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Disability advocates call for more support amid funding cuts

Disability advocacy groups have called for funding to be extended and increased for those ineligible for the NDIS

Disability groups have warned that 90 per cent of people living with a disability in NSW could lose access to support when the state government cuts its funding.

NSW disability advocacy groups said the planned cuts from 1.4 million people living with a disability would abandon those most in need. This funding is expected to be cut once the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is fully implemented in 2020.

CEO of the Disability Advocacy Alliance, Serena Ovens, said: “We’re calling on the NSW government to urgently announce long-term sustainable funding for disability advocacy, information and representation services before it’s too late.

“The NSW government’s planned cuts to disability advocacy funding will force many advocacy services to close from 2020, which will leave 90 per cent of people in NSW not eligible for the NDIS with little or no access to any support at all.”

The NSW government committed its disability services spending to the NDIS. Current funding for other disability services was expected to expire last June, but the NSW Advocacy Alliance launched its ‘Stand By Me’ campaign and won a reprieve, with the government announcing a $26 million transitional fund until 2020.

The alliance recently launched a report calling for these services to be extended past 2020, with an increase of $20 million a year. It said that the vast majority of people with a disability were ineligible for the NDIS and needed ongoing funding.

In the report, the alliance said that for every dollar invested in advocacy services in Australia, a benefit of $3.50 would be returned.

“This is a very high ratio of benefits to costs and shows that independent advocacy represents a highly effective use of resources,” the report read.

“For the 90 per cent not receiving NDIS funding, the loss of disability advocacy will mean an even greater gap in access to support and being included in their community.”

A spokeswoman for Disability Services Minister, Ray Williams, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the government recognised there was an ongoing role for advocacy to support people with a disability.

“We will continue to meet with advocacy groups and people with disabilities to understand their ongoing needs and support going forward.”

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