Page 3496 - Week 08 - Thursday, 18 August 2011

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opportunities it might present to them. Given that we have not had a great deal of that over the last four or five years, the opportunity is there for you to do so, minister. We look forward to it with great expectation.

Disability services—community access

Statement by minister

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Community Services, Minister for the Arts, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Women and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs), by leave: In the 2011-12 budget the ACT government provided for an additional 29,000 hours of community access services for people with disability. This commitment is about increasing the opportunities for people with a disability to use—and strengthen—their ability to enjoy sociable independence and to participate in the community.

On 21 June this year the Select Committee on Estimates 2011-2012 tabled its report. Recommendation 173 of the report requested the government to provide further details on the breakdown of the anticipated extra hours of community access as outlined in the budget, how this figure was arrived at, the extent to which there remains an unmet need, and what provision is being made to resolve these matters.

Today I am pleased to advise members on the ACT government’s response to the committee’s request. The 29,000 additional hours of community access are based on service modelling. The respective components that make this up are as follows: 14,000 hours of support for the 2012 school leavers, based on each school leaver receiving a base allocation of 12 hours a week of community access service; another 2,000 hours community access is anticipated for those school leavers with exceptional needs that require additional ongoing support; 9,000 hours for new after school care and holiday program; and an additional 4,000 hours associated with increased commonwealth funding and the ACT commitments under the disability assistance package. The additional 29,000 hours brings the 2011-12 target to 233,000 hours of community access services, a total growth of 140 per cent since 2003.

This significant investment in community access services will address some level of unmet need among many families who require ongoing support in their caring role. It will provide their children with meaningful participation in activities that enhance their skill development and grow their independence.

The ACT 2009-10 national minimum data set collected on known unmet need is not a statistically comprehensive evaluation of unmet need for community access services in the ACT community. It does however indicate there are 240 existing users of disability services that have requested additional hours of community access of which 222 users, or 93 per cent, have requested up to eight additional community access hours per week; 13, or five per cent, have requested an additional 20 hours per week; three users have requested more than 20 additional hours per week but less than full-time community access; and two users have requested increasing their community access to full time.

The disability policy and research working group is currently undertaking the modelling of unmet need and demand at a national level as one of the priorities under

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