Canberra organisations representing people with disability have said the failure to deliver funding for disability strategies, especially the disability health strategy, means that this is a disappointing Budget for people with disability.
They have however welcomed the Governments indication that it is committing to funded and comprehensive disability strategies and also noted positive standalone initiatives in areas like housing, justice, education and transport.
AFI Head of Policy Craig Wallace said: “While we note the Budget does contain welcome statements which commit Government to inject funding into strategies once they are finalised, these are major whole of government strategies and we expected to start seeing some dollars attached to them now.
In particular, Canberrans with disability have invested time and expertise working with Government to working to build a disability health strategy. People with disability have told Government they need a strategy to deliver dedicated funding to improve diagnostic services, accessible equipment, information and infrastructure and cultural change towards people with disability so it would have been good to see funding set aside to start work now.
“AFI does welcome investments to address cost of living, expand accessible infrastructure, improve housing maintenance and public housing supply, to limit gambling harm and continue the Disability Justice Strategy, to address family violence and a boost to the ACT Taxi Subsidy Scheme as well as support with costs of utilities. We also welcome a focus on inclusive education and will be seeking more details on measures in the coming days”
Shannon Kolak, Chief Executive Officer of the ACT Down Syndrome Association (ACTDSA) said “In response to the ACT Budget 2023-2024, ACTDSA welcomes the Government’s commitment to fund the various disability strategies however we are very disappointed that no actional funding has been allocated to fund this commitment.
“The disability community has worked tirelessly on these strategies, especially the ACT Disability Strategy and the ACT Disability Health Strategy and we would like to see a financial commitment from the Government for the implementation of this work”.
Kat Reed the Chief Executive Officer of Women with Disabilities ACT (WWDACT) said:
“WWDACT is disappointed that no additional funding has been allocated for the development of important disability strategies including the ACT Disability Strategy and Disability Health Strategy. Appropriate resourcing is important as these strategies and first action plans are being developed, but is also essential to ensure the strategies are implemented, maintained, evaluated and changed as necessary over their 10-year remit.
“Without any funding, it will be hard to see improved outcomes for people with disabilities and women*. We urge the ACT government to recognise the importance of funding these strategies to ensure they lead to effective outcomes for people with disabilities in the ACT”.
*women, girls, and non-binary people
Shannon Kolack, Chief Executive Officer, ACT Down Syndrome Association – 0408 646 857
Kat Reed, Chief Executive Officer, Women with Disabilities ACT – 0412 094 757
Craig Wallace, Head of Policy, Advocacy for Inclusion – 0477 200 755