IT might be hoped the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will provide all necessary services, but councillor Stephen Nugent says keeping advocacy organisations afloat will be crucial to ensure no one slips through the cracks.
Cr Nugent will move a motion at Tuesday night’s Orange City Council meeting to note the importance of groups advocating for people with disabilities and support a campaign by the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance to have advocacy continue to be funded, writing to Disability Services Minister Ray Williams and Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Cr Nugent said up to half of the state’s 50 advocacy services faced closure when $13 million in funding ran out on June 30 due to a shift towards the NDIS.
He said they provided independent support to people with disabilities and campaigned across issues including making public transport more accessible and ending the high rate of preventable deaths in healthcare for people with an intellectual disability.
“This in turn would put the onus back on local government or the community sector to fund such services, or see them disappear,” he said.
“Neither of these outcomes is desirable or beneficial for people with disability.”
Asked whether he thought lobby groups would be necessary after the NDIS rollout was complete, Cr Nugent said they would not “in an ideal world”.
“But I don’t think we live in an ideal world,” he said.
“The NDIS is a brilliant concept and it’s really history in the making.
“If there is an issue with the NDIS, that a particular group aren’t receiving the services they require, or there’s no funding for a type of service that’s needed, what group is going to stand up?”