2024 Federal Budget: Small steps to deliver significant, sustainable change

Media-release | May 16, 2024

Australian Disability and Development Consortium (ADDC) and CBM Australia acknowledge the Federal Government’s announcement of an increase to the central disability allocation within Australia’s Official Development Assistance from $12.9m to $14m in the 2024 Federal Budget. 

The increase of $1.1m will provide welcome support for new initiatives to increase access to assistive technology for children with disabilities across the Pacific. 

The central disability allocation, which the Budget renamed as the ‘Disability Inclusive Development Fund’, represents a small but crucial investment to enable delivery on disability equity across the development program.  

“This increase represented a long-awaited, much needed lift to resourcing on disability equity and rights in our region”, said CBM Australia’s CEO, Jane Edge. 

Funding for the Disability Inclusive Development Fund has been largely stagnant for a decade, with its real terms value declining by 20% over that period. CBM Australia, ADDC and our partners had called for the Disability Inclusive Development Fund to be increased to $20m in this budget. 

“The Budget announcement is an important first step in boosting Australia’s capacity to deliver change for people with disabilities throughout the development program”, Ms Edge said. “Assistive technology is a priority for Organisations of People with Disabilities across the Pacific, and this increased provision for support to children in this area is welcome.” 

Next steps toward disability equity and rights  

“This week’s Budget must be the start of a more systemic increases to investment and approaches on disability equity across the development program’, said Kerryn Clarke, Executive Officer of ADDC. “The forthcoming International Disability Equity and Rights strategy (IDEARS) is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australian to build a pathway to deliver significant, substantive and sustainable change for people with disabilities through the development program.” 

Ms Clarke said “We need to see significant additional investments in disability equity coming through country and regional plans, to be released later this year. Also crucial will be the establishment of instruments to embed resourcing and delivery on disability equity across the development program.” 

The International Development Policy, released in 2023, identified disability equity, gender equality and climate change as key areas for action across the development portfolio.  

However, disability equity is currently at odds with the other areas. All programs over $3m have a specific objective on gender equality and climate change, and targets for the performance of development programs are in place for both areas.  

According to the Government’s own reporting, only around half of development programs effectively address disability equity. A rapid and substantial response is needed. 

The recent Performance of Australian Development Cooperation report indicated a connection between the establishment of a requirement for a gender equality objective in programs over $3m and increases in both gender equality funding and anticipated program performance across the development program. 

The new strategy is a crucial opportunity to ensure people with disabilities can participate in development efforts and have the same opportunities to support themselves and their communities. 


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