Don't Ditch Disability Advocacy
Stand By Me is a campaign run by the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance. We are a group of disability advocacy, information and peak representative organisations that empower people with a disability to have a voice. The NSW Government will cut our funding in June next year, and we are fighting so that we can continue to protect and uphold the rights of people with disability.
It can be difficult for people with disability to get a fair go and speak up. Sometimes they need someone to help them when things go wrong. Advocacy organisations help people with disability speak up and get a fair go.
It’s time for us to secure long term funding for disability advocacy in NSW!
We need to ensure people with disabilities in NSW and their loved ones have access to specialist, independent disability advocacy, representation and information.
It is thanks to you and your support of the Stand By Me campaign that the Premier agreed in April 2018 to continue to fund disability advocacy in NSW for a further two years - but there is no plan to fund disability advocacy, representation or information after June 2020.
We need to know that disability advocacy is here to stay. We deserve to know that we’ll have independent, specialist experts in our corner when and where we need them, and have our own voices heard.
So the Disability Advocacy Alliance is moving on to Round Two of the campaign – securing long term funding from the NSW Government post 2020.
What is disability advocacy all about, and why is it so important?
It’s about ensuring that people with disability have a voice; that we have input into and control over decisions that affect our lives.
We all want to belong, to be included and to have the same opportunities to fulfil our own unique potential. People with disabilities are no different. It’s just a whole lot harder. How do you find work when you can’t get your wheelchair onto public transport, much less into half the buildings? Who do you turn to for help when your child isn’t being given the support they need in school? What if you or someone you love is being treated poorly by the facility you’re supposed to trust? Where do you turn?
This is what independent disability advocacy is all about: people in your corner who are experts and can help you navigate the system. People who will shine a light and help make the system better. People who know your rights, understand your challenges and will work with you to sort it out so you can have real control over your own life – whatever’s going on.
Different organisations focus on different areas. Some organisations specifically support families, others support people with intellectual disabilities, or particular physical challenges. Some focus on making the system better as a whole, while others primarily help individuals. But whether we’re making things better one person at a time or by winning changes that will help thousands, our work is essential.
What will happen to people in NSW with a disability if these services disappear?
It’s not looking good. Especially if you live in rural or regional NSW, from June next year chances are there may be no local advocate you can turn to if you’re having issues with education, discrimination, health, justice, transport, employment, access in your community, etc – all areas not covered by the NDIS.
Services already operate on a shoestring budget and struggle to meet community demand. We should be expanding them, not closing them!
In its rush to embrace the NDIS, the NSW government is neglecting a core piece of disability support infrastructure. It’s a giant gaping hole and millions of people (including family, friends and carers) are about to fall through it if the NSW government doesn’t change its mind.
Great question. There are a number of ways you can take action.
- Sign our online petition to The Premier.
- Email us for a pack of ‘Stand by Me’ postcards and get your friends to sign them, then mail them off to The Premier!
- Visit your local member of parliament and tell them why you need access to independent advocacy and information supports in NSW.
- Visit your Local Councillor and tell them why you need independent information and independent advocacy to remain funded in NSW and ask them to talk to your local member as well.
Remember to take a copy of our MP and Councillor briefing paper with you when you visit your local member or councillor.