24 November 2010
COALITION TO MOVE COMMON-SENSE AMENDMENTS TO HELP PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY
Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector, Senator Mitch Fifield, today announced that the Coalition will introduce an amendment to allow Australians with a severe disability to retain their Disability Support Pension if they must accompany their guardian overseas for work.
“This amendment will make life a little easier for people with a disability whose carer must, because of their work, shift overseas,” Senator Fifield said.
Under the current system, if a carer travels overseas to work, and the person who they care for must accompany them due to the nature of their disability, they lose their Disability Support Pension (DSP) after 13 weeks.
The Coalition’s amendments to the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2010 aims to deal with this aspect of DSP portability, taking into account the circumstances of carers and people with a disability who must travel overseas for work purposes for an extended period of time.
Senator Fifield referred the matter to the Senate Community Affairs Committee to examine the situation of people such as diplomat Hugh Borrowman, who was forced to turn down the role of Ambassador to Sweden because his severely disabled son, who he and his partner care for, would have lost his DSP.
The Coalition’s Community Affairs Committee minority report called for the legislation to be amended so that people in Mr Borrowman’s son’s circumstances are not unfairly punished by the removal of their DSP due to a decision of their guardian.
“The Coalition’s amendments are common-sense, practical measures and will also help ensure people are not missing out on professional opportunities because they have taken on the role of carer,” Senator Fifield said.
“Carers should not be forced to turn down opportunities due to bureaucratic inflexibility, and those they care for should not be penalised.”
“The Government has been aware of this issue for more than 12 months. It’s time for them to act by supporting the Coalition’s amendments.”