Future uncertain for disability organisations following funding cuts
According to Physical Disability Australia (PDA), a national peak disability people’s organisation, its capacity to work is threatened by funding cuts to the Department of Social Services (DSS) Disability and Carer Service Improvement Sector Support (DCSISS) Program.
The grassroots organisation, which was founded more than two decades ago and has more than 1,000 members, is calling on its members around the nation to write to their MPs and senators in Canberra to demand an increase in funding.
In a letter to government they wrote “PDA has hung on but it cannot survive for much longer”.
“A solution must be found by the government that will provide enough funding so that PDA and the other national peaks can continue to provide input to policy, and to attaining the goals of the NDIS and National Disability Strategy,” it said.
It comes after the Australian government established a new disability peaks funding model in 2016, that funds population based organisations to provide consultation and advocacy services.
Under the new model the government works with six funded disability peak bodies to “deliver its commitment to represent all people with disability and disability service providers in the most effective, coordinated and collaborative way”.
The model includes four DPOs forming Disabled People’s Organisations Australia; People with Disability Australia (PWDA), First Peoples Disability Network Australia (FPDN), National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA), and Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA).
Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) was also funded to represent children and young people (0-25 yrs) with disability. In addition, National Disability Services (NDS) was funded to represent service providers.
However, PDA, which does not charge membership fees and is entirely reliant on Commonwealth government and NDIA grants, failed to secure funding through the tender process.
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