PWD ACT Media Release: 2016 ACT Budget
7 June 2016 – Immediate Release
DISAPPOINTING BUDGET FOR DISABILITY
People With Disabilities ACT has expressed concerns about the lack of a clear commitment to the future of disability policy post June 2017 while welcoming other measures for people with disability in the Budget released by the ACT Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr MLA today.
While acknowledging that Disability ACT will continue for another 12 months, we would have preferred a clearer commitment from Government to the future shape of disability policy rather than a plan for winding down the current policy capacity. We would have expected the Social Inclusion Statement to have laid out a clear plan for the Territory meeting its obligations to people with disability through whole of government work in areas like transport, access, education, justice, employment and the rights of Canberrans with disabilities.
We do welcome the $446,000 transition funding for services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme which is needed to ensure people with disability do not experience disruption in support.
PWD ACT Executive Officer Robert Altamore said “the NDIS does not mean the end of our tasks for disability at a Territory level. We will need an ongoing engine room for reform on issues like transport, access, education and justice. We need a solid commitment to work at the heart of government on these issues”
We also welcomed measures in the ACT Budget released today which increased funding to people with disability in the wake of the Shaddock Inquiry for students with disabilities. Executive Officer Robert Altamore said.
“We welcome the allocation of $21.4 million to implement some recommendations arising from Emeritus Professor Tony Shaddock's independent review into students with ‘complex needs and challenging behaviours’. We’ve been concerned for some time about reports of a slow take up of Professor Shaddock’s recommendation so this additional investment is welcome. It’s important that children with disabilities are properly supported in mainstream schools and that we meet our obligations to end the restraint of people with disability in our schools. We understand that this support does not extend to students in independent schools and this is a gap.
We welcome additional funding for buses in the inner south through 20 new buses which we are assured will be DDA compliant. However we express concern about the lack of support for wider work to improve disability access in Canberra.
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