Five disability advocacy organisations have joined forces to win the first competitive tender for government funding to offer policy advice.
Source:
6 Feb 2015 - 3:46 AM  UPDATED 6 Feb 2015 - 5:50 AM

People with disabilities will be represented in government policy-making by five advocacy groups, under new funding arrangements.

Dozens of community service groups, including 10 peak disability organisations, learnt just before Christmas they would no longer receive federal government contracts from June 30, 2015.

Assistant Social Services Minister Mitch Fifield on Friday announced a new cross-disability alliance had won a competitive tender for two years of funding to advise government on policy.

The alliance of People with Disability Australia, Children with Disability Australia, First Peoples Disability Network Australia, National Ethnic Disability Alliance and Women with Disability Australia covers the whole gamut of disabilities.

Each group will get up to $300,000 a year.

Separately, National Disability Services will get funding to represent service providers.

PWDA president Craig Wallace said the new alliance of organisations offered people with disabilities a more coherent and comprehensive say in policy-making.

"We are at a crossroad for disability rights and it is right for us to come together at this vital time," he said in a statement.

Previously, funding was stretched across a wide range of groups, which Senator Fifield said resulted in fragmented and unco-ordinated advice.

It was the sector's calls for reform that led to the government running the competitive process for the first time, he said.

However, those groups which missed out on funding are likely to be disappointed with the result.