Disability organisations are calling for urgent funding lifeline

Disability organisations are calling for urgent funding lifeline to address rising demand for advocacy

This week, a group of 52 disability advocacy organisations issued a joint call on governments to increase funding for advocacy to sustain their crucial services amid growing demand for support by people with disability, with waitlists increasing, most losing staff and closing services.

TASC National an independent advocacy organisation providing advocacy for more than 400 people with disability in the region, says insufficient funding has forced them to reduce staff numbers which will impact their ability to meet increasing demand across the region and push out wait times, causing additional stress on people with needing help.

They have joined the 52 organisations endorsing the joint statement, indicating that without immediate government action, they will continue losing staff and turning away increasing numbers of people with disability in crisis.

TASC CEO, Frances Klaassen OAM, said that despite clear acknowledgement by the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) and the NDIS Review on the importance of advocacy services, they are one of many in the disability advocacy sector struggling with lack of resources and funding.

“We have had to make some very difficult decisions in terms of staff numbers at TASC,  which given the steady rise we see in demand each year will cause longer delays for people needing help.”

Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA), the national peak body for disability advocacy services, has warned that the continued lack of additional investment by governments in the advocacy sector will have severe implications for people with disability around the country.

“Our member organisations play an essential role in ensuring that marginalised people with disability can get help when they are being hurt, neglected, discriminated against and excluded by services, supports and people in the community,” said Jeff Smith, DANA CEO.

Mr Smith said the need for trusted, independent advocacy will become even more critical when changes from the DRC and NDIS Review begin to take effect.

“The same organisations that people with disability rely on for navigating new reforms, are experiencing a severe crisis themselves.”

“Both the DRC and NDIS Review highlighted the vital role of independent disability advocacy in their final reports, and the need to increase funding to meet demand. Yet our organisation is struggling to keep our doors open,” said Mr Smith.

An urgent funding lifeline is needed now to sustain organisations during this period of transition up to July 2025.

Disability advocacy organisations urgently need:

  • An additional $29 million for National Disability Advocacy Program (NDAP) organisations to meet existing advocacy demand until mid-2025.
  • $13 million for a dedicated funding boost for advocacy providers operating in rural, remote, and very remote areas to meet the immediate need.
  • $5.225 million for training in Disaster Management, First Nations cultural safety training, resources and pilots, and Supported Decision Making awareness.
  • $17 million to be allocated to State and Territory disability advocacy programs to sustain organisations currently outside of the Federally funded NDAP.

 

Media Contact: Liam Anderson
[email protected]
(07) 4616 9700

TASC wins silver at the Australasian Reporting Awards

For the third year in a row, TASC has received a Silver Award in the General Award category at the Australasian Reporting Awards (ARA) for its 2023 annual report.

The ARA is open to organisations located in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, providing companies with an opportunity to benchmark their reports against specific ARA criteria based on world’s best practice. This includes an overview of the organisation, its context and objectives, a review of operations with a focus on progress towards achieving objectives, coverage of the organisation’s governance approach and its effectiveness, human resources management, financial performance, and presentation.

The standards each year are increasing, and there is a high level of competition from both the private and for-purpose sectors across Australia and the Pan Pacific region.

Congratulations to everyone at TASC who contributed to the annual report!

Keeping pace with technology in the community sector

Last week our CEO, Frances Klaasen, and Quality Assurance Officer, Kerry Durrand, attended The Technology for Social Justice Conference organised by Infoxchange. This event is focused on equipping charities, social enterprises, and not-for-profits with the latest in technology and social impact.

Pictured are Frances (right) with friends from Community Legal Centre’s Queensland who also attended the conference.

Over two days, Frances and Kerry participated in discussions on important trends and challenges for 2024, including cybersecurity, digital inclusion, and the responsible use of AI in the nonprofit sector. The conference provided valuable opportunities to connect with peers and experts.

The sessions offered practical knowledge in areas like cyber security, data strategies, and digital marketing, which are essential for enhancing our initiatives.

We’re excited to apply what we’ve learned to further our mission and to continue making a positive impact.

Anniversary of the National Apology

Today, the 13th of February 2024 marks the 16th anniversary of the symbolic National Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and more specifically the Apology to the Stolen Generations by the then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.

The Stolen Generations people’s lives, their families’ lives and communities were destroyed by past government policies of forced child removal and assimilation which caused enormous disruption to family and cultural structures. The Apology was to recognise the wrongs of the past to those who suffered ongoing trauma and as a step forward in their healing journey.

The Apology was the beginning for survivors and families of the Stolen Generations to start their healing and is a reminder of the spirit in which the Apology was offered and the recognition of the importance of truth telling. Tragically, many of our Stolen Generations have not reunited with family or returned to country and the number of stolen children is not known.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking to reunite with family or country, organisations like Link Up QLD (www.link-upqld.org.au/ ) can help find and bring together families from the Stolen Generations.

TASC awarded $149,967 to help combat domestic violence

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                              6 July, 2023

 

TASC awarded $149,967 to help combat domestic violence on Western Downs

The Western Downs will be the focus for a new pilot project aimed at breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

TASC National, a legal and social justice centre which offers legal and advocacy services across southwest Queensland has been awarded $149,967 from the QLD Government to design, develop and implement the innovative program.

TASC CEO, Frances Klaassen OAM said they will initially work with mothers.

“The statistics around intimate partner violence are alarming,” she said.

“Nationally, more than one in three women over 18 have been subjected to violence or abuse in their relationships during their lifetime.”

A woman’s childbearing period has been identified as high-risk for domestic violence, with 22% of women who are pregnant being subjected to intimate partner violence.

