We have been working hard during the coronavirus pandemic to advocate for the interests of our membership, reaching out to members personally in order to develop our official Coronavirus Statement. This statement articulates the vital issues affecting people with disability that we have focused on during the past weeks. You can read our coronavirus statement HERE.
Here is where we stand on those issues to date.
The NSW Government should commit to funding Disability Advocacy Organisations until at least June 2021.
We have reached out to the NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward, and also raised our concerns with the Shadow Minister for Disability Inclusion Penny Sharpe. We have been advised that funding is only secured until December 2020 – after which there is still no commitment to future funding of the sector. It is obvious that funding of all disability services is essential and so we will continue to work to secure this.
The NSW Government should commit to public consultation on the development of an ethical protocol for intensive care resource allocation in the event that demand exceeds supply.
We have had some success here, as a protocol for managing ICU resources is being developed and NSW Health have committed to allowing us to review and comment on the draft. We have also raised awareness of the importance of this issue within the disability sector.
The Federal Government should extend the provision of Personal Protective Equipment from the National Medical Stockpile to any person or organisation carrying out activities which require close physical contact with people with disability.
We have raised our concerns about inadequate access to PPE for people with physical disability through a stakeholder group run by Health Consumers NSW and in a working group convened by NSW Health. We have also raised the issue federally with Senator Jordon Steele-John. Both Senator Steele-John and NSW Health have committed to following up on this issue. Failing this, we will seek assurances from private suppliers, supermarkets and pharmacies that people with physical disabilities be prioritised when dispensing PPE.
The NSW Government should commit to ensuring that supply chains for food, hygiene products and medication remain open and that all people with physical disability can access these essentials via delivery.
We continue to push for the NSW Government to conduct an audit to determine gaps in access to both essentials and home delivery services. We would be grateful to hear from any members who cannot access home delivery services or particular types of essentials such as toilet paper and food. If you can assist, please email Hayley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Federal Government should expand the Coronavirus Supplement to recipients of the Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment and Carer Allowance.
We have engaged with allied organisations and reached out to state and federal members to expand the Coronavirus Supplement, however at this stage there has been strong resistance from the Federal Government. Our next step is to reach out to Labor to get their support. Again, we are looking for examples of increased costs (particularly in regard to groceries and delivery, data usage and transport) and situations where people have lost their jobs – if you can assist please reach out to Hayley at email@example.com.