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Disability services: Federal Government failure of leadership.



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MEDIA RELEASE

SENATOR CHRIS EVANS

LABOR SENATOR FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILY SERVICES AND THE AGED

 

DISABILITY SERVICES: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP

 

The Howard government failed to show leadership at today's meeting of Commonwealth and State Disability Ministers, Opposition spokesman, Senator Chris Evans, said today.

 

Despite the acknowledged need for an urgent injection of funds, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Jocelyn Newman, refused to propose any offer for funding to meet the backlog of unmet need for disability services, which has been estimated at $294 million.

 

"The government has missed an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in meeting the backlog of unmet demand for disability services," Senator Evans said.

 

"Senator Newman has not proposed any offer whatsoever to finance the $294 million of unmet demand. This is completely unacceptable.'

 

"I am extremely disappointed at the Government's failure to take the initiative. People with disabilities and their carers will be heartbroken. Their needs for even the most basic of assistance have been neglected by the Howard Government.

 

"The Commonwealth should re-convene the Disability Ministers' meeting to draw up a strategic plan for the improvement of disability services, and to authorise an immediate injection of funds.

 

"The Howard Government needs to put some reality into its 'social coalition' rhetoric. Disability services would be a good place to start."

 

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found that 13,400 people aged between five and 64 have unmet needs for help with self-care, mobility, and verbal communication.

 

9 April 1999

 

Contact: Andrew Lee, tel. 08 9430 8599 (wk) or 0409 099 779 (mob)

 

 

 

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