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Disability Orgs Given $47 Million Lifeline

13 March 2015 at 10:37 am
Xavier Smerdon
The Abbott Government has extended funding worth more than $47 million to disability organisations throughout Australia, allowing them to operate until at least 30 June 2016.

Xavier Smerdon | 13 March 2015 at 10:37 am


Disability Orgs Given $47 Million Lifeline
13 March 2015 at 10:37 am

The Abbott Government has extended funding worth more than $47 million to disability organisations throughout Australia, allowing them to operate until at least 30 June 2016.

Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, announced today that the funding extensions would help programmes transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“Families, carers and children will continue receiving quality care and services as there will be no interruption as programmes migrate to the NDIS,” Senator Fifield said.

Senator Fifield said funding had been extended to the following programmes:

  • Helping Children with Autism (HCWA)

  • Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start)

  • Young Carers Respite and Information Service (YCRISP)

  • Outside School Hours Care for Teenagers with Disability (OTD)

  • Respite Support for Carers of Young People with Severe or Profound Disability (RSCYP)

  • National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP)

The contract extensions will provide around $47 million to service providers across the country.

Senator Fifield said the Government would extend funding for key support elements of the HCWA package and Better Start initiative through to 30 June 2016. This applies to all support elements that have not fully transitioned into NDIS trial sites and are not provided as part of NDIS.

“As these are extensions to current funding agreements, there is no need for providers to re-apply for funds,” he said.

“I have moved to ensure certainty for these critically important programmes supporting young carers and those looking after young people who live with disability.”

But Community Council for Australia (CCA) CEO David Crosbie said the Government was creating an environment of uncertainty by limiting funding to short-term extensions.

“Minister Fifield is to be commended for temporarily ending the immediate uncertainty for hundreds of charities and Not for Profits delivering programs that are important to many in the community,” Crosbie said.

“At the same time, it is important to emphasise that providing 12 months funding does not provide certainty.  

“It is actually very difficult to operate any organisation or services on 12 months notice. How can managers employ staff, negotiate leases on properties, provide computers and communications capacity, etc. without making any commitments beyond 12 months?  

“Perhaps even more importantly, how can we encourage organisations to own their futures, invest in themselves and their potential to improve services, and diversify their funding, when simply keeping the doors open for the next few months occupies all their time and resources?  

“Short termism has to end, and all Governments should be required to provide six months’ notice prior to ending funding, contracts, and concessions as argued in the CCA Federal Budget submission.”

Senator Fifield also announced a 12-month funding extension to current providers of the National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP).

He said more than 11,500 people received support through the NDAP in 2013-14.

Existing three-year agreements with providers were due to expire on 30 June 2015, but have now been extended until 30 June 2016.

“The extension allows advocacy groups to continue supporting people with disability while planning takes place for the future of the NDAP,” Senator Fifield said.

“As the NDIS rolls out across Australia, NDAP providers will continue to assist people with disability to participate in decisions that impact their lives, including helping them access both the NDIS and mainstream services.”

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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