Around 240,000 more Australian women than men are living with some form of disability. We know that women make up more than two thirds of primary carers in Australia and 55.5 per cent of all carers.
Compared to their peers, women with disability experience significantly higher levels of all forms of violence more intensely and frequently and are subjected to violence by a greater number of perpetrators. Their experiences of violence last over a longer period of time, and more severe injuries result from the violence. Elderly single women living with disability are more likely to live in poverty than men living with disability.
In the 2019 Budget, the Government cut $4.6 billion out of the NDIS to prop up a surplus that never eventuated – now, they are claiming the NDIS is unsustainable.
In 2018 the Government set up a $35 million a year disability watchdog that has only issued a handful of infringements to dodgy providers in two years – meaning the Government is failing to protect women subjected to violence and neglect. In last year’s Budget, the Government announced $93 million for the NDIS Commission to hire just 6 new investigators.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (NDIS) planning pathway and the provision of services under the scheme involve regular contacts with people with disabilities that could be used to identify and intercept domestic and family violence. Despite this, the Government has failed to recognise the opportunity for family violence intervention by introducing a family violence strategy.
When responding to the $4.6 billion underspend 2019-20, the government blamed “dodgy data” and claimed the NDIS would always be fully funded.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the NDIS was a demand-driven program and every approved plan would be fully funded.
Now, the Government are claiming the NDIS is unsustainable after eight years of waste on lawyers and consultants and allowing fraud and criminal activity to damage the scheme.
This contradicts their own modelling that shows the scheme has been on track with projected spending since 2017.
This misleading claim about NDIS costs is being used to pave the way for cuts to the scheme via the plan for compulsory Independent Assessments, which will make it harder for women with disabilities to access NDIS support.
Labor would strengthen the disability watchdog and tighten timeframes for decisions made by the NDIA and the watchdog.
Labor would return people with lived disability experience to the board and to senior levels of the National Disability Insurance Agency, making sure women with disability have a voice in how the NDIS works.