Fringe Voters Set for Grassroots Defend Our NDIS Campaign in 2022 Federal Election | The Lawyer – Hepburn
Fringe voters will be targeted in a new campaign demanding that major parties pledge to protect National Disability Insurance scheme participants from shock funding cuts.
People with disabilities, their families and carers will come together on Budget Day in Canberra to launch Defend Our NDIS, a grassroots campaign that will include a series of town hall meetings before culminating in a national day of action on April 28.
The campaign will target two dozen fringe seats across the country, including Gilmore and Eden-Monaro in southern New South Wales.
The latest numbers show the average annual budget plan fell to $68,500 in 2021, down 3% from the previous year.
A change in the composition of participants – including a higher proportion of the number of children, who generally require less funding – is one of the reasons for the decline, according to the National Disability Insurance Agency.
NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds has consistently rejected claims that the government has, or plans to, scrap the scheme, pointing to the massive increase in overall funding.
The government’s budget update last December provided an additional $26.4 billion over the next four years to manage the program’s rising costs.
The new campaign is led by Every Australian Counts, the grassroots advocacy group that fought for the introduction of NDIS, and is backed by leading provider group National Disability Services.
Campaign spokeswoman Elly Desmarchelier has first-hand experience of the cuts, having received only enough money to cover six months of catheter supplies after surgery to remove her bladder. She said her request for additional funding was denied.
Ms Desmarchelier, who has cerebral palsy, said there was a huge stake for people with disabilities in the upcoming election.
“How important is this campaign? This is about freedom for people with disabilities to live the life they want,” she said.
“I can’t think of anything bigger and more important than that.”
The campaign will build on research published last year that highlighted the economic benefits of investing in the NDIS – and the implications of reduced funding.
“The NDIS is one of Australia’s biggest social and economic reforms that united all of Australia behind it almost a decade ago,” said Laurie Leigh, chief executive of National Disability Services, whose l organization commissioned the Per Capita report.
“It is disappointing that the focus over the past 18 months has shifted from program benefits to cost, with repeated attempts to restrict access to the NDIS and reduce the media available.”