Disability advocacy groups call for continued funding
Queensland disability advocacy organisations are calling on the State Government to continue funding for their services.
The Queensland Government currently provides $4.9 million to the non-government sector to
deliver disability advocacy services; however, that funding ceases at the end of the financial year.
Rockhampton man and Queenslanders with Disability Network chair Des Ryan joined the campaign to keep the services funded.
“I don’t know where I would be today without advocacy,” he said.
“A change in circumstances for my primary carer meant I needed to transition to living on my own.
“Advocacy was critical to me getting the right supports in place, maintaining my independence and continue working – without it, I would likely have ended up in a nursing home.”
Jenny Smith of Queensland Disability Advocacy Alliance said advocacy represented the rights and needs of disabled Queenslanders.
“Disability advocacy is a foundation for real inclusion in the community and without it many people with disabilities would be left out,” she said.
“With over 900,000 people with disability in Queensland, many of whom will need the support of advocacy organisations at some stage in their lives, it is a small investment with immeasurable benefits, both socially and economically.
“Support from an advocate can mean staying out of hospital or the prison system or avoiding homelessness – all high-cost service systems.
“Cutting advocacy funding will also mean the loss of some 90 jobs and years of expertise in the disability advocacy sector.”
Disability Services Minister Craig Crawford said he met with representatives from the Combined Advocacy Groups of Queensland on February 25 to discuss disability advocacy needs in Queensland.
“The Palaszczuk Government provided non-recurrent funding of $9.2 million for disability advocacy services over two years, from 2019-20 to 2020-21,” he said.
“On top of that, we’ve also provided non-recurrent funding of $8.9 million to peak bodies over two years from 2019-20 to 2020-21, as Queensland transitioned to full scheme NDIS.
“A new state disability plan will be developed in line with the new National Disability Strategy due to be released in 2021.
“The Commonwealth is currently leading a demand and gap analysis of independent disability advocacy and decision-making supports. Findings of this work will inform discussions on future arrangements for funding.”