Accessible housing glam shotThe 2016-17 NSW Budget is providing more funding for housing for people with disability.  While in Queensland, Vision Australia will benefit from more than $1.1 million in funding from the State Budget, as part of Queensland Government’s $1.7 billion allocation for disability services. The NSW Government is spending $22 million to finance and establish new homes for people currently living in large residential centres. The NSW Budget has also allocated $1.3 billion for the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme with a further $15.5 million being put into taxi subsidies.

The NSW Budget provides more support for people with disability and helps make our community more inclusive, Minister for Aging and Disability Services, John Ajaka said. “The NSW Government is working to ensure there are no barriers to people with disability achieving their aspirations and living life their way,” he said. “This Budget supports the transition of half of NSW to the NDIS, continues the redevelopment of large residential centres and invests in initiatives to make our community more accessible for people with disability.”

As mentioned in an earlier edition of F2L, the government is providing extra funding to Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WAT) services. And for the first time the government has appointed a regulator and commissioner to oversee the industry. The new reforms include:

  • Increasing the cap for Taxi Transport Subside Scheme payments, from $30 per trip to $60 per trip
  • Increasing WAT drive incentive payments from $7.70 (plus GST) to $15 (plus GST)
  • An expanded interest-free loans scheme, with loans of up to $100,00 available to cover the full cost of purchasing and converting a vehicle to a WAT
  • Subsidies for a centralised WAT booking service, saving each Sydney WAT operator $2,130 per vehicle per year.

The new regulator will hold all point-to-point services to account by giving it significant powers to seek court-imposed prison time and fines of millions of dollars to ensure the industry is abiding by the rules and customer safety is protected.

Queensland Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke said the funding being delivered to the disability services sector reaffirmed the state government’s commitment to improving the lives of people with disability.  The minister said the funding  for Vision Australia will provide accommodation support, learning and life skills support, therapy support, social outings, adaptive communication support, technology training, Information Library Services and Information Referrals Services. “Above all, this funding will help to develop creative solutions and tailored strategies to support clients to live as independently in their communities as they choose,” she said.