Budget Measures to Progress the Disability Agenda in NSW

In this submission, PWDA advocates for a more inclusive and supportive environment across housing, safety, community engagement, and health and education services for individuals with disabilities.
three people smiling at each other. one is sitting in a wheelchair and the other two are seated on a bench

Pre-budget submission to the NSW Government to progress the disability agenda in NSW

This pre-budget proposal builds on investments made in the 2023-24 budget, aiming to address service gaps and respond to the Disability Royal Commission’s findings.

It advocates for safe, accessible housing for people with disability, emphasising standards for accessibility that reduce homelessness and promote inclusion, choice, and control. Safety measures include expanding domestic violence services and resourcing the Official Community Visitors Scheme. The submission stresses community inclusivity through investments in decision-making processes and supported decision-making projects. Additionally, it calls for inclusive health services to ensure individuals with disabilities access quality healthcare. We advocate for inclusive education and employment in New South Wales, seeking improved learning outcomes and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, benefiting both individuals and the broader community.

In this submission, PWDA advocates for a more inclusive and supportive environment across housing, safety, community engagement, and health and education services for individuals with disabilities.

Summary of Recommendations

This submission makes the following recommendations for consideration and inclusion in the 2024-25 NSW Budget:

Housing and Inclusive Homes

Recommendation 1 – Invest $1 billion per year for 10 years to accelerate provision of additional social housing stock. This should include new housing construction, purchase of housing and maintenance to bring existing stock online.

Recommendation 2 – Ensure social housing is suitable for women and children with disability leaving domestic and family violence.

Recommendation 3 – Invest $500 million per year to secure additional Temporary Accommodation and ensure its accessibility.

Recommendation 4 – Invest in building all social and affordable housing to at least the gold Livable Housing Design Standard to maximise accessibility.

Recommendation 5 – Invest a further $50 million over two years in the Together Home program, to ensure this important work is properly resourced at a time of significant need. Recommendation 6 – Duplicate the 2023-24 budget investment of $35 million, to support critical maintenance on NSW social housing stock.

Safety at Home

Recommendation 7 – Increase Official Community Visitors Scheme funding by $700,000 per year for the next four years, and index this annually to align with the increase to visitable services in NSW, to enable visits to all current visitable facilities.

Inclusive Communities

Recommendation 8 – Invest $5 million over the next two years, to create a supported decision-making research fund. This fund will provide grants to independent Disability Representative Organisations (DROs), independent research centres, and relevant statutory bodies such as the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) to explore best practice in the operationalisation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and supported decision making to:

  • understand the drivers behind guardianship in NSW
  • significantly reduce reliance on the use of formal guardianship in NSW
  • develop awareness of the importance of supported decision-making throughout the NSW community.

Recommendation 9 – Invest $1,802,817 over five years to continue delivery of the PWDA Building Access Project to all NSW domestic and family violence (DVF) services.

Health and Wellbeing

A disability support worker and their client, who is in a wheelchair, sitting in front of a table in a room. They are smiling at each other, and the support worker is holding a pen which is poised over a section of text on the multi-page report in front of them.

Recommendation 10 – All NSW Health practitioners be required to upskill in cognitive disability health in 2024-25 using a curriculum co-designed by people with disability and their representative organisations.

Recommendation 11 – That professional Colleges, especially the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) be tasked with developing their capacity to train specialists and upskill all their members to minimum baseline in treating people with disability inclusively and for nursing colleges to develop specialised certificates for training and professional development. This work should commence by 2025.

Recommendation 12 – Fund protective measures to prevent people with disability contracting COVID-19 while accessing health care, residential support and public transport.

Recommendation 13 – Fund protective measures to prevent COVID-19 infection for people with disability and additional support, similar to the COVID Positive Pathways program.

Recommendation 14 – Improve health data collection to understand how best to reduce fatalities and poor health outcomes for people with disability.

Education and Employment

young person wearing a high vis shirt and a backwards facing baseball cap

Recommendation 15 – Desegregate education in NSW within ten years in line with the Australian Coalition for Inclusive Education’s Driving Change roadmap.

Recommendation 16 – Develop a roadmap to inclusive education that steps through the reallocation of funding toSchools for Specific Purposes funding to inclusive education.

Recommendation 17 – Invest $250,000 tofund a one-year pilot of Family Advocacy’s work transition program and use the lessons learned to improve employment for people with disability.

Recommendation 18 – Invest $450,000 to fund three pilot projects to study applying supports to improve learning outcomes.

Recommendation 19 – Ensure that people with disability hold at least seven per cent of public service positions by 2025 and nine per cent by 2030.

Recommendation 20 – Appropriately resource the NSW Public Service Commissioner to audit the performance of each agency against the disability recruitment targets and require them to report back within one year to the Minister for Disability Inclusion on this and provide recommendations on how to boost representation of people with disabilities in the State Public Service.

Recommendation 21 – Extend the NSW Public Sector employment targets for people with disability to local government.