After more than three years of tireless campaigning last week’s NSW budget finally provided some security for the NSW disability advocacy sector, announcing over $112 million in total over four years to fund a range of advocacy and inclusion services.
Having spoken with the Minister for Disability Services Gareth Ward since the release of the budget papers, we have been able to glean that this includes a commitment to $13 million funding a year for at least the next three years specifically for disability advocacy services. It also includes a transition to the Ageing and Disability Commissioner’s Disability Advocacy Futures Program (as proposed in his 2019 advocacy review recommendations) after June 2021.
There’s still much to do as we work with government to understand what this new program will look like, and what organisations will need to do to be funded underneath this new structure. However it’s a huge relief to know that advocacy services for all people with disability are here to stay.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that assisted with the #StandByMe campaign, sending postcards, writing emails and letters to Ministers and the Premier, visiting local members, speaking up in Parliament, rallying with us and doing all within your power to ensure that those who made the decisions were keenly aware of the importance of advocacy, and a voice and supports for people with disability whenever they should need it.
We also thank Minister Ward and the NSW Government for listening to those calls and working on our behalf to secure the funding in the budget.