“Of these women, for a quarter of them the first time they encounter violence in the relationship is during pregnancy,” Ms Klaassen said.

“What we’ve seen and what the research shows is that violence during and after pregnancy is not only an appalling denial of human rights, it also has a lasting, damaging impact across the entire community.”

TASC aims to break this cycle through an intervention and educational approach based on research showing the impact violence has on parent-child attachment and how that negatively affects children throughout their lives.

Fractured attachments impact the way children grow up to see themselves and the world around them.  Unfortunately, it carries into adolescence, impacting their early partner relationships, resulting in adults who may repeat the patterns they grew up with.

The pilot program will focus on increasing the agency of women who are of childbearing age.

“Society in general has tended to devalue the impact and work of mothers and caregivers, which in turn leads to increased vulnerability for those women when it comes to gender based violence,” Ms Klaassen said.

“We will combat this by increasing the agency and connectedness of women through group work, community connection and demonstrating the importance and impact of the mother – child relationship across a person’s life.”

This is a new approach to domestic violence and program design is still underway, with rollout expected in early 2024.

“Our goal is to work with women, families and communities to help heal some of the trauma behind the violence and bring lasting change.  While the initial focus will be on women and their supports, we will also build an education program for men we hope to roll out in the area.”

While this will be preventative program, through their existing legal and social justice connections TASC is also able to refer women currently experiencing violence to legal and support services.

NDIS CALD summit informs stratgey

TASC CEO Frances Klaassen OAM caught up with Chair and Managing Director at Cultural Perspectives Group, Pino Migliorino AM GAICD FPRIA in Melbourne today.

Pino was today’s facilitator at the NDIS Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Strategy Summit being held in Melbourne today.

At the summit they discussed, reflected on and refined objectives and actions with attendees from across Australia.  It was also a chance to identify and gaps or areas which need refining.

The summit was a fantastic opportunity for organizations across the sector to come together and give feedback and insights to inform the 2023-27 NDIS CALD strategy.

TASC joins the OPAN (Older Persons Advocacy Network) calling for supported decision-making to be embedded across aged care

As people age, the autonomy and independence they enjoyed earlier in their lives is often denied by the negative, ageist attitudes of those who believe older women and men are unable to make their own decisions, or disregard those choices when they do. It prevents older people from making important decisions about their finances, employment, living arrangements, family life and participation in community life. This situation has been detected throughout societies – from governments and local authorities, to local leaders and family members

Everyone should have the opportunity to make decisions about the care and services they receive and the risks they are willing to take.– especially our senior populations. While aging can sometimes make independent living difficult, small supports, such as home wellness solutions and home-delivered meals, can help seniors maintain independence in their own homes.

Loss of independence can be discouraging to older adults. They have spent their entire lives living independently, working jobs, raising families, and making decisions. The natural effects of aging can sometimes make independent living harder than it once was. Difficulties with mobility, behavioural health conditions such as isolation and loneliness, and financial strains are just some of the contributors to a loss of independence in aging adults.

While we cannot avoid some barriers to independence, we can take the time to understand the importance of independence in seniors and look for ways to increase opportunities for independent living. Some of the benefits of older people making decisions about the care and services they receive and the risks they are willing to take are: feeling like an individual, maintaining balance and strength, it gives them sense of purpose, it aids with memory skill, it gives them sense of control and it helps them to develop positive relationships.

If you or somebody you know is experiencing elder abuse, and live in or around Toowoomba our Seniors Legal and Support Service (SLASS) may be able to help you with you with free legal advice and information or referrals or other services near you. Call 07 4616 9700 or go to HERE to find out more.

Come talk with TASC this Senior’s Month

This month is Seniors Month. TASC helps seniors with legal and advocacy services and will be attending both the Ipswich and Toowoomba Senior’s Expos again this year. We’d love it if you stop by for a chat!

TASC announced as Redress Scheme Support Service

TASC National, a community legal, advocacy and social justice organisation which services Toowoomba, the Darling Downs and Maranoa has been announced as the Redress Support Service for people in the region seeking support to engage with the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme).


Redress Support Services offer free, confidential, practical and emotional support to people applying, or considering applying to the Scheme.


The Scheme is in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated over 60,000 people in Australia have experienced such abuse.


TASC CEO, Frances Klaassen OAM said while the Scheme began on 1 July 2018, the recent announcement of TASC as a support service means engaging with the Scheme is now more accessible to the local community.


“The National Redress Scheme is an important step in gaining recognition, acknowledgement, support and healing for people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse and in holding institutions accountable,” she said.


The Scheme can provide access to counselling, a Redress payment, and the option to receive a direct personal response, such as an apology, from the responsible institution.


Delving into deeply personal and emotionally sensitive issues can be confronting. TASC understands this and has a focus on meeting each individual applicant’s need around how they can be best supported through their application process.


“Through our work in the community we understand accessing schemes like Redress is often difficult both from an emotional perspective as well as having to navigate complex systems,” she said.


“Using a person-centred approach for clients engaging with the Redress Scheme, our case workers will be there to provide support, information and advice based on a person’s circumstances so they’re able to make informed choices about which areas of Redress to pursue.”


“Clients can also choose whether to pause or progress their application at any stage,” she said.


Ms Klaassen said the scope of institutional child sexual abuse uncovered by the Royal Commission means people engaging with the Scheme will come from a wide cross section of the community.


“If you believe you’re eligible or know someone who might be eligible for redress but are unsure I would encourage you to talk with us or to visit our website to find out more information.”


For more information about the Scheme, eligibility and support services visit tascnational.org.au/redress or nationalredress.gov.au .

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