Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for DISABILITY SERVICES and COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, Mrs PETRUSMA
Do you agree strong independent advocacy empowers people with disability? It helps them understand their human and legal rights, communicate their needs and have those needs met. It also helps to promote these rights to the wider community and acts as a safeguard against abuse and neglect. Funding for the state's three advocacy bodies for Tasmanians with disability, Advocacy Tasmania, Speak Out and the Association for Children with Disabilities, runs out on 30 June this year. These services and the people who rely on them are in limbo at a time when there are huge problems with the NDIS. What reassurance can you provide that there will be funding to protect the rights of people with disability through strong, independent advocacy from 1 July this year?
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. In regard to advocacy services and the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, there has been a very large body of work undertaken at both the national and state level regarding how advocacy services should be delivered and funded in the NDIS environment. This is because under the NDIS there will be an overlap of services that were previously under state existing services, and also the new services that are currently being funded under the NDIS, which are all still being finalised and commissioned. There were announcements over the weekend and there are more announcements of funding to come.
Some information and communicationtype advocacy services will be auspiced under the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building program which is administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency for which commissioning has now commenced.
On the weekend, Speak Out and ACD, as well as other Tasmanian organisations, were announced as successful recipients under one of the various rounds for the ILC grants which will assist Speak Out and ACD as disabled people's and families' organisations, known as DPOs or FOs, to build organisational capacity and the capacity of NDIS participants. ACD received nearly $130 000 in that round. and Speak Out nearly $181 000.
The federal government last week announced the opening of the $51 million National Information Program ILC grant round. That program is available for organisations to apply for grants from $300 000 -
Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Madam Speaker, under standing order 45. Minister, what you are saying is quite relevant but there needs to be some clarity about when the money is rolling out. When? Is it 1 July? Is it state funding?
Madam SPEAKER - Thank you. I will take that as a point of clarification.
Mrs PETRUSMA - As I said, Madam Speaker, the money is rolling out. There are grants for this one and other opportunities will be provided for them to build their capacity with further ILC grant rounds coming out.
The Australian Government, through its National Disability Advocacy Program, has also committed to fund advocacy services until 2020. In Tasmania, three organisations received funding of $650 000 under the National Disability Advocacy Program. These include Advocacy Tasmania, Speak Out and another organisation in Launceston, Citizen Advocacy ( Launceston Region).
The Australian Government has also recently announced another $6.5 million will be further invested to boost advocacy services in relation to the NDIS, including $5.3 million for the NDIS appeals program. There is also $ 1.2 million going into the National Disability Advocacy Program, decision support pilot. The federal government has also announced an additional $ 148.8 million will be provided for advocacy in support services.
Ms O'CONNOR - Madam, Speaker, point of order, again under standing order 45, relevance. The minister is reading out a long, prepared response that provides no clarity on state funding for three disability originations from 1 July this year.
Madam SPEAKER - Thank you, that is not a point of order. Please proceed.
Ms O'Connor - We need to understand when the money will hit these organisations.
Madam SPEAKER - We do not know what is about to come out of the minister's mouth, so we have to wait and hope.
Mrs PETRUSMA - Another $148.8 million from the federal Government has been announced. It is complex but this money is rolling out now. Tasmania has been participating in work at a national level regarding the reform and delivery of advocacy services, which is being led by the Australian Government in cooperation with the other states and territories. Disability and Community Services within the department is also closely monitoring the use of existing advocacy services so that we can identify any future gaps, will become apparent at full-scheme NDIS. We are obtaining the data by working closely with these organisations. We are quantifying the demand and as we transition to the full scheme.
Advocacy services are receiving funding. It is being rolled out and I can assure the honourable member we are working closely with the advocacy organisations and will have more to say on this in the near future.