What We Know

Additional funding, consistent frameworks, and increased opportunities to collaborate on systemic issues, are just some of the key issues we know so far. 

Resoundingly, we have heard from DANA members over many years that adequate, secure funding is essential to develop and strengthen the sector so that it can meet the needs of people with disability. Significant government investment is vital to the achievement of all elements of the National Disability Advocacy Framework objectives and the Disability Advocacy Work Plan.

Organisational needs we have heard frequently from the sector:   

Funding and financial support:  

  • Increased funding to meet demand and need 
  • Timely indexation of grant amounts  
  • Longer term funding contracts, e.g. 5 years  
  • Enhanced flexibility of funding agreements to respond to local, place based circumstances (including freedom to determine the proportion of funding to be directed to providing the different models of advocacy or towards service systems administered by other levels of government)  

Organisational support and development:  

  • Support with organisational policies and procedures and governance, especially for smaller organisations  
  • Improved technology and systems  

Measurement and analysis: 

  • Consistent frameworks and guidance to report, measure and analyse advocacy outcomes (including through DEX and alignment across jurisdictions) 
  • Consistent frameworks to measure, evidence and analyse the unmet demand and need 

Advocacy training and resources: 

  • Resourcing for training and professional development 
  • Tools, resources and tailored approaches for proactive outreach to population groups who may find advocacy hard to access 

Collaboration and recognition  

  • Increased opportunity to collaborate with other organisations on systemic issues 
  • Increased recognition and respect from service providers and from government agencies  

Inclusion and participation  

  • Resources to support the inclusion and involvement of people with disability in decision making, co-design of policies and processes and governance of the organisation 

Sector development and support:  

Although valuable work is being done in some jurisdictions and segments of the sector through state and territory networks, DANA and the NCDA and entities such as QIDAN (QLD) and DARU (VIC), there needs to be more dedicated funding and support for the sector to engage in these activities to enhance advocacy practice, build capabilities, and enable networking and effective sharing of expertise across the sector, including between individual and systemic advocates.  

Workforce needs:   

To strengthen the workforce the sector needs certainty and conditions and rates of pay to attract and retain skilled advocates and other staff with the relevant values, experience and commitment. DANA has also heard about the need for more resourcing and staff time to undertake training, internal debriefing, counselling and external supervision.   

Towards a strong and sustainable independent disability advocacy sector

Organisations need funding to be increased to:  

  • cover the operational costs of delivering accessible high quality advocacy support, whether at individual, group or systemic levels.  
  • meet needs and cover additional costs for organisations delivering advocacy: 
  • for specific groups (including demographic diversity and types of disability) 
  • in rural, remote and very remote areas  
  • in complex matters  
  • for people experiencing intersectional disadvantage 
  • through proactive outreach to identify need in closed settings, or contexts where people are experiencing neglect, violence or isolation)    
  • enable long term organisational planning and development through longer contracts and timely indexation.  
  • build strong data capabilities to evidence their impact and consistently track their capacity to meet demand and need 

The sector as a whole needs an effective funding model to:  

  • be responsive to increases in demand and need (through consistent streamlined mechanisms to evidence changes in the volume of unmet demand around Australia)    
  • guide allocation of increased resourcing to expand and strengthen the sector where there are geographic or demographic gaps in availability of advocacy  
  • enable sector planning and strengthening through assured funding security, including through clear commitments and coordination across Federal and State and Territory levels of government 
  • include an emergency/disaster response and crisis fund to meet sudden and unexpected surges in demand and need. 
  • equip and train a highly skilled, well-supported workforce  
  • support the development of advocacy practice, networking and collaboration (including through expanded access to sector support and training through NCDA webinars and portal)   
  • strengthen mechanisms to elevate, connect and support advocacy at both individual and systemic levels  
  • expand and open up NDAP funding to relevant independent advocacy organisations only receiving state and territory funding 

This is intended as a concise high-level summary of key themes that DANA has heard from member organisations over many years – if you have any feedback or thoughts, please reach out to our Policy and Advocacy team.