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Breaking News: No new funding for disability services or sector transformation in ACT budget

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What you need to know

  • The ACT Government released its 2024–25 Budget on Tuesday.
  • Although it funds disability programs already announced or underway, it has no new funding for on-the-ground disability services or sector transformation.
  • However, the government will establish a Disability Reform Taskforce to respond to the DRC and NDIS Review findings.
  • NDS welcomes investment in housing and mental health services.

The ACT 2024–25 Budget, released on Tuesday, does not contain new funding for on-the-ground disability services nor for sector transformation support. The Government said its budget priorities were improving health services, addressing cost-of-living pressures, investing in housing supply and affordability, and finishing large infrastructure projects.

However, NDS welcomes the establishment of a Disability Reform Taskforce to respond to the Disability Royal Commission and NDIS Review recommendations. With the support and expertise of its members, NDS is well positioned to advise the taskforce. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to co-design foundational supports — such as early childhood assessment and intervention supports — and other elements of reform.

Nevertheless, we believe that for reform to be successful, the ACT Government must invest in implementation funding.

The budget also contains funding, already announced, to implement the First Action Plans of the ACT Disability Strategy and Disability Health Strategy and develop the Second Action Plan of the Disability Justice Strategy. There’s also funding to continue the Children and Young People Equipment Loan Service (CAYPELS).

People with disability will also benefit from the budget’s housing initiatives, with $118 million allocated to repairs and maintenance of public housing stock, upgrades in security and energy efficiency, and disability modifications for tenants.

The government also committed to investigating its role in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and how it can assist NDIS participants who are eligible for SDA funding.

An investment of $10.8 million in mental health programs includes a second PACER team (Police, Ambulance and Clinician Early Response) to assist people experiencing acute mental health crises. Money will also go to the redevelopment of the Step Up and Step Down at Home Program and the continuation of several child and youth mental health programs.

A range of measures to ease cost-of-living pressures include utility and rent rebates and vehicle registration concessions. The Taxi Subsidy Scheme will also increase its rates from $15.20 to $25 per trip.

NDS will keep calling on the ACT Government to support the disability workforce and sector transformation. The government needs to signal its commitment on both these issues to boost the sector’s confidence.

While we are disappointed by the lack of transformation funding for the sector, NDS will keep collaborating with the ACT Government to design and implement disability reforms for Canberrans.

Contact information
Jo Huxley, Territory Manager - ACT, 02 6283 3217, submit enquiry/feedback