Our six point election plan – The Greens respond
This Federal election Break the Sound Barrier has asked all major parties to commit to our six point election plan for better services and supports for people who are Deaf, have hearing loss or live with an ear or balance condition. Today The Greens were the first party to provide an official response.
Here’s what they said:
#1 Hearing checks for Australian children at key stages of life
The Greens have announced a $99.8m commitment to hearing health, including $15m annually for early evidence-based language and communication intervention for all children with hearing impairment prior to starting school. As part of this, the Greens will work to ensure that hearing checks are as widely available as possible, to ensure we can identify who may need extra support.
The Greens will also work through the Council of Australian Governments to ensure that hearing screenings and follow-ups are prioritised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children when they commence school.
#2 A national hearing awareness campaign
The Greens recognise the significant impact that hearing health has, particularly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The Greens have committed $5m for an exemplar multidisciplinary project to address incidence of otitis media and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Our $15m annual funding for a language and communication intervention will work to reach children across Australia, ensuring they understand the importance of caring for their hearing, promoting early detection and treatment of hearing loss.
#3 Improved accessibility for Auslan
#4: Universal access to hearing health checks every five years for people over 50
#5: making hearing devices tax deductible.
The Greens are concerned that while the NDIS is a significant improvement in providing disability services, there are many areas in which governments are cutting back supports. The Greens will work to identify how government can provide appropriate services to deaf and hearing impaired people, including the most effective way to ensure that the right interpretation services are available across different contexts, the best way to provide appropriate hearing checks for older Australians, and the appropriate tax treatment for hearing devices.
#6. Don’t let children fall through the gaps with changes to the way hearing services will be delivered in Australia
The Greens support the NDIS, but recognise that it involves a significant transition, and that it is crucial to ensure high quality supports continue to be available. The Greens recognise the risks associated with contestability in relation to access, expertise, quality, standards and client outcomes. We are deeply concerned about Government moves to sell Australian Hearing.
As part of our election platform, the Greens have committed $4m over two years to develop an accreditation scheme to identify clinicians with the ability to provide appropriate services for complex hearing rehabilitation needs. The Greens will continue to work with community members and advocacy groups to ensure that the NDIS drives greater choice and control for participants, but does not undercut the levels of quality support that is provided. We do not want to see children fall through the gaps.