09/12/2020 | Michelle Lensink MLC | Better Services

Uniting Communities will deliver a new, state-wide advocacy service to ensure vulnerable South Australians with disability can access and receive the supports they need.

The advocacy service is a key recommendation from the recent Safeguarding Task Force and has been introduced swiftly by the Marshall Liberal Government.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the new service will receive $1.2 million over three years and will start operating this month.

“The NDIS can be challenging to navigate and this advocacy program will help South Australians who are struggling to get the support they need,” said Minister Lensink.

“The Safeguarding Task Force found that people with disabilities don’t always receive adequate support to understand the NDIS and pursue their rights.

“The Marshall Liberal Government listened and acted swiftly, committing $1.2 million for a state-wide advocacy service to support people as the NDIS evolves.

“This is the first-time individual advocacy funding has been provided by the State Government since 2007, when the former Labor Government defunded it as a cost saving measure.

“This critical service will be available this month and will provide legal representation for people to challenge NDIS decisions, as well as educating and empowering people with disability to advocate for themselves.

“We are committed to continuing to do everything we can to address the barriers facing people with disability.”

Uniting Communities was selected via a competitive tender process.

Uniting Communities Senior Manager Sarah Watson said the advocacy service will be highly respectful and accessible.

“This service will give people practical help and real confidence knowing that someone is in their corner, advocating for their needs,” said Ms Watson.

The State Government accepted all seven safeguarding taskforce recommendations – and all have been actioned or completed.

Other actions include committing an additional $600,000 to continue the work of the Disability Advocate Dr David Caudrey and expanding the Adult Safeguarding Unit so that its scope now includes vulnerable adults of any age.