Page 3498 - Week 08 - Thursday, 18 August 2011

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Finally, whilst we await the detail of the implementation of the national disability insurance scheme and the national injury insurance scheme, this government will continue to make disability services a priority by responding as we can to the unmet needs of people with a disability here in the ACT.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella), by leave: I thank Ms Burch for the report she has given as a result of questions asked in estimates. The statement provides the information requested during estimates, and it confirms the department and the minister’s proposition that disability services have increased over 100 per cent since 2002. One of the questions that remain to be answered is that, while services have increased, as the minister suggested, it would be interesting to compare that to the number of people with disability that have increased since that time and how the how those increases make sense in accordance with each other. The report outlines the anticipated extra hours of community access as outlined in the budget and shows how that figure was arrived at but, again, I stress that it would be interesting to see the figures compared to the growth in the number of people we have with disability at the moment as compared to 2002.

Many families across Australia and in particular in Canberra live with some truly difficult realities on a daily basis and have to deal with a system that is so often inadequate in so many ways: insufficient after-school care support for working families, lack of post-school options for students with disabilities, lack of suitable housing, long waiting times and often confusing red tape to access therapy services, and an absolute disconnect between the various government agencies charged with servicing clients with disability needs.

We heard from Minister Burch during estimates, and she has confirmed today, that 29,000 additional hours are being made available this financial year and that in the last eight years there has been a 140 per cent increase in funding. The 29,000 additional hours has to be spread a long way. For example, for school leavers, it means 14,000 hours, which only allows for 12 hours of community access service per school leaver. It means 9,000 hours for new after-school care and holiday programs this year. This was a need highlighted clearly in the health committee report Love has its limits. We, of course, await further take-up of the 28 recommendations from that report.

For example, I await with interest the scoping study that the minister is due to present to the Assembly by the end of this month on after-school care programs at the four special schools in Canberra. The disability community in this city of ours is patient and they certainly have needed to be, but their patience is also reaching extreme levels of frustration. That was demonstrated by the many witnesses we spoke to during the inquiry, and 1 know also from the people that I meet with on a regular basis as well the level of frustration and ongoing issues that they have to contend with.

Another ACT government paper on the sector—namely, the future directions strategy paper released in September 2009—was intended to respond to the community’s call for better systems planning to ensure people with a disability could access the support they need at the right time and at the right place. Its vision—all people with disabilities achieve what they want to achieve, live how they choose to live and are

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