In the Media

Prioritise disability issues

Kelly Vincent MLC Dignity Party | Weekender Herald

Sunday December 3 was International Day of People with Disability, and the community support and engagement at our third annual disability pride parade was outstanding.

So its about time that policy makers and influencers kept pace with that public recognition and respect.

Unfortunately the latest National Disability Insurance Scheme quarterly report figures show the state government needs to be doing more by exerting pressure on the federal government and relevant ministers to meet the needs of South Australians with disability.

Thousands continue to be approved for NDIS access, but go without services, such as therapies and equipment they desperately need. While I am a strong supporter of the NDIS, it is clear that South Australians are getting a raw deal when it comes to responsible management and collaboration between the state and federal governments.

My office is contacted regularly, with complaints about sub-par planning processes, delays in planning and approvals and extensive waits for equipment and home modifications.

Additionally, many small business service providers are owed tens of thousands of dollars because of plan review appeals, problems with service bookings, and ongoing challenges with the My Place portal.

The new figures show that South Australia is nearly 800 people short of our bilateral target for expected participants. Additionally, there’s more than 4,000 people either still waiting for a plan, plan review or with other complications.

We wanted the NDIS to make waiting lists a thing of the past. In recent weeks I have also been contacted about accessible transportation concerns with the current and proposed tram networks, as well as an alarming lack of planning with emergency evacuations in the new O-Bahn tunnel.

It seems that an election is in the air and many projects are being announced or completed, but it is vital that these projects are governed by universal design principles, if common sense wasn’t readily available.

South Australians have some important decisions ahead of them next March, and with parliament prorogued until after the election, I am looking forward to continuing important community and constituent work, meeting with you on the issues that matter to you.

Forums such as Citizen’s Juries, Community Consultation and COAG often result in substantive action being taken by our leaders on issues that they consider a priority to the state.

I’m calling on Premier Jay Weatherill and other state ministers to finally prioritise disability, or be prepared to explain why they have not.