Across the country, people are throwing their support behind our campaign to establish a National Assistive Technology program.
The Assistive Technology for All Alliance is asking the Australian Government to set up a program to cover people with disability who do not qualify for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Most of those not covered by the NDIS are over 65, but about 800,000 people under 65 also fall outside the scheme.
The Assistive Technology for All campaign kicked off at the end of February. Media coverage of the launch told the stories of Lyn Bates and Peter Willocks, who are living with post-polio syndrome.
Assistive technology helps people with disability perform everyday tasks safely and independently. This list of assistive technologies is wide and varied but includes specialised computer software; mobility aids such as wheelchairs; electronic communication devices and prosthetic aids.
‘It makes economic sense to provide all people with disability with access to assistive technology when they need it,’ said Campaign Coordinator and COTA Victoria Policy Officer, Lauren Henley.
Assistive technology allows people with disabilities to stay engaged. It benefits our communities, too. In 2018, the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) found that investing more money in assistive technology would help to reduce health and aged care budgets. Timely access to assistive technology would:
- cut the need for visits to the doctor
- cut the demand for home care services
- cut hospital admissions
- delay entry to residential care.
‘Most people who fall outside the NDIS are over 65,’ said Lauren.
‘They have to negotiate a complex network of funding, which covers not-for-profits and state and federal governments. Even if they find their way through the maze, existing funding isn’t adequate.’