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Ombudsman report shows Aboriginal people in remote communities disadvantaged by new approach to DSP

A Commonwealth Ombudsman report on struggles experienced by remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people trying to access the Disability Support Pension (DSP) demonstrates how flawed the process has been that has effectively excluded vulnerable members of the community.

“The report that details the impacts on Aboriginal people with disability in remote communities makes for a distressing read and highlights just how unfair the application processes can be. It would be good for Tony Abbott to have a read through this report which details the struggles of people with disability accessing DSP before he continues to portray them as people with ‘a bad back and a bit of depression’.

“To read there was a 64 year old Aboriginal man that had done only manual labour his whole life and had lost one eye, his lymph nodes, most of his upper jaw, his nasal cavity, was mostly in a wheelchair, could not drink or eat, and had severe restricted breathing, but was denied DSP, truly beggars belief. I note that this is after a doctor had reported that this condition was expected to last beyond two years.

“As the Government continues its ongoing attack on eligibility for the DSP for the Government coffers, these instances are likely to become more frequent. When you tighten criteria and worsen bureaucracy, it is the most vulnerable that suffer the most.

“I understand the department agrees with and has already started implementing the majority of the recommendations made in the report but there must be monitoring and evaluation of these changes and more broadly the Government must stop its attack on DSP recipients”.

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