Disability Advocacy Review
Tuesday, 23rd June 2015
at 11:05 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
People with disability, their families and disability advocates are being urged to participate in a review of the Federal Government’s National Disability Advocacy Framework.
The Federal Government said the National Disability Advocacy Framework is the structure that Governments work within to enable and support people with disability to protect their rights and overcome barriers.
Commonwealth, State and Territory Disability Ministers endorsed the current Framework in 2012.
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield said the review would ensure the Framework remains relevant in a changing disability environment, including the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“The Department of Social Services is leading the review on behalf of State and Territory Governments, and in consultation with advocacy agencies and other key stakeholders,” Fifield said.
“Feedback from the review, together with insights from recent NDIS consultations, will be used to develop the new Framework.
“Governments will use the Framework to promote greater consistency across advocacy programmes and ensure the rights of people with disability are upheld. It will also help to describe how advocacy will be provided in the NDIS environment.
“The new Framework will be presented to the Disability Reform Council in December 2015 and will be released to the public in early 2016.
“The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) commenced in 2013 and is being progressively rolled out across Australia bringing significant change to the delivery of services and support to people with disability.”
In March 2015, Senator Fifield 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 at the time.
“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.”
The new Review includes a Discussion Paper to assist those making submissions.
In April 2015, the Council of Australian Governments’ Disability Reform Council agreed that NDIS would fund:
• decision supports
• safeguard supports
• capacity-building for participants, including support to approach and interact with disability supports and access mainstream services.
The Disability Reform Council agreed that systemic advocacy, legal review and representation will be funded outside the NDIS. This is in line with the 2011 Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into Disability Care and Support, which recommended advocacy be funded and provided outside the NDIS.
The Review Discussion Paper said these decisions have an impact on how organisations will provide advocacy supports in the NDIS environment and some of the details are still to be worked out.
The Paper said the Department of Social Services, together with State and Territory Governments will use feedback from the consultation to develop a new Framework.
“The new Framework will be presented to Disability Ministers at the Disability Reform Council meeting in December 2015 for endorsement,” the paper said.
“The new Framework will be uploaded to the Department of Social Services website in early 2016.”
To have your say, make a submission at engage.dss.gov.au/ndaf before 24 July 2015.