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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 4452 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

and reform systems to improve demand management over time, which is recognised, and requires the ACT to provide information to the Commonwealth on improvements made in relation to data collection; long-term planning; systems to predict, monitor and manage inflows-all basic stuff, but I still find it very concerning that it has not been done-and strategies for early intervention and prevention.

Let's talk about strategies for early intervention and prevention. Early intervention and prevention comes down to basic questions such as the availability of therapists. We do not have enough therapists. In 1996, we made recommendations about these things and they are now the subject of a bilateral agreement with the Commonwealth because they have not been implemented.

I am pleased that the Treasurer is here. I think it is really important that the government seriously consider putting much more money into this area. I totally acknowledge that we do not get proper support from the Commonwealth government, but I just do not think that we can afford, as a community, to continue to neglect this group in our community. For the nine years I have been involved-no doubt, it has been for many more years than that-the things that we are agreeing on in this bilateral agreement have been recommended and should have been implemented.

I have had feedback from the community generally about some of the issues that could be looked at concerning people with a disability, including the portability of services. I saw in one of these agreements reference to greater connectivity or communication between states and territories on services for people with a disability, but it is really difficult for people to move across states and territories in terms of having confidence that they will be able easily to get the support that they had where they were, which is interesting. A siloing is still occurring in each state. I ask the government-the Treasurer in particular-to give this issue serious consideration in the lead-up to the budget.

MS DUNDAS (5.22): I welcome the ACT government's commitment to better funding of disability services and advocacy. As the minister noted when he tabled this agreement, the ACT government has committed to an average annual funding growth of 6.84 per cent for the life of this agreement. On the whole, the agreement is clearly a positive step for the people of the ACT, but I am not convinced that the annual growth in Commonwealth funding of 4.39 per cent will cover the costs related to disability services.

I strongly support the increased focus on transition from school to work through the post-school options program and the focus on the shift from temporary to permanent work for people with disabilities. Until now, there has all too often been a network of support services for young persons until they leave school, but when they leave school there is very little support for them and their families.

Another area that I hope will receive more attention during the life of this agreement is funding for respite carers and for carers of people with disabilities. Carers pay to access respite support, but their contributions relate to their ability to pay and do not cover the cost of the provision of care, so actual government funding is vital.

I am sure that members of this Assembly will be aware of the family-based respite care provider FaBRiC and the fact that they are being forced to cut services in December

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