WA State Budget 2021-22 Analysis for WA Disability Services
What you need to know
- $13.4M over four years to fund an Office of Disability
- $2.6M over 2021-22 and 2022-23 to support the delivery of the State Disability Strategy 2020-2030, including the expansion of the Changing Places network ($2M), support for the establishment of disabilities micro-enterprises ($500,000), and the provision of all-terrain wheelchairs at public recreation facilities such as beaches and national parks ($100,000).
- $875M to increase the supply of social housing
Premier and State Treasurer McGowan has delivered the 2021-22 State Budget, which further strengthened the State’s finances delivering a significant budget surplus of $5.6 billion in its second term of government while State net debt is expected to be $11 billion lower than projected ($32.1 billion in 2021-22).
The budget commits $13.4 million to fund the operations of the Office of Disability across the years 2021-22 to 2024-25. NDS championed the importance of a fit-for-purpose and well-resourced Office in our Pre Budget-Submission 2021-23 to support the State Government's responsibilities for the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and together with a fully funded State Disability Strategy and detailed Action Plans. We commend the State Government for this important budget commitment.
This Office must carefully oversee the State Government’s investment in disability of over $5 billion over four years, of which $3.8 billion is the State’s contribution to the NDIS, and make sure this is directed toward priority areas. The Office will play a vital role to further progress the development of a strong state disability ecosystem supporting over 500,000 Western Australians with disability, their families, workers and organisations.
Importantly, the Office will need to build critical independent capacity to provide the State Government with information to assist in their negotiation of the next NDIS Bilateral Agreement between the State and Commonwealth Government over the next 12 months.
NDS also welcomes the investment of the State Government in a range of other disability initiatives including:
- $2.6 million over 2021-22 and 2022-23 to support the delivery of the State Disability Strategy 2020-2030. This includes the expansion of the Changing Places network ($2 million), support for the establishment of disability micro-enterprises ($500,00), the provision of all-terrain wheelchairs at public recreation facilities such as beaches and national parks ($100,000) and an additional $1 million over 2021-22 to 2024-25 to enhance access for visitors with disability to national parks and the conservation estate.
- An increase in the Department of Communities forecast cash contributions to the NDIS over 2021-22 to 2024-25 which have been revised upwards by $115.6 million to account for a reduction in budgeted in-kind contributions. This follows an additional $69.4 million for disability services in 2020-21 to accommodate the increase in the speed of transition of participants to the NDIS.
The State Government has also invested $875 million in social housing including a dedicated $750 million Social Housing Investment Fund. $228 million of this is set aside for short-term projects to increase social housing and $522 million to deliver new social homes from 2022-23. This funding is a good first step toward resolving issues around housing supply for vulnerable people in our community including people with disability and provides around 3,300 social housing homes over the forward estimate years.
In addition, the budget provides investment of $1.9 billion in health and mental health across WA. This funding includes $960 million for WA Health to help address increased demand in the health system, including 332 extra beds and more frontline staff at WA hospitals. This is on top of almost $9 billion committed to date in response to COVID-19 and includes $1 billion of additional support provided in 2021-22.
NDS will continue to work collaboratively with the State Government and the Office of Disability to implement the State Disability Strategy and address the many challenges being experienced around the NDIS. This will be a very important roadmap to build a truly inclusive WA.