In early 2014, the current Australian Government announced that it was streamlining and simplifying its grant processes, which included those through the DSS portfolio that funded national disability peak representative organisations. As part of this broad and wide-ranging reform, the Australian Government advised that, reflecting the long held concerns of the disability sector in Australia, the model for national disability peak representation had been re-conceptualised and re-structured, and funding arrangements would be advertised through an open, public tender process.
The urgent need for this reform was hardly a new phenomenon. Over the past 20 years, there have been many, many ‘reviews’ of the Australian Government’s national disability peak representation model and funding arrangements. All of these Reviews have called for the creation of a new funding model that better represents the realities, experiences and complexities of the lives of people with disabilities, that better reflects both community and Government needs, that is more logical and easier to function and administer, and that reduces duplication and inefficiency.
The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) contributed this brief Submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry “Impact on service quality, efficiency and sustainability of recent Commonwealth community service tendering processes by the Department of Social Services”. The submission aims to give a brief background and context to the history and evidence base underling the need for reform of the Australian Government’s national disability peak representation model and funding arrangements.