The Coalition is committed to real action to assist people with disabilities and carers.
Our plan supports practical and affordable initiatives that recognise need and promote self-help and independence.
Australians with a disability and carers deserve a better deal.
Regrettably, the Labor Government has driven the budget into debt and deficit. This has the potential to compromise the ability of future governments to improve support for Australians with a disability and carers.
The Coalition is determined to restore the nation’s finances, to return the budget to surplus and to pay down Labor’s debt. It’s a problem not of our making, but one we are determined to fix. This will enable a future Coalition government to improve support for Australians who face particular challenges and those who care for them.
The Coalition recognises there is a great need for better assistance for people with disability who need long-term care and that many carers are no longer able to provide constant support.
The Coalition has undertaken to closely examine and consider the recommendations of the Productivity Commission inquiry into a National Disability Insurance Scheme and the long term care and support of Australians with disability. The final report is due to be released on 31 July 2011. We will give generous consideration to its findings.
Students with a disability and their parents will be supported through a new Education Card worth up to $20,000 per year. The Education Card will introduce portability of funding for students with a disability so that parents have real choice when it comes to selecting a school for their child. It will initially be available to around 6,000 students with a disability and will be in addition to existing funding.
Parents will also be supported through an increased and expanded Education Tax Rebate. For the first time, parents will be able to claim for education costs for children with a disability. The rebate will be increased to up to $500 per year per child in primary school and $1,000 per child per year in secondary school.
Australians with Disabilities and Carers will be given an independent voice and policy activist within government through the appointment of a new Commonwealth Disability and Carer Ombudsman.
Among the Ombudsman’s first tasks will be to undertake an audit of Australia’s supported accommodation and to undertake an assessment of the need for additional special schools across Australia that cater for students with particular disabilities.
Australia’s young carers will be eligible for greater assistance through the establishment of a Young Carer Scholarship Programme. At least 150 young carers across Australia each year will be awarded education scholarships worth up to $10,000 each.
Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) will be given a helping hand through the appointment of an ADE Advocate to encourage government departments to purchase from ADEs.
An elected Coalition government will also:
– Maintain income support for carers
– Commit $2.2 million for a new school for blind and vision impaired students in Victoria
– Provide $1 million for digital playback devices and improved access to digital content in public libraries
– Work with Australia’s cinema operators to improve accessibility with a $500,000 commitment
– Direct $1 million towards promoting voluntary guidelines for accessible housing for older Australians and Australians with a disability
Today’s announcements bring the Coalition’s total additional commitments to people with disabilities and carers to $328.7 million. This is on top of measures already funded in the Budget.
The Coalition is committed to strongly supporting Australians with a disability and carers through these practical and affordable initiatives.
To see the full policy document, click on the following link: http://snipurl.com/10puxb