9 March 2021
For immediate release
Queenslanders with disability could be left out – call on state government to Stand with us!
QAI joins our allies in disability advocacy in calling on the state government to continue funding for essential advocacy services, with today’s launch of the campaign, Stand with us!
The Queensland Government currently provides $4.9 million to the non-government sector to deliver disability advocacy services. However, funding ceases on 30 June 2021 and no further commitment has been made.
“Disability advocacy is a foundation for real inclusion in the community and without it many people with disabilities would be left out,” said Geoff Rowe, CEO of ADA Australia on behalf of the Queensland Disability Advocacy Alliance.
Independent advocacy services represent the rights and interests of vulnerable Queenslanders with disability. They are available to help people with disability speak up for their rights and needs, and to ensure access to quality services and fair treatment. They also help bring about changes in legislation and policies that contribute to issues of inequality, through systemic advocacy.
“With over 900,000 people with disability in Queensland, many of whom will need the support of advocacy organisations at some stage in their lives, it is a small investment with immeasurable benefits, both socially and economically.
Successive Queensland Governments have understood the importance of independent advocacy for people with disability and have funded advocacy services for more than twenty-five years. To withdraw this support at this time would make Queensland the only state that does not fund and recognise the vital importance of advocacy support.
It was thought that advocacy would become part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). However, the Australian Government is very explicit that the NDIS will not fund individual, citizen or systemic advocacy.
“This goes beyond the NDIS. Around 90,000 Queenslanders are expected to access the NDIS, which still leaves a vast majority of people with disabilities who need access to advocacy support that is unrelated to NDIS matters. It also at a time when people with disability are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
“Disability advocacy has never mattered more,” Mr Rowe said.
To Stand with us! visit www.standwithus.com.au and find out how you can join the campaign.
About Queensland Disability Advocacy Alliance
A number of independent disability advocacy organisations across the state have joined forces to form the Queensland Disability Advocacy Alliance, who are collectively calling on the Queensland Government for continued funding support for individual, citizen and systemic disability advocacy.
The Alliance includes:
Aged and Disability Advocacy Australia
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Queensland (ATSIDNQ)
Capricorn Citizen Advocacy
Gold Coast Advocacy
Independent Advocacy NQ
IRASI – Ipswich Regional Advocacy Services Inc
QAI – Queensland Advocacy Incorporated
Queenslanders with Disability Network
Rights in Action
SUFY – Speaking up for You
TASC – The Advocacy and Support Centre