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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 18 March 2010) . . Page.. 1130 ..

MS BURCH: I am not aware of additional people on top of those three, but I am not saying that that is a definitive response. Over the next few months, we will have a number of people transitioning into houses in Narrabundah and Ainslie that will afford them sustainable community living. The house in Narrabundah will accommodate four people who are transitioning out of residential nursing home care, and that has taken some time. We are looking at an appropriate provider of those community-based services to best meet their needs.

But, Ms Bresnan, if there are other people that we could add to those three, I am happy to take that advice and share that with you. I think this government, given that we have improved accommodation placements by 31 per cent over the last six to seven years, are doing well. But, as I said yesterday, we can have the accommodation in place, but then we need to work the community sector, the providers—whether they are government providers or community providers—to make sure that we do have appropriate services in place.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan, a supplementary?

MS BRESNAN: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, on average how many people each year who acquire a disability apply for an individual support package? Are these numbers built into the government’s annual budget for the individual support package program?

MS BURCH: The numbers will no doubt vary from year to year. We do collect information on unmet need. Here in the ACT we have a questionnaire that we put to disability clients as part of our national agreement being measured around need. How do we capture the unmet need? We ask if clients, users or carers, requested more support for this type of service than they are currently receiving. The answers are “yes”, “no” or “unknown”.

An additional question aims to capture the number of hours of unmet need requested. This is phrased in terms of how many additional hours per week, if any, has the service user or carer requested that is not currently received. This work goes into not only our ISP budget but also how Disability ACT responds generally to the community services.

As I said yesterday, we have grown our funding base by 61 per cent. We have $58 million, from memory if that was my figure yesterday, plus. Total budget for Disability ACT for this year is $63 million plus. So this is significant money but it is a finite number. I know that the sector out there is using every dollar wisely. We work well with the community sector to see how we make that dollar as effective as we can.

MR HARGREAVES: Supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Could the minister tell us what the increase in funding for the disability sector has been over the last couple of years, please?

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