The Community Affairs Committee is currently examining the funding and operation of the Commonwealth-State/Territory Disability Agreement (along with four other inquiries). I was in Sydney today attending part of a public hearing for this Inquiry.
The next round of the CSTDA is currently being negotiated between the two levels of government. Hopefully the information provided to this Senate Inquiry will help make the new Agreement more effective and better targeted.
Given how large the number of people is who either have a disability or whose life are significantly affected by people who do, I am often surprised how politically powerless and largely invisible the issue is. There is an enormous load carried by community based advocacy and support organisations in this area. I wrote a post recently about one of these organisations and the great job they do, and of course there are many more around the country, as the wide range of submissions to this inquiry shows. While governments do provide some funding, it really does fall well short of the mark in both its amount and its application. The unmet needs in this area are well documented and quite large, and I’m not convinced that even the inadequate resourcing this is provided is terribly well spent.
It is getting harder and harder to fit in all the different Committee obligations, alongside all the other work I do. I expect this situation to get worse the closer the federal election looms, as the need to focus my energies and activities in Queensland becomes more apparent. Unfortunately, this Inquiry hasn’t held a public hearing in Queensland. The submission by Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) is a short one, but it raises some interesting issues and is worth a read. I was hoping to have the chance to ask them some questions about their ideas, although NCOSS did touch on some similar notions in their evidence today.