, such as the introduction of a national disability insurance scheme.

“ACOSS welcomes the inquiry into disability services and the examination of funding options for long-term care and support for people with disability,” said Clare Martin, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.

“Community support for improved services for people with disability is riding high and it is critical that momentum continue. Landmark reforms, such as a national insurance scheme, have widespread support among disability advocates, carers, social services and unions.

“While funding increases through the National Disability Agreement have been welcome, disability support services continue to struggle to meet the needs of growing numbers of people with disability. Around 2.3 million Australians will have a high level of disability in 20 years.

“People with disability, especially those on low incomes, must juggle the high cost of living with disabilities to cover the costs of essential services such as paid carers and supports, wheelchairs, communication aids and therapies.

“Gaps in services mean that many people with disabilities and their families, friends and carers are forced to meet the cost of essential services and experience enormous financial and personal stress. The demand for disability services will only increase as the population ages.

ACOSS has been advocating for better support and services so that people with disability, particularly those on low incomes, receive the assistance they need to live decently and participate in the community.

The National Disability Strategy Consultation Report released in August found that people with disabilities and their carers experience stigmatisation and are excluded from key areas of life such as work and education.

ACOSS looks forward to working with our membership to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities and their carers are met effectively by strong and sustainable community services.

Media Contact: Clare Cameron, ACOSS – 0419 626 155