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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 June 2018) . . Page.. 2092 ..

already leading the work in developing a better understanding of the interface between the mental health system and the NDIS.

In recognising the challenges experienced by some NDIS participants, the ACT government’s budget has also committed $400,000 over two years as part of the budget for independent individual advocacy for people who require assistance to navigate the NDIS. Ensuring that NDIS participants can get appropriate support in engaging with NDIS decisions, including their rights to review of decisions and, if needed, utilising appeal processes, is absolutely crucial to ensuring that the NDIS enables participants to have real choice and control.

MR STEEL: Minister, what other budget measures will support the inclusion of people with a disability in our community?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Steel for the supplementary. The ACT government supports the inclusion and participation of all people with a disability in the Canberra community in a number of ways. The government recognises that many people with disability will not be NDIS participants, and we need to work as a community to ensure their needs are met and that the community as a whole is inclusive of people with disability in all areas, including employment, community engagement and social activities, as well as access to other government services.

The budget includes a doubling of funding for the disability inclusion grants, with the total grant pool increasing from $50,000 to $100,000 per year. This grant program provides opportunity for community groups, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations to apply for funds to become more inclusive and welcoming of people with disability.

These grants provide a real opportunity for people with disability to engage with their local community, let the community know how it could be more accessible, and encourage their local businesses and community organisations to apply for funds to remove hurdles to inclusion. This could include physical infrastructure such as hearing loops, adjustable equipment, training for staff and volunteers on disability awareness, the development of a disability action and inclusion plan, or translating information into easy English.

Last year the first round of grants saw an overwhelming response from the community. In the 2017 grant round 44 disability inclusion grant applications were received seeking a total of more than $550,000 in funding. Eight applications were successful for the $50,000 grant round. The 2018 disability inclusion grant round opened on 30 April, and we will be keeping the grants open until the end of July to ensure as many organisations and parts of the community as possible can apply for this new larger round. I encourage all members to make this information available to their constituents.

Budget—Canberra Institute of Technology

MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research. Minister, this year’s budget has indicated that there will be a cut to staffing

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