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Media Release – ACT Budget needs to deliver on disability promises

Published on June 2, 2022

Advocacy for Inclusion has called for August’s ACT Budget to deliver on commitments to improve conditions for people with disability in the prison, the health system and in education as well as giving substance to the new ACT Disability Strategy and its human rights treaty obligations.
According to Advocacy Inclusion CEO, Nicolas Lawler “the ACT Government has articulated its commitment to improve the circumstances of people with disability in a number of areas including healthcare, the prison and in schools and this Budget will be measured by how well it delivers.
“In our submission lodged last week with ACT Treasury we call for funding of National Preventative Measure bodies so they can carry out a preventative function against human rights abuses and meet our obligations under an important convention to combat torture. Sadly, too many people with disability find themselves in circumstances open to abuse. Properly resourced preventative work is vital.
“We also call for funding to increase the disability loading for students and work to ensure universal design access to school premises and curricula. Barriers to inclusive education have been highlighted in a number of govt reviews and serious incidents and are the focus of coming Royal Commission hearings in Canberra. We know what needs to be done and its time we did it.
“The Budget also calls for funding to implement the Disability Justice Strategy and related priorities including funding to implement AMC Healthy Prisons Review recommendations and funding to implement recommendations of the recidivism strategy, so they don’t wind up in prison in the first place. There are too many people with disability in the prison and there is not enough support for people there nor work to identify the supports people need”, Mr Lawler said.
AFI Head of Policy Craig Wallace added “we’ll be closely watching the August Budget to see signs Government intends to implement the promised ACT Disability Strategy. As a start we need to see multiyear funding for the ACT Disability Health Strategy – COVID shone a light on longstanding barriers, access issues and attitudinal problems in health. It’s critical we start to address these.
“AFI urges action to address shortfalls in affordable accessible rental housing for people with disability. Our individual advocates are reporting an increase in people without secure housing. As winter arrives and costs of living skyrocket, it’s hard to imagine anything worse than having a disability and facing homelessness – yet that is the reality we see in front of shops here every day.
“Our submission also highlights the need to ensure people with disability are supported through COVID19. While the rest of the community might be trying to move on, people with disability have ongoing needs for targeted public health measures, support during continued isolation and information to ensure we are not left behind.
“We’re also keen for the Budget to resource accessibility improvements in its ongoing ACT Planning review and continue funding to address NDIS gaps, adequately fund community transport and other essential services”, Mr Wallace concluded.
Read our submission
For more information or comment, please contact Craig Wallace on 0477 200 755