NSW Council for Intellectual Disability has concerns for future funding of disability advocacy groups. CID senior advocate, Jim Simpson said NSW Government plans to cut funding will “silence the voice of people with intellectual disability” as well as stopping the CIDs capacity to advocate on issues like improved health care. The organisation is running a campaign to stop the funding cuts.

However, in a statement to F2L from Family & Community Services, a spokesperson said the NSW Government’s commitment to the NDIS has been clear since 2012. “That includes that there will be no change to advocacy funding until June 30, 2018 when it will no longer fund specialist disability supports, including specific disability advocacy services, under the full scheme NDIS. This gives advocacy providers funding assurance throughout the transition period, unlike other NGOs whose funding is being stepped down, so the same funds can be provided to the NDIS,” the spokesperson said. “Further, there will be no change in NSW Government investment in advocacy supports that provide assistance to vulnerable people, including people with disability, to engage with mainstream services such as health, mental health, housing and education.”

NSW has provided funding of about $35 million over three years to June 2018 to a variety of providers of specialist disability advocacy and information services. On top of this, NSW has provided funding of $10.6 million to 42 providers of specialist disability advocacy and information services, under the three-year funding agreement.

“It is not correct that advocacy services will be not funded under the NDIS, and it does not mean that advocacy services will disappear. Under the NDIS, there will be more funding available for disability advocacy supports than ever before. Once individuals receive their NDIS funding package, they are able to choose how this funding will be spent, and who they spend it with. The choice is theirs.

“Under the NDIS there will be more funding available for a range of disability supports that achieve advocacy outcomes for people than ever before, and we have an obligation to ensure that funding is directed to those in need, while avoiding unnecessary duplication between State and Territory Governments and the Commonwealth,” the spokesperson said.

The NDIS will provide $130 million each year for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) supports, available to both NDIS participants and people without an NDIS plan. ILC provides information, linkages and referrals to effectively connect people with disability, their families and carers with appropriate disability, community and mainstream supports. 

The NSW Disability Inclusion Act, passed in 2014, means that the NSW Disability Council and its supporting groups will continue to represent people with disability and provide advice to government on emerging issues impacting on community access and inclusion.

For more information visit: http://ndis.nsw.gov.au/ndis-resources/fact-sheets/advocacy-for-people-with-disability-in-nsw/