blind person crossing street

Advocacy, in the community work sense, means to protect the rights of society's most vulnerable people and ensure that their voices are heard on decisions that affect them. A recent NDIS report recommends disability advocacy continue after 2020, but it's looking doubtful.

Last year the The NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance's Stand By Me campaign had a win when it kept advocacy funding alive until 2020. However, the NSW Government has refused to back down on its plans to axe funding for disability advocacy after that date.

In its response to the inquiry into the implementation of the NDIS, the NSW Government simply stated that it ‘noted’ the recommendation that it continue to provide vital funding for disability advocacy, information and representation organisations past 2020.

Stand by Me campaign spokesperson and CEO of the Physical Disability Council NSW, Serena Ovens, said:

“The Disability Minister’s quiet avoidance of the recommendation that funding for disability advocacy continue is a worrying sign that he is intent on ignoring the cries of people with a disability and cutting these services off.

“People with disability rely on these services to make sure we’re getting a fair deal - whether it’s advocating for improved access on public transport, protecting workplace rights, dealing with horrific cases of abuse, exploitation or discrimination, or helping navigate the NDIS.

“The NSW Government’s own inquiry into the NDIS found that funding for these services is crucial, yet the Disability Minister is refusing to acknowledge the need for it.

“This government is fast running out of time to reverse its horrific decision to axe funding for disability advocacy, information and representation organisations.

“Funding the services that provide people with disability with vital support isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense. The NSW Government owes the people of NSW an explanation as to why it is refusing to commit to ongoing funding that would allow these disability organisations to stay open.”