Page 2899 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 30 June 2010

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Budget—welfare services

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Minister, according to budget paper No 3 2009-10, page 251, the ACT proposed to spend $63.5 million on “welfare services for people with a disability” in the 2009-10 year. According to budget paper No 3 2010-11, this expenditure in 2009-10 dropped to $55.1 million. Minister, can you explain why this is the case?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Smyth for his question. Funding across disability services since we have been in government has increased significantly. I think we are up to over $70 billion in provision of disability services across a range of sectors—providing ISP support and accommodation, flexible respite hours. So we have actually increased funding.

I do not have the budget papers in front of me, Mr Smyth. I am quite happy to go up to my office or ask one of my staff to get the page number and the sentence number, which is apt that you do. You go to the dots and the i’s of budget papers. But I think an increase of over 78 per cent provided to disability services by this government is something that is welcomed by the disability sector. As I said, that has increased access to community hours and flexible respite hours and accommodation places.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, which programs or initiatives have you cut since becoming minister?

MS BURCH: I am not aware that I have cut any programs in the last eight months.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, you may need to take this on notice. Can you please provide to the Assembly figures on the amounts of money provided to Disability Services, particularly relating to ISPs between the financial year 2000-01 and the current time?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hargreaves for his question and his continued interest in the disability sector. For the information of those opposite, of the $74 million, over $26 million is going to community agencies. That goes to the ISPs, that goes to accommodation support, to community access services, to respite services and to other services such as research and development. So that is over $26 million that can support ISPs. That forms only part of the response that we provide to people with a disability. Whilst it is a very crucial point, grants—quality-of-life grants and innovative grants—all go to supporting people with disability so they are able to live their lives to the fullest and are able to further participate in society.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

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