Disability rights groups say the federal government has delivered a “lean, mean budget” for people with disability, their families and carers.
Peak advocacy organisation People with Disability Australia (PWDA) says the budget squandered the chance to give people with disability better support and protection against natural disasters and Covid, and increased funding for the NDIS and advocacy services.
“We’re very disappointed with the outcome of the 2022 federal budget for people with disability,” president Samantha Connor said.
But the government insisted the budget was improving the lives of people with disability, with $157.8 billion invested into the NDIS over four years and $33.9 billion budgeted for this financial year.
“The NDIS has changed the lives of 500,000 Austrlians and their families. In this budget, NDIS funding grows in every year, and under the coalition the NDIS will always be fully funded,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Tuesday.
NDIS minister Linda Reynolds said the government was investing $250 million in expanding and sustaining the care and support workforce, and would provide $3.5 million in behavioural support training for up to 4,000 workers.
The budget also provides for the procurement and distribution of Rapid Antigen tests to NDIS participants in Supported Independent Living up to the end of June.
But PWDA said there was an urgent need for increased advocacy funding given the difficult circumstances people with disability faced.
“People with disability are facing vast uncertainty in the wake of floods and fires and remain in situations where we are unable to work or go to school because of COVID, as the evidence heard in the Disability Royal Commission has proven,” Ms Connor said in a statement.
“What this budget shows is the government is once again deprioritising people with disability at a time when our need to be protected, supported and valued has never been greater.”