Advocacy Tasmania Inc. (ATI) is an independent, non-government organisation that has provided advocacy services across Tasmania since 1990. The ATI team comprises members of the Board of Management, staff, volunteers and members who act separately and jointly to progress the interests of our clients at an individual and systems level.
We work to promote and protect the rights and interests of our clients. We provide a free, independent and statewide 'Your Say' advocacy service to people with disability, older people, people living with mental illness and people who use, or have used, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, their carers and family. In addition, ATI takes a leadership role in advocating for systemic change on issues affecting our client groups.
ATI's service is free, confidential and State-wide.
Newsletter 7 now online
Newsletter 7 for December 2015 can now be found on our publications page.
Annual Report 2014-2015 and Looking to the horizon and back
To celebrate its 25th Anniversary this year, Advocacy Tasmania commissioned a history to be written by author Anne Collins. The history was launched by the Minister for Human Services, Jacquie Petrusma, at ATI's AGM on 12 November. The history and this year's Annual Report can be found on our publications page.
Senate Inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings
The Australian Senate in currently undertaking an inquiry into violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings.
Through our individual advocacy work, we have witnessed the terrible consequences that abuse and neglect can have on people with disability. We have also seen the way that responses to allegations of abuse and neglect can worsen the impacts of the abuse and neglect, and leave people feeling powerless, without the means to escape.
We continue to advocate for there to be zero tolerance of, and greater awareness of, abuse and neglect, so that it cannot occur out of sight. We also advocate for the establishment and promotion of effective and independent complaint bodies and access to independent protections, such as community visitors schemes and independent advocacy services.
View our full submission to the inquiry here, where it is number 97.
National Disability Advocacy Framework Consultation
Advocacy Tasmania Inc. recently contributed to the review of the National Disability Advocacy Framework. The contribution reflects our guiding belief that people with disability are their own experts and that their strengths, choices, voice and leadership ought to be clearly reflected in the National Disability Advocacy Framework. We look forward to continuing to support people with disability to exercise maximum choice and control over their lives alongside the full National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout from July 2016.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Monday 15th June 2015
Monday 15th June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day to promote respect and dignity for older people, and a day to wear purple – the internationally recognised colour for raising awareness of elder abuse.
Advocacy Tasmania is supporting the WEAAD events that have been organised by COTA Tasmania (Council on the Ageing) for 15th June and the workshops that will follow at later dates.
Parliament House in Hobart, Launceston Town Hall and the Makers Workshop in Burnie will be lit up in purple on 15th June to raise awareness of this important issue.
Inaugural "Stand Up: Walks Against Elder Abuse" will be held in Hobart and Burnie prior to the official lighting of the public buildings.
Public Workshops to provide information on legal matters affecting older people, such as powers of attorney and advanced care directives, will be held in Hobart (16th June), Launceston (17th June) and Burnie (23rd June). Advocacy Tasmania staff will speak at the workshops about the role of the Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline which we operate.
For more information on events in Burnie, Hobart, and Launceston, see the flyers available for download from our publications page.
ATI Annual Report 2013-14
Our Annual Report for the 2013-14 financial year is now available for download from our publications page.
Report calls for end to financial hardship for disadvantaged Tasmanians subject to financial administration orders
A report to be released during Anti-Poverty Week highlights that persons with a decision-making impairment whose funds are administered by the Public Trustee of Tasmania are charged almost $1500.00 per annum for a service that the overwhelming majority of other states or territories provide either free of charge or for a nominal fee.
The report's authors are hopeful that the report will lead to reform of the Public Trustee’s fee structure so that the service is provided in a manner that does not create hardship.
According to Benedict Bartl, Community Legal Centres spokesperson:
We are very concerned that the Public Trustee is charging almost $1500 per year for a service that the overwhelming majority of Australian jurisdictions provide either free of charge or for a nominal fee. We call on this Government to recognize the hardship caused by fixing the anomaly and ensuring financial peace of mind to some of Tasmania’s most financially disadvantaged.
