Thursday, 18 June 2015
A Beige Budget of Opportunity Lost
Dignity for Disability welcomes some measures in today’s Budget, supporting the disability-related tax reform changes announced but has concern about the failure to address South Australia’s ever-growing disability services unmet needs list. Overall, it’s a disappointing Budget which does not consider the potential opportunities our disability community can bring to the lack lustre SA economy.
Dignity for Disability appreciates that there are some modest tax reform measures for the disability community in relation to Special Disability Trusts and stamp duties for vehicles, but overall, the Government is not putting dollars where they are needed most,” says Kelly Vincent.
Thousands of South Australian with disability and their family carers continue to languish on the unmet needs lists waiting for accommodation, personal care support, respite and basic access to their community.
I am pleased that the Treasurer has already acknowledged that a concession on vehicle registration for minors with disability does not go far enough. He has given me an assurance that this concession will be extended to all modified motor vehicles used primarily by, or for, people with disabilities. It sounds like a tacked on afterthought but we in the disability community know well enough what that’s like.
While stamp duty removal from Special Disability Trusts is a positive reform for a handful of families, it means little to the 45 percent of people with disability living on the poverty line, and the thousands of families facing service crises on a daily basis.
“If we’re going to accelerate social housing renewal, let’s do it properly. We must ensure all public housing stock is built to universal design standards, and the majority needs to be accessible to people that have physical or sensory access needs now, or will do so in the future as our population ages. The modest investment in public housing upgrades announced in the budget is silent on the issue of accessibility, yet the cost of retro-fitting is far higher than integrated design.”
While we’re investing in the much needed upgrade of early childhood centres and schools, let’s ensure we get buildings that are universally designed so all children, young people and care givers can access them – whether they have a disability or not. And let’s look for some of those jobs in the construction industry involving people with disabilities.
The Government also fails to recognise the potential for massive jobs growth for a skilled workforce through the NDIS reforms in the disability sector and the positive spin offs for our tourism sector.
The NDIS aims to ensure people can live active, independent lives at home, in the workforce, and in the community. A government of economic vision would surely be investing now to make our great state a world leader in accessible design and service provision. It’s an opportunity lost to sell the state as an attractive, accessible option for tourists from interstate for recreation, tourism and employment. Disappointingly such innovation is lacking in today’s Budget,” concluded Ms Vincent.