Page 2469 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 July 2008

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MS MacDONALD: I thank the minister for that answer. Minister, could you provide further details of the ACT government’s investment in disability services?

MS GALLAGHER: The government’s record on disability services is very strong. During the last agreement, the ACT government committed an additional 25 per cent of funding over and above what was initially agreed. We have increased funding overall by 69 per cent, so the budget has risen from $37 million in 2001-02 to $62 million in 2008-09. This was another area of chronic underfunding and under-resourcing from those opposite when they were in government. We have turned that around in just a few short years. In five to six years, we have managed to turn that around, and we now have an adequately resourced disability system, particularly now that we have the extra money coming from the commonwealth. We have not just stopped there. It is not just about additional money; it is around changing the way we deliver services. It is much more about individual needs; it is about individuals choosing their own support requirements and being able to pay for them.

We have also done a lot of work around the therapy services, including providing new buildings. It is to the credit of Disability ACT that, having come from a pretty dark background in 2001, it is delivering in 2007-08 what it is delivering with pretty high levels of satisfaction. There is always going to be unmet need. We know there is unmet need in the community now, and we need to continue to work on our processes to make sure that we can deal with that unmet need. It grows every year. The additional money that we have been able to secure from the commonwealth, along with the additional funding from the ACT government, will go a long way to meeting some of those support requirements that we know are out there.

In this area of government, I would always like to do more. It is a very hard area when you hear the stories from individual families of what their lives are like at home and how they struggle to care for people from time to time. But Disability ACT has a very good grasp on who those people are and is always looking at ways to supplement the resourcing that can be provided to those families.

The work is not yet finished. We need to do more; we need to get to those families that are struggling and that, even though they may be getting support, may not be getting the support they would like. This additional resourcing over the next four to five years will go a long way to meeting the unmet need that we are aware of in the community.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

Supplementary answer to question without notice

Gas-fired power station

MS GALLAGHER: Last week in question time Mr Pratt asked me, “When was your department officially made aware of the proposed power station,” and the answer is on 6 September 2007, “and its possible effects on the respite facility?” Those are yet to be established.

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