Release: Minister confirms it was her decision to make changes to disability funding

The Minister for Disability Issues has confirmed she was aware of funding issues in mid-December and did nothing to stop it. On 14 March, she signed off on changes that were announced and implemented on 18 March without any consultation with disability communities.

“I am appalled that Minister Penny Simmonds has done nothing to support people with some of the toughest jobs in the country,” Disability Issues spokesperson Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

“She finally apologised in Question Time today to disabled communities for the lack of consultation and communication about the changes, which is a good start.

“However, it’s a bit half-baked when she never sought additional funding, despite having months to do so, and was the person who signed off on these changes last Thursday, just days before they were implemented.

“This means she was comfortable with them being announced and implemented on the same day without consultation.

“When she was first alerted to the forecast overspend, Minister Simmonds should have spoken to the Finance Minister immediately and advocated for a pre-budget commitment so that flexibility did not have to be removed from disability support funding without consultation.

“Instead, she chose not to stand up for the communities she is supposed to be representing in Government and approved the removal of support for carers and disabled people.

“This is disgraceful. The Government should stop ignoring disability communities, and must act immediately to reinstate funding flexibility and engage with them before any changes are made,” Priyanca Radhakrishnan said.

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