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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3013 ..

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Minister for Health and Community Care) (10.55): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by quoting in this place a letter from Bryan Woodford, who is the general manager of the Koomarri Association, in their Outcomes publication of 7 December 1995. He says:

Years ago, when most Accommodation Support Services for adults with disabilities were set up, it was relatively easy to work out their budgets and funding needs. Most residents either went to a Sheltered Workshop or to an Activity Therapy Centre. Residents and staff alike could set their watches by the time of departure - often in large buses - and the time of return. The system was simple because there were very few exceptions; virtually everyone went to one or other of the two options. Also, the Commonwealth funded the great majority of services which meant that service providers were only negotiating with a single funding source.

Then came The Disability Services Act and the Commonwealth States Disability Agreement. Both set out to change the status quo, and both succeeded.

The Disability Services Act provided the backdrop for the movement of people out of Sheltered Workshops into open, community based employment. Working hours started to change. Some people worked part time and others full time. Some worked shifts and others worked in settings in which late or early starts were the norm (e.g. hotels and restaurants, newspapers, and bakeries). Suddenly, accommodation services had to stagger their staffing and be prepared to provide support at all sorts of odd hours. Needless to say, this had significant cost implications. Budgeting became highly unpredictable and requests for additional funding support were submitted. And submitted. And submitted.

Then came the Commonwealth States Disability Agreement. Under this Agreement, the Commonwealth retained responsibility for funding employment services and a handful of other areas, while responsibility for funding accommodation support passed over to the States and Territories. Meetings were held and negotiations conducted on how much money the Commonwealth would pass over to the States and Territories to address their new responsibilities. Deals were done and hands were shaken.

But if the Commonwealth realised that costs for accommodation services for adults were rising because of the changing nature of employment services, nobody remembered to tell the States and Territories. And they - bless them - were too new to the game to realise that they were about to walk into a great big funding ambush.

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