Greens commit to opportunity and inclusion for people with disability

Jan Barham, Greens NSW MP and Disability Spokesperson, has welcomed the release of People with Disability Australia’s (PWDA) 2015 NSW election platform and called on all parties to ensure NSW supports participation for people with disability in all aspects of life, including employment, education and housing.

“The next NSW Government must improve services and reduce barriers for people with disability. The Greens’ policy on disabilities show our commitment to ensuring those outcomes are delivered,” Ms Barham said.

“People with Disability Australia and other organisations such as the NSW Council on Social Service have released election platforms that set a path for greater inclusion and participation by people with disability.

“Some of the actions called for in those platforms are ones I have campaigned actively for in the Parliament, such as raising the support provided by the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme to ensure the people who rely on it have affordable access to transport so they can engage in study, work and social activity.”

Ms Barham also welcomed the call for parties and candidates to declare their commitment to the closure of large institutional centres in NSW.

“Large institutions must be closed in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Institutional accommodation separates people with disability from participation in the community. We need to ensure people with disability have access to housing that suits their individual wants and needs, and that wherever they choose to live they will have access to the support services they need.

“Closing these centres requires the Government to deliver appropriate housing and ensure that the funding and services are available to provide for people’s care and support. It also requires advocacy and consultation to ensure people living in institutions gain access to the types of housing and services they want and need.

“The Greens have continued to monitor and raise concerns where closure plans leave people with disability and their families uncertain about when and how it will happen, and what the outcomes will be in terms of the housing and care services that will be available. This process needs clarity and inclusiveness.”

Ms Barham also noted that the Greens do not support the current NSW Government’s plan to entirely withdraw from its responsibilities and service delivery roles in the ageing, disability and home care sectors.

“I hold serious concerns about the Coalition’s premature announcement that it is vacating the sector and will limit its responsibilities to funding services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

“The NSW Government has an obligation to ensure access to appropriate, adequate services across the state. They must retain a role in delivering supports where choice in non-government services is unavailable.”

Ms Barham called on all members of the public to talk to their local candidates about the importance of the NSW Government’s role in supporting people with disability and ensuring opportunity for their participation.

“While the NDIS is a landmark reform for Australia, its rollout can make it too easy for other disability issues to be overlooked. Most people with disability won’t be eligible for the NDIS and it doesn’t address many of the issues affecting participation for people with disability. The NDIS won’t ensure people with disability have better job prospects, more accessible public transport or improved opportunities for study and housing.

“The State Government and the Parliament to be elected on 28 March must make a strong commitment to funding and delivering opportunities and services for people with disability. All candidates and political parties must explain their plans for people with disability in terms of housing, transport, jobs and wellbeing.”

The Greens NSW policy on Disabilities

People with Disability Australia’s Election Platform NSW 2015

Speak, Plan, Act! NCOSS Election Platform 2015

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891