People with Disability Australia (PWDA), the country’s peak disability rights and advocacy organisation, is concerned the NSW Budget has missed the opportunity to provide targeted and much-needed support for people with disability.
In the midst of a housing crisis, PWDA welcomes some elements of the Government’s $224 million Essential Housing Package. Measures aimed at delivering more social and affordable housing, $35m to support critical social housing maintenance, and $5.9m to meet the growing demand for Specialist Homelessness Services are steps in the right direction. However, PWDA echoes Homelessness NSW’s call for further action to address the growing housing and rental crisis and chronic underinvestment in social housing that has plagued the state and disproportionately impacts the disability community.
President of PWDA, Nicole Lee, expressed concern over the absence of targeted housing solutions for people with disability.
“What’s missing, and what we need to see, are targeted budget measures to increase secure, affordable and accessible housing options for people with disability. The Disability Royal Commission highlighted the urgent need for our states to act to ensure people with disability have choice and control over where they live, who they live with and how they’re supported. We’re disappointed this is missing from the Budget,” Ms Lee said.
Ahead of the NSW Budget, PWDA supported calls from Domestic Violence NSW for greater attention, investment and action on domestic and family violence by the NSW Government. 80 per cent of women who access Women’s Health Centres have experienced some form of domestic and family violence, and these centres are an essential lifeline, especially for women with disability. While Women’s Health Centres have received a funding boost of $34.3 million, this falls short of the $100m promised during the election.
The Budget has also failed to acknowledge that domestic and family violence services remain inaccessible for people with disability.
“People with disability are at increased risk of violence at home and in the community. Yet family and domestic violence services, including shelters, remain inaccessible. We’re disappointed there are no new funding allocations for projects, like PWDA’s Building Access, which can improve the accessibility and inclusivity of these critical services for victim-survivors,” Ms Lee said.
PWDA welcomes the new $300m investment in the More Accessible, Safe and Secure Train Stations program. However, the investment is inconsistent with the decision not to refund the Park’nPay app, which assisted drivers with disability to locate accessible parking bays.
“Mainstream service systems, like transport, must be accessible and inclusive for people with disability. Improving the accessibility of transport information also needs to be part of mainstreaming disability inclusion in the state’s transport system,” said Ms Lee.
Overall PWDA views the budget as a missed opportunity to invest more in mainstreaming disability inclusion across the state.
“PWDA is deeply concerned that in the name of improving the budget position, the services people with disability need to live free and equal lives are not being prioritised. A surplus should not come at the expense of social services, especially in the midst of a cost-of-living and housing crisis,” Ms Lee said.
PWDA will advocate for the surplus and savings generated from reducing the government’s debt to be invested in people with disability in the next budget and will be calling for targeted measures and an overall investment approach to mainstream disability inclusion in everything the NSW government delivers.
Anastasia Symons, PWDA Media and Communications
0491 034 479
People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.