Queensland Budget Focuses on Disability
16 July 2015 at 9:33 am
Disability advocates have welcomed funding in the Queensland Budget which will see the National Disability Insurance Scheme rolled out ahead of schedule.
Chairperson of the Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN), Nigel Webb, said $1.9 million in funding for the early launch of the NDIS was a positive step for the new Palaszczuk Government.
“QDN commends the additional commitment to participant readiness activities in preparation for the NDIS and notes that these activities are vital to ensuring a smooth effective transition for people with disability,” Webb said.
Queensland Minister for Disability Services, Coralee O'Rourke, said funding for the early launch formed part of the $1.547 billion 2015-16 Disability Services budget, an increase of $82 million from the previous financial year.
O’Rourke said establishing an early NDIS launch in Queensland was a key election commitment, after Queenslanders missed out on a trial under the previous Government.
“The NDIS is the biggest social reform since Medicare, changing the lives of people with disability and creating up to 13,000 jobs in the state’s disability sector,” O’Rourke said.
“It’s essential Queenslanders are ready for this transition, and an early launch will allow us to test the roll-out process and see how the scheme will operate in Queensland. This will give us vital information about how we can transition to the full NDIS across the rest of the state from 1 July 2016.”
Webb said the Budget had also set out to reinstate services and support that build on the services, rights and protections of people with disability in areas including housing, employment and health.
“Another key concern for QDN members is the appropriate funding of housing to ensure accessible and affordable accommodation options are available to vulnerable people with disability,” he said.
“QDN notes the announcement of an additional $25 million in funding for housing and accommodation options and looks forward to working collaboratively with the Queensland Government around the detailed planning and implementation of this initiative.
O’Rourke said funding for housing was allocated in response to pressures created by the introduction of the NDIS.
“We’ve allocated almost $25 million for a range of initiatives that will provide housing accommodation options for people with disability across the state,” she said.
“We recognise that the NDIS will increase the demand for affordable and appropriate housing for people with disability, which is already under pressure.
“Despite the NDIS starting in July next year, we still don’t have answers from the Federal Government about how funding available will be used to provide disability housing in Queensland.
“We will fight to get the right housing options for Queenslanders with disability.”
QDN also welcomed the following ongoing commitments of the 2015-16 Disability Services Budget;
• $9m to build or upgrade accommodation for people with an intellectual or cognitive disability and severely challenging behaviours
• $6.6m to continue the Elderly Parent Carer Innovation Trial aimed at assisting elderly parent carers to organise accommodation for an adult son or daughter who has a disability that they can no longer care for
• $6m to build or purchase supported accommodation for people with disability living in inappropriate settings
• $3.1m for supported accommodation in Cairns, Townsville, Wynnum and Banyo.