The Berejiklian Government has today been condemned by peak disability organisations during an extensive public hearing into the provision of disability services across New South Wales.
The Parliamentary Inquiry into the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the provision of disability services in NSW, heard that the abolition of government-run disability services has resulted in extensive market failures, leaving many people with disability unable to access the supports they need.
The news comes as the Government presses ahead with the transfer of the Summer Hill Centre on Grosvenor Street despite an impassioned campaign from parents, carers and the community to keep the centre in public hands.
Given all disability services in NSW are now run by non-government organisations, safety-net services no longer exist. In cases where a service provider is unable to make a profit – or at least break-even – NDIS participants are simply left without support.
Throughout today’s public hearing, several witnesses noted that the Berejiklian Government had overseen a practical reduction in available services, despite taxpayers’ significant investment in the NDIS.
Meanwhile, Disability Services Minister Ray Williams refuses to acknowledge the devastating impact of his Government’s privatisation policy. During his recent Budget Estimates hearing, the Minister simply refused to accept responsibility for issues related to service provision.
In contrast, NSW Labor has committed to reinstating safety-net disability services to catch people before they fall through the cracks.
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen
“The Inquiry heard story after story about people with disability being left behind by this Government.
"I will continue to fight alongside the parents at the Summer Hill Centre as well as all those local parents, carers and organisations who are being left to pick up the pieces."
Quotes attributable to Acting Shadow Minister for Disability Services Kate Washington
“The testimony of peak disability organisations today was clear – the Berejiklian Government’s decision to privatise all disability services is having tragic outcomes.
“There’s a whole generation of children missing out on crucial early intervention support, families breaking without access to respite services and young adults ‘living’ in hospitals instead of homes.
“Many people in the community would be shocked to learn that there are no safety-net services for people with disability. Tragically, hospitals and prisons are becoming the inappropriate provider of last resort.
“NSW Labor has committed to restoring safety-net disability services in our state. We believe in the NDIS and we want to make sure it delivers the choice and control that participants deserve.
“On the other hand, the NSW Liberal Government has always viewed the NDIS as an excuse to wash its hands of responsibility for people with disability. No other state or territory has done this.
“This is a shocking example of Premier Berejiklian’s poor priorities. This Government is leaving people with disability without the supports they need while shovelling billions of dollars into rebuilding stadiums in Sydney.”