Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 54..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
respite report has identified a set of principles as a guide to reform in the provision of respite care services. The principles identified are, firstly, that the system should foster and encourage independence and sustainable relationships; secondly, that services and policies should be consumer and carer focused; thirdly, that service delivery should be integrated and coordinated; fourthly, that services and policies should be flexible enough to meet people's real needs; and, fifthly, that the quantity of services available must be sufficient to meet the need of carers and consumers.
The government is supportive of these principles in guiding reform and meeting respite care needs in our community. These principles are consistent with those that have been identified in the ACT government's caring for carers policy recently released by my colleague Mr Wood. In undertaking the respite report, the government was seeking to have a strong evidence base to guide policy and service delivery responses in respite care.
The consultancy found there was a lack of quantitative information on the level of service usage and unmet need in respite care, as well as highlighting a number of deficiencies in the provision of quality respite care in the following areas: appropriateness of models of care relative to the needs of carers and families; skills and training of the work force; fragmentation of respite services across funding bodies; community sector and mainstream services; the need for adequate data collections to demonstrate need; and access issues for carers of specific client groups, including people with a mental illness, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with behavioural problems and substance abuse problems and people for whom a medical diagnosis is yet to be given.
I am pleased to reaffirm that in the 2002-03 budget the government committed $1 million per annum for additional respite care services. This funding has been used for additional family support, respite care packages, carers of people and children of parents with a mental illness, reducing the fragmentation of respite services and pilot projects. Based on the findings of the report and the pilots commenced in 2002-03, the government will now focus on establishing innovative and flexible respite and support services for carers of people with challenging behaviours; supporting work force development in the respite sector; continuation of work through ACT Health and the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services to improve service coordination and access; an evaluation of the flexible family support pilots to demonstrate their effectiveness in meeting the holistic needs of families which enable them to sustain their caring relationships; and additional work around data collection to inform decision making and service funding through evidence.
Funding available in 2003-04 from the respite care budget initiative will assist the government in addressing these issues and moving towards a sustainable and innovative approach to supporting carers and people receiving care. Funding will be allocated to: a tender for innovative models of respite; research on models of best practice respite; work force training; a centralised respite booking and assessment system; and a project for data development. I commend the government response to the Assembly.
Mr Corbell presented the following papers: