The Budget boosts to frontline disability services funding will be welcomed by providers, but the question remains whether these will deliver actual service increase or be expected to cover the rising costs that disability providers face, says New Zealand Disability Services Network CEO Peter Reynolds.
Budget 2022 establishes the funding stream for the new Ministry for Disabled People, which the sector has welcomed, with $176m a year in increases for frontline services. However, general wages pressures and pay equity agreements will consume most of this funding, unless separate money is provided.
“We acknowledge that is a significant boost in funding for frontline service but, right now, disability providers are facing a workforce crunch like never before. We want to pay our workers more and are working with unions on the pay equity issue. However, we can afford to do is ultimately determined by what funding the Government delivers,” said Mr Reynolds.
“The Budget boost will only result in better services for more disabled people if there is additional money on top for the pay equity settlement and any other wage increases.
“Our workers will welcome the temporary cost of living payment through these high inflationary times, but there will need to be funding to enable disability providers to afford permanent pay boosts,” said Mr Reynolds.