ADACAS CEO Michael Bleasdale, Advocate for AFI Jamelle Boettcher, and ACT Disability Minister Suzanna Orr at Friday’s announcement.

The disability sector welcomed ACT Government funding on Friday 26 June, to help ease Canberrans with disability out of isolation.

ACT Disability Minister Suzanne Orr announced the first phase of funding, which follows the release of the ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy.

ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) CEO Michael Bleasdale said the funding would go a long way in the disability sector, after its clients had struggled during the pandemic.

“I think like everyone else, people with disability have been really anxious about the potential for infection.

“People have been feeling isolated and not necessarily been getting the same level of support – that is in community inclusion.

“What we are concerned about is what we aren’t aware of behind closed doors. We are concerned now that restrictions are easing there may be instances of things like domestic violence that have been going on,” he said.

The funding includes $110,000 allocated to ADACAS, Advocacy for Inclusion (AFI) to provide individual health advocacy for people with a disability and $110,000 for National Disability Services to be a point of contact in the ACT disability sector.

Mr Bleasdale said the funding was important for organisations such as ADACAS and AFI, especially during a time when their clients were potentially neglecting health issues.

“In preparation for people who may have been suppressing health issues while they were isolated, it’s great that they will have assistance addressing those coming out of it,” he said.

“Health systems are quite complicated, and they rely a lot on communication so some things can fall down there, they feel like they aren’t listened to and then it’s complicated when there are multiple health providers involved.”

Minister Orr said she was pleased the funding would be available to help provide support for people with disability and their families.

“This funding will ensure that people with disability and the disability sector are provided with timely, sensitive and appropriate information and support during this time of ongoing uncertainty,” she said.  

“We will continue to listen to the needs and experiences of people with disability in our community, which will inform the second phase of funding under the Strategy.  This support will assist people with disability, their families and their carers to be included, safe and healthy as our community begins to come back together.”

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