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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2152 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

I am very pleased to table today the ACT Department of Health and Community Care Strategic Plan for Disability Services 1999.

We in the ACT are members of a diverse community. People with disabilities are represented in each age group, ethnic background, interest group, geographic region, occupation, and practically every other 'group' within our community.

People with disabilities play the roles of parent, son or daughter, employer, employee, volunteer, community leader, teacher, friend ... in fact, the same variety of roles as all other citizens.

It would therefore be a mistake, and an affront, to define people primarily by their disability. The very term 'people with disabilities' was chosen by the people themselves to clearly state that they are people first and foremost, and that the 'disability' is only one characteristic of the whole person.

All people are interdependent, requiring the support and assistance of others in their day to day lives. People with disabilities may have specific needs for support and assistance to enable them to carry out their daily activities and to participate in community life.

Governments have a responsibility to promote equality of opportunity for people with disabilities. This responsibility is partly addressed through funding specific disability support services. It can also be addressed through working in partnership with the rest of the community to ensure that people with disabilities have effective access to the services, venues and facilities which are available to other citizens.

The Strategic Plan for Disability Services contains strategies both for service provision and for community development through partnerships within and between government and non-government agencies, people with disabilities and families, friends and carers of people with disabilities

The Department of Health and Community Care purchases a range of services which assist people with disabilities in their daily lives. The Strategic Plan sets out ways to ensure that these services promote the best possible outcomes for people with disabilities. Strategies focus on achieving outcomes through both quality and efficiency in service provision.

It is acknowledged that there is significant unmet need for services for people with disabilities. Despite considerable increases in funding by the ACT Government, including an extra $1 m for disability services and $1 m for Home and Community Care services in the 1999 budget, this remains a key issue. The Strategic Plan for Disability Services

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