Page 3497 - Week 08 - Thursday, 18 August 2011

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the national disability agreement reform agenda. Disability ACT is participating in this process.

This work should deliver a more accurate picture of the current level of demand for services and more refined estimates of potential demand and enhance the capacity to monitor the demand. The matter of unmet need in disability services is ongoing. Although funding for disability services has increased by an average by 9.8 per cent per annum since 2003, unmet demand for disability services continues to be an issue not just for the ACT but for all jurisdictions.

The Productivity Commission acknowledged that all jurisdictions face greater demand than can be met under the current arrangements. The commission has recommended the Australian government be responsible for the administration and funding of a national disability insurance scheme and proposes a doubling of funding for disability services.

On 10 August this year the Australian government released the final report of the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into disability care and support and supports the vision for a system of lifetime care and support for all Australians. Work is expected to commence with the Australian government committing $10 million towards policy work to build the foundations of the scheme. The ACT will continue to work collaboratively with the Australian government, states and territories to ensure that implementation best meets the needs of Canberrans with a disability, their families, and carers.

While we all acknowledge that there is more to be done to respond to unmet need, it is worth noting that in the ACT the disability program budget has increased by 101.4 per cent since 2002. Indeed, in the 2011-12 budget, funding of $10.3 million over four years was provided to address unmet need. This funding is allocated to respond to needs of people whose formal supports have broken down, to young school leavers who need assistance to engage in meaningful activities during the day and to support after-school-hours and vocation needs of children and young people with a disability.

Additionally, accommodation places have risen by 64 per cent, the community places by 158 per cent, community access hours by 140 per cent, community access hours by 140 per cent and flexible respite hours by 117 per cent. These are significant figures when talking about provisions for responding to unmet need.

It takes more than funding to improve the opportunities and outcomes for people with a disability. It is also about recognising the abilities of people with a disability and giving them a chance to contribute and to be included and valued. These are the values that underpin the government’s framework for the future directions towards the challenge 2014, which guides work around disability in the ACT.

The framework developed in partnership for people with a disability sets out the practical steps towards improving outcomes and opportunities for people with a disability. Disability ACT will continue with the program of ongoing planning and assessment with families and individuals once they have been allocated funding and order to best tailor services to the changing needs of the person with a disability.

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