Disability advocacy funding – the report is out!

09 January 2020

The NSW Government’s review of disability advocacy funding has been released. Here is our initial analysis of what the review says.

The review was done by the Ageing and Disability Commissioner. We welcome the report’s strong endorsement of the role of advocacy and its call for Government to consult with the advocacy sector on actions taken as a result of the report.

The Commissioner has responded to a lot of what we told him about disability advocacy in NSW.

He agrees that disability advocacy must be retained with more and better long term funding. He also agrees that both federal and state governments have a responsibility to fund disability advocacy work. CID’s advocacy work is currently funded 100 percent by the NSW Government.

We are happy that the report says that lots of disability advocacy organisations are doing a really good job.

The report also proposes significant changes to the sector.

It proposes a new Disability Advocacy Futures Program to fund disability advocacy in NSW.

The report recommends continued funding of a range of systemic advocacy organisations, including one specifically for people with intellectual disability.

The report also recommends that more money goes to individual advocacy. We agree this is a good idea, but we want to be sure that systemic advocacy, which is what CID does, does not get less money.

The report recommends that information funding be the responsibility of the NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building program but also recognises that advocacy organisations inevitably need to provide some information and referral.

The report recommends that advocacy funding be allocated on a limited tender basis. Individual advocacy would be funded on a regional basis with the aim of advocacy being equally available in all parts of the State.

The report proposes the establishment of a Centre for Disability Advocacy Development, which would run special projects and support quality improvements in advocacy. The Centre would work closely with the existing Disability Advocacy Network of advocacy providers.

We are carefully considering these proposed changes in consultation with other members of the Disability Advocacy Alliance.

Future funding

Disability advocacy funding is not guaranteed after June 2020 so the Commissioner wants the government to commit to up to 2 years of further transitional funding through to June 2022. We think this is a very good idea.

Unfortunately the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability, Gareth Ward has issued a press release saying he will only commit to 6 months, to the end of 2020.

We would like to see a lot more consultation on the proposed disability advocacy funding plan and a strong commitment from the Minister to an overall increased budget and two years transitional funding to start next year.

Links and more information

The review of Disability Advocacy funding in NSW was done by the Ageing and Disability Commissioner. The consultation ran for 6 weeks to 18 October.

Read our submissions to the review:

View the Commissioner’s review. An Easy Read version should be available soon.

The Commissioner’s report was released on 19 December 2019. The Stand By Me Alliance held a media conference when the report was released. Jim Simpson, CID’s Senior Advocate, spoke at the conference and a number of CID members attended. Watch a video of the press conference.

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