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The Youth Coalition asked parties and independent candidates about their policies on disability. We asked:
- How will you improve services that support young people with disability?
- How will you support young people with disability who are not eligible for the NDIS?

The full responses we received from parties and independent candidates are below. 
Click here to download the short snapshot of their policies on disability.

ACT Greens

The ACT Greens recognise that there are many medical, societal and environmental reasons why people's individual abilities differ - disabilities arise when society fails to accommodate these differences, and creates, or fails to remove, barriers to equitable access for all. We believe that people with disabilities, and their families and carers, should have the opportunity to participate in all levels of decision and policy making, including in their own service development and delivery. 
We know that there are concerns locally that the emphasis within the NDIS is on the permanence of most disabilities where, within the mental health framework, recovery is the goal and a return to work in the wider community. The NDIS is in its very early stages, and there is no doubt changes will be required to enable it to meet the very different needs, in many cases, that its new clients will bring with them.

ACT Labor

The ACT Labor Government has a range of services that support Canberrans who have a disability. In July 2014, the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial began in Canberra, which provides a new way of delivering individualised support for people with a permanent or significant disability. By the middle of this year the Act will be the first jurisdiction to accept all eligible residents into the scheme – this equates to around 5000 Canberrans.

This transition does mean a major change for organisations and individuals across the ACT. Together with the Federal Government, we are investing $21.8 million to help prepare the ACT sector and people with disability for the new NDIS.

At the end of last year, there programs were launched to support ACT disability providers operate successfully in the NDIS environment: Ready4, Opening Doors and Values in Action. 

The ACT Labor Government is also working to support young people with a disability more broadly, through initiatives beyond the NDIS. For instance, we are providing nearly 400 eligible students with a disability access to the Special Needs Transport program. This program provides a door-to-door service to and from school. My government is also upgrading around 100 bus stops to meet disability standards, including improved wheelchair accessibility, access paths and tactile resources for vision impaired customers.

We also provide support to students through Skilled Capital, the ACT’s signature entitlement training program. This allows registered training organisations to apply for financial support to meet training needs of students. 

Canberra Liberals

The Canberra Liberals are committed to removing any barriers that impede any person with a disability living in the ACT. We also recognise that the community sector is the heavy lifter when it comes to service provision in the ACT. By listening to the community sector we believe we can better support community organisations in their quest to improve services and accessibility. As answered in previous questions The Canberra Liberals Transport policy extra funding for Education and continued support for the NDIS all contribute to improving services for young people with a disability.

As a starting point, the Canberra Liberals have recognised that there is a need to support children with special and complex needs in the non-government sector. We have announced a commitment of $17.5 million for kids with special needs in our non-government schools. 

Independent Candidates

Joel McKay, Independent Candidate for Brindabella

Following implementation of the NDIS in July 2014, the ACT Government was criticised for immediately withdrawing some of its disability services. The immediate withdrawal of services resulted in gaps appearing in the range of disability assistance on offer. Private operators were not given sufficient time to establish new services, which resulted in some participants having little or no access to support.

The ACT Government is due to remove all disability services by June 2017, and rely solely on private operators working as part of the NDIS. The next ACT Government must undertake an analysis of the effectiveness of the NDIS, and look to fund areas where no private operator exists. If the Government removes all disability services without ensuring alternative options are available, many disabled people will be worse off.

If elected, I will support periodic review of the NDIS arrangements to ensure the range of disability services meet the requirements of the ACT. Where gaps are identified, I will lobby the ACT Government to resource and fund new services. I will also encourage the Government to work collaboratively with the private sector and develop additional services where necessary.  


The above information was provided by the parties and/or candidates listed, and authorised for publication on this website by Emma Robertson, Youth Coalition of the ACT