Community outcry has forced the Queensland government to reinstate funding for families caring for children and adults with disabilities, according to the Courier Mail.
Families were told via letters in June that Queensland Disability and Community Care Services would no longer fund a range of services, including transport assistance, pharmaceutical products and incontinence aids. The government had claimed the Family Support Program “adjustments” were necessary to end duplication with other government support or spending on “general family living expenses”.
This backflip is a good decision. Well done Minister Davis.
We’d like to think the Queensland Government came to its senses and realised that it’s both inhumane and not too smart to remove from the most vulnerable people in one of Australia’s wealthy mining state the essential daily continence aids, oxygen and transport they need to get outside their four walls. There is nowhere else they can turn to which will ensure they receive these critical daily supports.
But continence aids, medical supplies and transport are just a few of the essential items 89,000 Queenslanders with disability need for daily living.
Unfortunately this sensible decision does not include a solution to enable children with disability to receive wheelchairs and therapy when they need it, not be forced to wait for years and end up with more muscular-skeletal problems than their disability caused in the first place.
It still leaves way too many Queenslanders unable to shower more than twice per week, due to lack of funded support.
It still leaves young Queenslanders unable to attend school, TAFE or university because they don’t receive enough personal support to eat, drink and go to the toilet during the day.
It still leaves tens of thousands of Queenslanders with disability and their families unable to join the paid workforce, because they don’t have the targeted disability supports to enable them to contribute their skills to our community and get out of the poverty-welfare cycle.
It still leaves a dark cloud hanging over ageing Queensland family carers, who have every reason to be fearful that when they die or must cease their life-long care, that there is literally no welcoming, high quality home for their beloved adult child with disability to live.
It still leaves thousands of younger Queenslanders with disability forced to live in aged care institutions, when they want to live with family or friends and just need necessary housing modifications and support to do so.
It still leaves Queensland voters wondering why the Queensland government, unlike every other government except the Northern Territory, did not prioritise investment in long-term disability reform over other State government expenses by combining state funding with federal funding to launch the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) in Queensland.
Just as the Queensland Government had the courage to overturn a harsh and illogical Family Support Program decision, we sincerely hope that the upcoming September budget will reveal genuine strategic investment in the NDIS by the Government. This would ensure that 89,000 babies, children and adults with disability living in Queensland have a decent chance to transform their lives with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
If you believe Queensland should start investing in the NDIS, tell our Premier.
And if you expect the Federal Government to play its part in bringing the NDIS to all Australians who need it, tell Disability Reform Minister Jenny Macklin.
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