Speak Out is calling on all major political parties to provide a firm commitment to ongoing funding to ensure hundreds of the most vulnerable Tasmanians are able to access vital services.
“Three of the political parties – the Liberals, Labor and the Greens – have expressed verbal support for our work, however we need a firm commitment to ongoing funding in order to continue to deliver our services effectively,” says Speak Out’s General Manager Jenny Dixon.
“From the end of the 2018-19 financial year, there is no commitment from the State Government to fund independent advocacy in Tasmania for people with disability and their parents and carers.
“For Speak Out, this is a 48% cut in our funding that will see hundreds of vulnerable Tasmanians annually unable to receive the help they need and deserve, and inevitably place the viability of the organisation in jeopardy.”
The impact will hit hard: last financial year (2016-2017) Speak Out operated at capacity in all areas of the State. Waiting lists and wait-time is increasing. Complexity of issues means advocacy demand in some areas of state responsibility has tripled.
A 2017 Cost Benefit Analysis of Australian independent disability advocacy agencies, facilitated by the Disability Advocacy Network of Australia (DANA), found that every dollar used by Australia’s independent disability advocacy agencies delivers $3.50 in benefits.
The research found investing in independent advocacy leads to a range of benefits including improved educational and employment outcomes; it frees up resources in the justice system, health and accommodation services; and helps to relieve the load on carers and service providers. It concluded that independent advocacy delivers substantial economic benefits and represents a highly effective use of resources.
“It makes good economic sense to invest in advocacy services such as Speak Out,” Ms Dixon says. “We’re a strong organisation. We are seeking a firm commitment to ongoing funding so that we can continue helping Tasmanians with disability.”
Transition to the full NDIS started in July 2016 and is expected to be completed by 2020. Speak Out Advocacy provides vital support to NDIS participants as well as many people with disability who don’t qualify for assistance under the NDIS.
Speak Out is a Statewide advocacy service that aims to develop a respectful and inclusive community for people living with a disability; by promoting and defending rights through advocacy work; good governance that includes people with intellectual disability; and building the capacity of communities.
It facilitates a range of approaches to ensure people with disability have authentic input into the issues that affect them. It has a strong membership of people with disability and hosts the annual Speak Out Self Advocacy Conference, a conference of national significance now in its 36th year.
Speak Out won the Human Rights Organisation Award in December 2017.
Authorised by Jenny Dixon, Level 3, 168 Collins Street Hobart
Released by Jodi De Cesare, Media and Communications Consultant 0490 705 303 firstname.lastname@example.org