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Thursday, 13 September 2007
Page: 195

Senator Allison asked the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 22 May 2007:

(1)   How many, or what proportion of, Australians with a severe or profound disability need no government-funded disability services.

(2) (a)   Given the limited resources that the Government has available to provide disability services, how does the Government ensure that it provides essential services for the people who need them the most; and (b) is this outcome achieved through the Government’s policy of setting priority for service provision based on the ‘relative need’ of people with a disability.

(3)   What measures ensure the Government’s ‘relative need’ policy is effective.

(4)   Given that the inquiry by the Community Affairs Committee into the Commonwealth State/Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA) found that substantial numbers of people with disabilities do not receive essential services, will the Government increase CSTDA funding significantly in the 2008-09 Budget; if so, how much of the unmet need will the funding increase eliminate.

Senator Scullion (Minister for Community Services) —The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question.

(1)   Data on the number of people with disability who do not need government-funded disability services is not collected. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has, as part of its Disability Series, published a number of reports on the demand for services provided under the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA). In June 2007, the AIHW released its fourth study on the topic of ‘Current and future demand for specialist disability services’. A copy of this publication is available on the Institute’s website at

(2) (a)   (b), (3) and (4) There is an acknowledged level of unmet need for accommodation support for people with disability. While this is an area of state and territory responsibility, the Australian Government has injected an additional $704 million over the last two CSTDA Agreements to address this issue. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that this additional funding has had any impact on improving outcomes for people with disability by reducing unmet demand. The recent announcement by the Australian Government of a $1.8 billion Disability Assistance Package over five years will provide a significant response to the key recommendations of the Senate Inquiry in the area of unmet need for disability accommodation, assistance for older carers and early intervention. As part of the Disability Assistance Package, the Australia Government has allocated $1.5million to conduct a high level enquiry to identify the barriers to private sector involvement in the delivery of disability supported accommodation. Further information on the Disability Assistance Package can be found at or alternatively the Disability Assistance Inquiry Line on 1800 101 888 or TTY 1800 260 402.