The DSP: A Platform for Participation?

Front cover of CSSV submission

Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) has written a submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the purpose, intent and adequacy of the Disability Support Pension.

Our submission aims to complement the submissions written for this inquiry by organisations such as Catholic Social Services Australia and the National Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society, who both have broad knowledge of the support given and issues seen by Catholic social services and communities throughout Australia.

The content is derived largely from consultation with a number of our Victorian member organisations who are engaged in focused care, support, provision of accommodation and advocacy for people with a disability, including those experiencing mental illness. We are particularly grateful to Sacred Heart Mission, St John of God Accord, The St Vincent de Paul Society and VMCH for generously assisting us with particular expertise and data to inform this submission. 

In the submission, CSSV strongly affirms all efforts to improve both quality and quantity of personal, familial and systemic supports so that those with disabilities can express their God-given dignity and rights and ‘be helped to participate in every dimension of family and social life at every level accessible to them and according to their possibilities.”  This is broader than just providing charity and services.  It requires society to ensure access to and participation in a full community life. 

We outline a number of recommendations, including:

  • The Disability Support Pension be considered as a responsive financial base that someone can live reasonably from, that works in the context of other additional supports made available depending on the particular impairment of an individual.
  • The Government set fair and reasonable DSP eligibility requirements and fast processes that take into account the complexity of individuals’ situations, comorbidities and impairments, and generally better reflect the complexity of fluctuating conditions or illnesses, rapid onset of disease, and injury from accidents.
  • The Government invest, alongside other employers, in programs which can assist in making workplaces accessible and the barriers to employment for people with disabilities reduced as far as possible. Overt incentives and financial support made available for employers to assist in addressing structural adaption and addressing workplace culture to ensure attitudes of inclusion are normalised.

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