The Morrison Government has today announced the organisations successful in securing funding for free and independent support services for people engaging with the Disability Royal Commission.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said almost $140 million would be invested in advocacy and counselling support, as well as legal assistance services.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to access support if they choose to participate in the Disability Royal Commission at any point over the next three years,” Minister Ruston said.
“This funding includes $7.35 million for key disability representative organisations to address systemic barriers for people affected by the Disability Royal Commission.
“Ten state-based counselling organisations will also receive $27.70 million over three years to deliver in-person counselling, for those who need more support.”
Counselling and advocacy providers are attending a workshop in Melbourne today to discuss supports for people engaging with the Disability Royal Commission.
“It is encouraging to see service providers working together to ensure people get the support they need,” Minister Ruston said.
“We are also currently looking at ways to strengthen supports for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability and their communities.”
The National Counselling and Referral Service established recently by Blue Knot Foundation has already received over 300 calls.
Blue Knot Foundation president Dr Cathy Kezelman AM said it was encouraging that people were accessing the free, independent and trauma-informed supports.
“Making a decision to tell your story for a formal inquiry can be daunting so discussing your personal situation with an experienced practitioner or asking them to connect you with the right services is a great first step in the process.” Dr Kezelman said.
Disability Advocacy Network Australia chief executive Mary Mallett said all providers agree they must work together to make sure supports are as seamless as possible.
“Whether you are an advocate, a counsellor or a legal representative, we all want the same thing and that’s to ensure maximum accessibility for people with disability who want to engage with this process,” Ms Mallett said.
For counselling support or to be referred to other support services, contact the National Counselling and Referral Service on 1800 421 468 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm AEDT Saturday to Sunday 9am to 5pm AEDT.
Interpreter are available for support in other languages when contacting the service.
People who are deaf, hard of hearing and/or have a speech impairment can contact the service through the National Relay Service (NRS) on 133 677.