The report entitled The Public Trustee and a Fair and Proportionate Fee Structure for Represented Persons finds that disability support pensioners subject to Guardianship and Administration Orders are charged 7.4% or $1476.45 of their pension in Public Trustee fees and charges. As a result some are required to forego essential items such as food, electricity and safe housing. Life on a pension is difficult enough. People should not have to pay for a function that the rest of us take for granted, i.e. the management of our funds on a day-to day basis. Where people with limited means need help with this it should be provided free.
According to Ken Hardaker, CEO of Advocacy Tasmania Inc:
The significant hardship caused by the Public Trustee's fee structure has been a recurring theme for many of our clients for over a decade. As the owner of the Public Trustee, the government can reduce the hardship encountered by our clients by directing that the Public Trustee provide a free service to persons subject to financial administrative orders.
You can read the full report by downloading it from the papers section of our publications page.
The NDIS and Your Rights – New Website
Advocacy Tasmania welcomes the launch of a new website called NDIS Rights. Developed by the Fitzroy Legal Service, the Redfern Legal Centre and the Hobart Community Legal Service, the website features a set of fact sheets which detail aspects of the NDIS legislation and the rights of those participating in the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Some of the topics are: advocacy, eligibility, needs assessment, dealing with service providers and access to information. A link to the site is provided in our list of useful disability-related websites.
The Advocacy Tasmania Inc. Annual General Meeting will be held at 2pm at Rydges, North Hobart, on Thursday 16th October 2014. View the agenda here.
ATI is supporting the "Racism. It Stops with Me" campaign.
Advocacy Tasmania has signed up as an official campaign supporter for the Racism. It Stops with Me Campaign which is being run by the Australian Human Rights Commission. ATI believes strongly in all of us working to create an inclusive and harmonious society where all people are treated with respect and dignity. This campaign is making an important contribution to achieving this goal and should be supported by all Australians whatever their backgrounds (David Pearce OAM, ATI President). Visit the campaign website.
Briefing paper on long term supported accommodation
Advocacy Tasmania has contribured to a briefing paper on the long term supported accommodation situation for Mental Health Consumers. For more information, go to our Systemic Advocacy page.
ATI Position Paper on the Tasmanian Opioid Pharmacotherapy Program
Advocacy Tasmania has just completed a Position Paper on the Tasmanian Opioid Pharmacotherapy Program (TOPP). The paper draws extensively on a survey conducted by ATI of service users' experiences of the TOPP. For more information, go to our systemic advocacy page.
Disability Advocacy Video
One of ATI's funding bodies, the Australian Government's National Disability Advocacy Program, has produced a DVD about advocacy for people with disabilities. The purpose of the DVD is to ensure that people with disability, their families and carers have access to information that will assist them to be more aware of the role that disability advocacy can play in their lives, the responsibilities of advocacy organisations and how to access advocacy support. It contains information about the six advocacy models funded by NDAP and includes stories told by people with disability, who have benefited from advocacy support, and the advocates who have worked with them. The video can be watched below, and can also be navigated in chapters on YouTube.
Mental Health Tribunal Representation Scheme eLearning program now online.
ATI's MHTRS eLearning Program is a free, on-line, self-paced program which has been developed by ATI.
View the overview to access the package.
New Mental Health Act
Tasmania's new Mental Health Act 2013 commenced on Monday 17 February 2014. If you would like to know more, follow this link to the website for the Act.
ATI Budget Priority Statement for 2014-15.
Advocacy Tasmania has recently completed its Budget Priority Statement (BPS). Each year the State Government asks for submissions from the community as to what issues it should include in its budget for the following financial year. In this case it is the 2014/15 year.
ATI's BPS has recently been submitted to the Government and it makes the following recommendations.
