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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 November 2021) . . Page.. 3648 ..


through COAG to implement it. Much information about this new strategy is already available, which the government should be very aware of.

It is particularly disappointing that no additional funding has been set aside for each of the key outcome areas covered by the current National Disability Strategy. These have not been changed under the new strategy; they include economic security, health and justice. The new strategy also includes a focus on supporting carers.

The budget does not mention a strategy for ensuring the economic security of people living with a disability. No consideration has been given for either funding or even a strategic indicator of how to support people or employ people with a disability. This would have been a fitting time for the government to have included a disability job strategy. It could have set some targets for employment of people living with a disability here in the ACT.

There was also no funding for the much-needed development of the disability health strategy. There are almost 8,000 people in the ACT living with a disability, many with multiple and profound disabilities who require additional support when accessing healthcare. There are also over 100 disability discrimination complaints received each year from persons with a disability. From these numbers, it would appear that a disability health strategy providing education for the sector and support for those living with a disability should have been part of the budget and forward estimates.

In a recent response to a question on notice the Minister for Disability said that the initial scoping work will be undertaken during 2021, with the strategy to be drafted in 2022. It is surprising not to see this either mentioned as a budget priority or funded in the current budget. Does this mean that yet again the government is forgetting its promise to deliver a strategy to the people of the ACT?

We now come to the Disability Justice Strategy, and the overriding question is: where did that money go? The strategy was launched in 2019, with the first action plan to ensure people with a disability have access to, and are treated equally before, the law, to be implemented from 2019 to 2024. Initial funding for this strategy was set at $3.75 million, estimated, over four years. However, this money has now disappeared completely out of the budget. Revised funding sees this drop from three-quarters of a million dollars for this year to just $360,000. Therefore there is no further forward estimates.

Considering this is a significant priority in the National Disability Strategy, both currently and for the new strategy, it is disappointing that this initiative has fallen off the budget priorities list for this government. This is yet another area where this government is failing to deliver on its promises.

Finally, we come to the Disability Carers Strategy, which at least rates a mention as an action item. Here the government is looking to implement the first three-year action plan of this strategy, another important focus of the new National Disability Strategy. But, surprise, there is no funding attached to this priority.


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