Recent Activities

August 2011

Disability and Ageing Inquiry Summary

Rashmi Kumar and Christine Regan, Members of the Futures Alliance have kindly provided summaries of the Senate Disability and Ageing inquiry report and the Productivity Commission into Disability Care and Support

July 2011

Futures Alliance Media Release 

Senate report into Disability and Ageing identifies significant barriers to lifelong planning for people with disability who are ageing and their carers.

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee’ report into Disability and Ageing: Lifelong Planning for a better future, released 7 July, has identified that people with disability who are ageing, and their carers  face significant barriers, compared to those without disability, when planning for the long-term future.

This report examines the planning options and services available now and in the future to assist people with a disability, and their carers, plan for the long-term. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures (2009) quoted in the report estimate that 4 million or 18.5 per cent of Australians have some form of disability and that there were 2,632,100 carers who provide regular or sustained care to another person (12.2 per cent).

Jo-Anne Hewitt, chair of the Futures Alliance, supports the report’s recommendations to establish guidelines that would represent the beginning of an integrated and coordinated national approach to planning for people with disabilities and their families.

The Futures Alliance is the only issues based alliance in Australia. It brings together community representatives from disability and aged care sectors, people with disability and their families, academics and peak bodies aiming to remove boundaries and to maximise community resources, delivering improved options for people with disability who are ageing.

The Future’s Alliance has developed a ‘Blue Print on Ageing and Disability’ providing its recommendations to Governments, service providers, communities and families for how to better meet the ageing needs of people with disability who are ageing and their carers.

“One of the main outcomes from this report is a recognition of the need for changes in policy and practice that allow people the opportunity to plan ahead,” said Jo-Anne. “Currently if someone uses a disability service they are unable to receive supplementary services from the aged care system, meaning their additional needs due to ageing will not be met.”

“This report supports our recommendations that people with a disability are recognised as a special group who may age earlier than other members of the population and therefore should have access to aged care services at an earlier age,” she said. “This will play a significant part in helping families plan for and accommodate the needs of family members with disability.”

The Inquiry’s report identifies the limited choice about services, substantial unmet need and significant underinvestment in housing. Maureen Hemsworth who cares for her brother, Owen Cameron, agrees that these issues limit families’ abilities to plan for their loved ones. Owen, who is 61 and has significant intellectual disability, currently lives on his own but is requiring additional support to do so as he gets older.

”People with a disability who are ageing deserve the same choices that reflect the range of options available to other people as they age - choice and control over where they live , and adequate resources and supports to remain active into retirement and beyond,” said Maureen. “It is a grave concern that, due to the lack of a comprehensively planned system, people have no other option but early entry into residential aged care.”

“Families need certainty for the future,” she said. “For some people planning might mean a need for supported accommodation or housing and the report clearly identifies that this is a current issue that is not being met.”

Matt Donnelly, chief executive of leading disability service provider, Ability Options, which is an active member of the Futures Alliance, welcomes the Inquiry’s recommendations for the establishment of and funding to provide better information services and formal planning support services to help people with disability and their families as these people move from education to employment or employment to retirement. His organisation is currently planning a number of self-funded initiatives to assist people supported as their needs change.

“This report addresses issues and key objectives that we have been actively seeking to be resolved for a number of years such as the lack of services available to help people with disability plan for their future” said Matt. “We welcome the report’s recommendations for recurrent funding opportunities that would assist us provide such programs on an ongoing basis to the people we support.”

This Inquiry report is one of many current government investigations that are calling for better choice and support for people with disability, including the Productivity Commission’s draft report into long term care support for people with disability (which is proposing a National Disability Insurance Scheme) and its Caring for Older Australians draft report (final reports due at the end of July), as well as the Health reform agreement. The Futures Alliance believes that it is up to Governments, service providers and the community need to use this information and work together to create a sustainable health and support system for people with disabilities and older people into the future.

The Futures Alliance’s full blueprint on Ageing can be found on its blogspot at


For more information, or to arrange further interviews, please contact:

Alissa Crawford
Communication Coordinator - Ability Options
0414 710 254 or

May 2011

Response to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Disability Care and Support Draft Report

The Futures Alliance congratulated the Productivity Commission on the comprehensive draft report into Disability Care and Support and endorsed the  principles contained in the report, in particular the recommendation for the adoption of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Alliance also urged the Commission to pay particular attention to some key areas:

  • Funding Options
  • Service Delivery
  • National Policy
  • Assessment
  • Co-Contribution
  • Advocacy
  • Disability and Aged Care Interface

To read the full response visit:

Members of the Futures Alliance recently presented at the
 2011 NSW HACC & Community Care Conference. 

To view this presentation visit:

March 2011

The Futures Alliance submitted a response to the Draft Report into Caring for Older Australians

The Futures Alliance has identified the need for greater articulation of the relationship of the recommendations of this report to its implications for, and impact on the needs of people with a disability who are ageing.

Read it here:

December 2010

Members of the Futures Alliance met with Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disability in December 2010. 

Alliance Members discussed the Blue Print, health care issues and unmet need.

Senator McLucas was asked to raise these issues with colleague Mark Butler (Minister Mental Health & Ageing). 

The Futures Alliance will meet again with the Senator in 2011. 


Senator McLucas, centre,  is presented with a copy of the Futures Alliance Blue Print. 

Pictured left to right:
Mike Blaszczyk,  Aine Healy, Senator McLucas, Chris Campbell, 
Ed McNamara  & Jo-Anne Hewitt

August 2010

Submission to the NSW Parliament's Legislative Council's Standing Committee on Social Issues Inquiry into services provided or funded by the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care.

This can be viewed at:

The Futures Alliance was also invited to present evidence at the hearings for this inquiry.

The full transcript can be read here:

May 2010 

Submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into Planning Options and Services for People Ageing with a Disability.

This consisted of the Futures Alliance Blue Print and Briefing Paper.

These can be viewed at:

The`Futures Alliance submission is Number 16

April 2010

Conference Presentation:

"Opportunity for innovation or 'hitting the brick wall'? Issues in ageing with a lifelong disability" at the National Disability Services Accommodation  & Social Participation Conference 2010

Presented by Jo-Anne Hewitt, UnitingCare Disability on behalf of Futures Alliance

Presentation can be viewed at:

Research Project