Disability aid budget stagnates while COVID-19 rampages

Covid-19, Media-release, Stories | May 11, 2021

Leading disability-inclusive international development agency, CBM Australia is appalled that the Federal Government has failed to restore core funds for people with disabilities in tonight’s aid budget.

CBM has joined peak body, the Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC), in describing the move as lacking compassion from a government that has promised to protect and prioritise the most vulnerable.

CBM CEO Jane Edge said the COVID-19 pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on people with disabilities.

“This is a defining moral challenge of our generation,” Ms Edge said. “It is horrific. People with disabilities are dying at higher rates, they are going hungry, they are without access to medical care and are being pushed into deeper poverty.”

“Immediate strategic and financial intervention for people with disabilities is desperately needed to reduce widening inequalities. This goes to the heart of social justice and who we are as a nation. 

CBM is continuing to call for the Government to put a clear focus on disability inclusion in their COVID-19 response, including specific funding, and to increase the central disability allocation to a minimum of $14m per annum.

Ms Edge said the dwindling central allocation alongside reduced resources for disability inclusion across the entire aid program was excluding people with disabilities from the planning and recovery efforts.

The central allocation funds vital work in partnerships, capacity development and technical expertise.

“Australian aid should represent not just our economic might, but our clearly-defined values. Ours is a country that was among the first to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and it led the way by introducing the world’s first strategy for disability-inclusive international development.”

“The Government must now commit adequate funding to ensure that people with disabilities are consulted and included in all aspects of Australia’s international COVID-19 response and recovery”, Ms Edge said.

Jane Edge is Chief Executive Officer of CBM Australia and Vice President (Finance) of the Board of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).

For media, contact Emma Hipango on EHipango@cbm.org.au

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