Summary of recommendations
The Tasmanian Government recommits to the funding of the Elder Abuse Strategy for a further three years at the current level with the following additions:
- An increase of $20,000 for the operation of the TEAHL (total funds $140,000)
- An increase of $20,000 for TV advertisements related to the TEAHL (total funds $80,000)
- Additional funds of $15,000 for supplementary promotional material
- Additional funds of $100,000 over the next three years to incorporate the COTA peer education program into the funded strategy.
The Tasmanian Government honours its commitment in the current strategy by appointing a project officer and commencing regional interagency groups as a matter of urgency.
The Tasmanian Government should provide an immediate injection of $277,000 to the Public Trustee to assist with fee subsidisation for low income clients who are currently on mandatory orders.
A review of the fee structure should be conducted to inform future decisions on the amount of recurrent funding required for fee subsidisation for low income clients on mandatory orders.
Funding for an additional 2.2FTE Mental Health Advocacy positions be provided to Advocacy Tasmania on a recurrent basis. Total estimated cost $270,000 p.a. (subject to annual review and indexation).
The Mental Health Tribunal is provided with additional funding of $500,000 p.a.
The Tasmanian Government increases the funding to the MHTRS by 50%. Total cost $100,000 p.a. over a period of three years (subject to review and indexation).
Additional funding, equivalent to the amount previously expended by Mental Health Services through its centralised register, be allocated to Flourish annually for the specific purpose of covering sitting fees, administration and training related costs for consumers who participate in organisational development roles across the Tasmanian mental health sector.
An estimated additional $15,000 should be allocated as a one-off grant to Flourish to enable the design and implementation of regional and statewide peer consumer training sessions (and production of related materials) to ensure optimal understanding of the implications of the Mental Health Act 2012.
- That the government investigate the way in which other states and territories have provided long-term supported housing for people with severe psychosocial disability.
- That appropriate housing for this cohort be placed on the Capital Funding list because although they will eventually be provided support through the NDIS, there is currently insufficient and inadequate housing for this group.
- That a roll-out of housing provision for this group be trialled in the southern region with provision for 30 people. This could be placed within community housing projects being currently rolled out.
Recurrent funding to Advocacy Tasmania, Speak Out Tasmania and the Association for Children with Disabilities to provide proactive advocacy support to Tasmanians impacted by transitions in disability service delivery should be based on current unmet need, projected roles arising from the transition to the NDIS, and the ongoing requirement that advocacy organisations have an appropriate mix of Commonwealth and State funding to ensure independence. (Estimated additional cost for 2013-14: $240,000; out-years: dependent on full implementation of unit costing.)
Funding should be provided for the development of a disability consumer organisation to ensure that any such group can contribute to quality assurance and quality improvement processes across the Tasmanian disability sector. Total estimated cost 2014-15 $170,000 (subject to review and indexation).
Funding should be provided for the development of an ATOD consumer organisation to ensure that any such group can contribute to quality assurance and quality improvement processes across the Tasmanian ATOD sector. Total estimated cost 2014-15 $170,000 (subject to review and indexation).
The Tasmanian Government undertakes research on the impact of dispensing fees on consumers and the potential for the introduction of appropriate hardship provisions.
You can read the full BPS in the submissions section of our Publications page.
ATI Annual Report for 2012-13.
Our Annual Report for the 2012-13 financial year is now available for download fromt the reports section on our Publications page.
ATI submission to the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Bill 2013 Consultation October 2013.
We recently completed our submission to the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Bill 2013 Consultation October 2013. The submission is available from the ATI papers / submissions section on our Publications page.
ATI funded for External Merits Review Support.
Advocacy Tasmania has been funded to provide External Merits Review Support to people seeking an external review of decisions made by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA); the agency was formerly called DisabilityCare Australia. External Merits Review is part of the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Tasmania, which is a launch site for people with disabilities aged 15 to 24 years. More information is now available from the disability section on our publications page.