Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 September 2017) . . Page.. 3853 ..
Along with my colleagues, I look forward to continuing to support the viability and capacity of the community sector organisations that provide such important services to Canberra’s most vulnerable residents. I present the following paper:
Community sector reform—Co-contribution expenditure—Ministerial statement, 19 September 2017.
That the Assembly take note of the paper.
MS LEE (Kurrajong) (11.48): I thank the minister for her statement this morning in respect of the ACT government’s work in applying the co-contribution levy funds. At the time the levy was established in 2012, the sector was facing a number of challenges, particularly in respect of salaries for workers in the disability sector to reflect the value of the important work they do for our community. The minister also suggests that forward thinking was taking into consideration the introduction of a national disability insurance scheme. I am not entirely convinced that the NDIS played a significant part, or, indeed, any part, in rationalising the application of a levy at that time.
However, we move to 2017 and we do see a number of gaps in the disability sector in terms of provision of services for the Canberra community. I note the minister’s last words in respect of looking forward to continuing to support the viability and capacity of the community sector organisations that provide such important services to Canberra’s most vulnerable. Perhaps it is nothing more than unfortunate timing, but the front page of today’s Canberra Times tells us that Canberra families with particular needs face the prospect of losing respite care from organisations such as Marymead. Families in the ACT have come to rely on respite care for the ongoing sustainable care of their loved ones, and they now face the real threat that it will no longer be available.
The minister and I have spoken on this and many other issues, and I acknowledge and thank her for her willingness to engage with me across a number of issues in the disability portfolio. I have written to her and also to my federal colleagues on this particular issue of respite care, as the matter apparently relates to there not being sufficient funding available under the NDIS schedule for such care in the ACT. My concern and my questions to the minister have always revolved around what assurances the ACT government will give and what actions the ACT government will take to ensure that such people, and any number of other valuable services, associations and individuals in the disability sector, do not fall through the cracks because there is no synergy at this stage with the NDIS.
I accept that there are teething problems, as is the case with the introduction of any new scheme, especially one of this magnitude, but for the families who face the real prospect of having no help and no relief for them and their children, it matters little whether it is the responsibility or the fault of the ACT or the federal government. These families are ACT residents. They live here; they work here; their children