Page 613 - Week 02 - Thursday, 19 February 2015

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MS BURCH: The ACT government is supporting the disability sector during this time of change. We want to make a difference in the lives of people with a disability to assist them to participate in their community and strive to build an inclusive and supportive community.

The government is proud to support Project Independence, a housing initiative for people with disability that represents a new model of ownership. It will give people with disability the opportunity to build up equity in their home and live as independently as possible. It is an innovative social housing model based on up to 10 people living in three separate homes. Support services can also be provided to meet their individual needs.

Project Independence is being spearheaded by the 2015 ACT Australian of the Year, Glenn Keys. I am proud to be joining him very soon to progress this project to the next stage. The project is a positive way for business, government and community organisations to work together. It is the first of its kind in the ACT and Australia and has already garnered interest from other states and jurisdictions.

In addition to Project Independence, the purpose-built respite centre for children with a disability aged five to 12 years is proceeding at Chifley, in partnership with the Ricky Stuart Foundation. Construction is about to commence and it is expected to be completed by November this year. This, again, shows the very strong partnership between the private sector and government and shows, in partnership and by working as a community, the benefits we can provide to all.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, how is the ACT government working to support renewal for our community, in particular clients in receipt of disability services and support in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for her interest in this area of our community.

Since 2013, the government has been working to support renewal for our disability community, with the NDIS. All clients of disability services delivered by both the government and community organisations are being supported through this transition. As part of this, the ACT government has listened and consulted with the community. It is the people and organisations who know and understand what is most needed.

To support people through this change, we have sought to invest in initiatives that increase the skills of people with a disability in exercising their choice and control and support people to transition from program models of support delivered by government to individually funded packages under the NDIS. This is a large cultural shift, but it is also about investing in practical initiatives that support people with a disability. The enhanced service offer, for example, which I have spoken about in this place, saw an investment of $7.7 million to support people with a disability to prepare for the NDIS.

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