25 November 2010
GOVERNMENT TURNS ITS BACK ON PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY
The Government has put the needs of people with disability and their carers on the backburner today by removing important legislation relating to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and Special Disability Trusts from the Senate legislative program.
“The Government has prevented the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2010 from being further considered and passed by the Parliament this year,” Senator Mitch Fifield, Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector said.
“By preventing this legislation from being considered by the Senate, the Government is stalling the commencement of reforms to the Special Disability Trusts, an important policy initiative that has cross-party support.”
“Additionally, the Government has delayed action to close a Disability Support Pension loophole that allows non-residents to claim the DSP.”
The Coalition had indicated that it would facilitate passage of this legislation.
“This is another example of how the Government’s mismanagement of their legislative program is affecting people’s lives,” Senator Fifield said.
The Government’s failure to have this Bill considered will also prevent the Coalition from moving an amendment to ensure that people with disability and a legal guardian are not penalised by losing their Disability Support Pension when their carer relocates overseas for work.
“The Government’s rationale for removing the Bill from their legislative program was to prevent the Senate considering the amendments to the Bill proposed by the Coalition,” Senator Fifield said.
“The Government’s decision will hurt Australians with a disability.”
“The Government is running away from this Bill, and has turned its back on people with a disability in its haste to force NBN legislation through the Senate,” Senator Fifield said.
“The Government managed to find time for the National Measurement Amendment Bill 2010, but cannot find the time to implement important changes to help people with disability,” Senator Fifield said.
“The Government needs to start taking seriously its commitments to Australians with disability and prioritise legislation that affects their lives in the legislative agenda.”