News Shorts: Slashed NDIS cases, social security boost and an innovative new program
8 March 2023 at 12:30 pm
All the news you need to know from around the sector.
Faster, fairer access to support for NDIS participants
Alternative dispute resolution processes to address NDIS appeals has reduced the number of cases before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), allowing people with disability to access the support they need fairer and faster.
New data reveals over 4,400 NDIS cases have been resolved at the AAT since June 2022, as well as 70 per cent of the over 4,500 legacy cases active in May 2022. Overall, there has been a 27 per cent reduction in caseload since May 2022.
NDIS minister Bill Shorten said “these numbers are just the start in ensuring people with disability are able to get on with living their lives without having to go to court to argue over the level of support they receive”.
Social change filmmaking subject of innovative new program
Not for profit Documentary Australia has launched its innovative new Impact Producer Program, which provides knowledge to use documentary storytelling for social change.
Four professionals with diverse expertise in social affairs were chosen from 70 applicants to participate in the 10-month program, which is funded by philanthropic and government agencies including Screen Australia, Screen NSW, VicScreen, The Snow Foundation, The Dyson Bequest and Minderoo Pictures. Each participant will receive $50,000 as well as mentoring by experts in the field.
“We are acutely aware of the many pressing social issues that need attention, yet there can be a paralysis of action… Storytelling has a significant role to play in this endeavour,” says Documentary Australia CEO Dr Mitzi Goldman.
Social security increase for 4.7 million Australians
The indexation of social security payments on 20 March 2023, including the age and disability support pensions and carer payment, will see a much-needed financial boost for over 4.7 million pension and allowance recipients.
“Australia’s social security system exists to support our most vulnerable citizens, and we know they are feeling the pinch. Indexation is a pillar of our social security system and we want more money in the pockets of everyday Australians so they can better afford essentials,” said social services minister Amanda Rishworth.
Adult rates of allowances and pensions are indexed twice a year, and will next be indexed on 20 September 2023.
Abolishing early childhood activity test can reap rewards
Abolishing the Activity Test for access to subsidised early childhood education and care can significantly boost the Australian economy and increase workforce participation, according to a new report.
Impact Economics and Policy modelling found abolishing the Activity Test could increase GDP by up to $4.5 billion and result in almost 40,000 mothers with children under five years old finding work. Instead of acting as an incentive, the report revealed the Activity Test is increasing job search costs, creating additional barriers to entering the labour market.
“Removing the Activity Test… takes away complexity and red tape for women with young children looking to return to work. This increases choice for women and families, bolsters family income at a time of rising cost of living and interest rate rises, and unlocks new workers at a time of a national labour shortage,” said lead economist Dr Angela Jackson.
Boost for systemic disability advocacy
The federal government is doubling funding for systemic disability advocacy.
The $11.2 million in funding will go to 17 organisations, all focused on breaking down systemic barriers and addressing discrimination of Australians with disability, as part of the Disability Representative Organisation program. These organisations will be able to use the funding for policy work and advocacy.
Social services minister Amanda Rishworth said the funding will give people with disability a direct say in the policies and programs that impact them.
“People living with disability have a right to participate in policy development that impacts their lives and these organisations provide a genuine and effective vehicle for this engagement,” she said.