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One-off disability funding way short.



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Peter Andren MP - Independent Member for Calare

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21 June 2002

One-Off Disability Funding Way Short The $9.2 million one-off payment announced by the Government today is a band-aid measure that falls short of addressing the ongoing needs of disability services, according to Peter Andren, Member for Calare.

“Service providers in the electorate say that while any funding is welcome, this offer will not provide the substantial on-going core increase that disability services need,” Mr Andren said.

“Family & Community Services Minister, Senator Vanstone will provide $9.2 million to all disability services on Commonwealth contracts, with each service receiving 4% of the Commonwealth funding received in 2001-02.

“This will apply only to disability business services as the Federal Government does not directly fund other types of services - these are funded under the Commonwealth-State disability funding agreement.

“Figures provided to me by Glenray Industries go some way to illustrate the cost pressures that disability services are under.

“Glenray estimates that it faces about $50,000 in additional wage costs due the SACS award increase. The one-off 4% of Commonwealth funding payment will give them an extra $18,998 for the year.

“To put the situation even more into perspective, Glenray estimates for 2002-03 its total employment costs alone will increase by $146,000.

“Beyond the 11.5% SACS increase, this includes a 3% increase from the State wage case, costs associated with regrading for the new award and funding compliance, as well as superannuation and workers compensation increases for both its staff and the employees with disabilities.

“The Government’s package is completely inadequate and if the Prime Minister intends standing by his assurances to me in Parliament that no injustices will be done to important services in this critical area of need, then he must tell his Minister to rethink this paltry response.

“For those receiving funding under the Commonwealth-State Disability Agreement which include accommodation services, this package means nothing,” Mr Andren said.

“They need a $62.7 million injection into the Agreement over the next three years to keep them functioning, starting with $11.6 million this year.

“The State and Federal Governments need to come clean on their mutual responsibilities to this care sector and stop bickering over who funds what.

“If a service like Glenray is contracted by either Government to provide a disability service then it’s obvious all costs of that service should be borne by the relevant Government,” he added.

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