The May 18 Federal Election – the Disability Policies

With the Australian federal election only a few days away, it is time for PDA members to think about who they will vote for and why. As with the election articles we have written in Newsletters about earlier elections, PDA is not going to tell you who you should vote for, but we will give you information on each of the major parties’ disability policies so that you can make an informed decision.

The Liberal / National Coalition

Last week the Morrison Government released its disability policy (you can find it here). The policy says that a re-elected Coalition government will:

  • – Continue to ensure the NDIS is fully funded by building a stronger economy and keeping the budget in the black;
  • – Rollout new NDIS participant planning pathways – making sure people with disability have a single point of contact with the NDIS, and can choose to be on a longer NDIS plan of up to 3 years if their disability is stable;
  • – Expand the NDIS community connectors program to support and assist hard to reach communities including Indigenous Australians, culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities and ageing parents of children with disability;
  • – Introduce a new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee – setting new standards for shorter timeframes for people with disability to get an NDIS plan and to have their plan reviewed, with a particular focus on children, and participants requiring specialist disability accommodation (SDA) and assistive technology;
  • – Commit $45 million to develop a national disability information gateway, including a website and 1800 number, to assist all people with disability and their families to locate and access services in their communities;
  • – Introduce a new 7% employment target for people with disability across the Australian Public Service (APS) by 2025; and
  • – Provide $2 million to support people with autism to find and keep a job, including a $1.5 million national expansion of the successful Dandelion Program in partnership with DXC Technology.

The Labor Party

Also last week, the Opposition released several disability policies (you can find their thoughts on “putting people with disability and carers first” here, their “plan to fix the NDIS” here, and their policy to support students with disabilities here). In their NDIS policy it says that a Labor government will:

  • – Promote a new culture that puts people with disability first so that it is not a distant, impersonal and difficult web of rigid processes;
  • – Establish an NDIS Future Fund to secure the long-term financial future of the Scheme;
  • – Lift the government imposed staffing cap and employ more and better-trained staff;
  • – Improve the planning process to provide more choice and easier reviews that adds flexibility to shift funding between different parts of the plan as needs and opportunities change – including to access adequate transport;
  • – Ensure equitable access to the NDIS for people from regional, rural and remote areas, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with complex health needs, people with mental ill-health, people from low socio-economic backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and people in the justice system;
  • – Fix the gaps between the NDIS and mainstream services by getting agreement from the states and territories for a new National Disability Agreement that sets out the responsibilities of governments to continue accessibility improvements;
  • – Value a skilled disability workforce by investing in training and sustainably pricing disability services;
  • – Keep people with disability safe by boosting advocacy and ensuring the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability leads to real change; and
  • – Improving research and evaluation by ensuring greater transparency in NDIS data and improved access for researchers, so the Scheme can adapt and be the best it can be.

Beyond the NDIS, the Labor party has also committed to raising the number of employees with a disability in the Australian Public Service to 6% (equivalent to 3,500 employees) by 2022.

The minor parties

The Australian Greens and South Australia focused Centre Alliance also have disability policies (you can find them here and here respectively). The other minor parties currently represented in the Australian Parliament – Katter’s Australian Party, United Australia Party, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and the Australian Conservatives – do not have disability policies on their campaign websites.

Make sure you vote!

Regardless of which party or independent candidate you support, it’s important that you do have your say and vote. If you think this may be a problem, the Australian Electoral Commission’s website has information on what steps they have taken to make sure polling booths are accessible.

We hope you find this blog post helpful!

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