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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (12 October) . . Page.. 2969 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

that is, the proportion of low-income earners, wage and salary earnings and welfare dependency - the ACT easily outperformed the rest of Australia. Again, what a great example of the difference between this Government and Labor on social issues.

Mr Speaker, we believe that this is an important approach. I believe it is one that other States will follow. A state of the Territory report will give us social indicators, quality of life indicators, which we will be able to set policy around to determine the future we want for our city in a whole range of areas.

Community Care Support Services

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Health and Community Care. It concerns individual support packages and individualised funding arrangements which may be made available to purchase support services for people with disabilities and also for the frail aged. Minister, could you advise how much money has recently been made available for such packages and how many people may have applied for some part of that? Could you also inform the Assembly what process has been used to allocate funds, and when any decisions on that will be announced?

MR MOORE: Thank you, Mr Wood, for the question. You may recall that in the last budget the Government allocated an additional $1m for services for people with disabilities, and additional funding of $250,000 was subsequently made available. Funding of $230,000 was allocated following the budget to fund a limited number of individual packages. In July 1999, $678,845 was issued for 16 individual packages. The department called for expressions of interest via the service provider network in the Canberra Times. Previous applicants, those people with applications pending, were also individually invited to apply within the process. Community Connections were engaged to assess and reassess applicants and make recommendations to the department. Fifty-eight applications were received and assessed. Four applicants withdrew because of changed circumstances, leaving 54.

The assessment process recommended funding priorities and identified alternative support mechanisms for some applicants. Packages to a cost of $1.7623m were recommended. Some individuals may have needs met through service expansion or existing services. In consultation with Community Connections, the department is assessing packaging priorities for the $230,000 available.

We are looking at a very significant unmet need in this area. Mr Wood, you would be aware that disability Ministers agreed some time ago that Australia-wide there was an unmet need of some $293m and began to tackle that. Senator Newman announced that her Government would be prepared to put in $100m over two years. In other words, they are prepared to put in a third. Ministers met by teleconference in the last couple of weeks to discuss our response to that, and a letter has been prepared. Ministers felt that they should meet to discuss it further. I offered to conduct that meeting here in late November and I have invited Senator Newman to join us, should she wish, to work out how we can further that. We recognise the unmet need and we are going some way to dealing with it.

Applications are continuing to be received by Community Connections and will be assessed periodically. The sum of $230,000 was also made available from additional budget funds for the provision of community access services. Sharing Places and

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