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Emergency $3.8m boost to PADP

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Ihe Federal Health Minister, Dr Neal Blewett, today announced an immediate $3.8 million emergency.boost to the Program of Aids for Disabled People.

Dr Blewett said the money would be made available to the States to meet the growing backlog of demands for aids b y the disabled.

He said the emergency grant came on top of a 27 percent increase in funding of the program in Labor's first Budget. ■

"This brings funding' for the PADP scheme for 1983/84 to $10.9 million — a massive 95 percent increase on the $5.6 million provided in 1982/83," Dr Blewett said.

He said he had sought additional funds following a commitment to do so at last month's Australian Health Ministers Conference in Melbourne when State and Territory Health Ministers said they had already spent their 1983/84 allocation.

"The Federal Government was concerned that, because the States had run out of money, disabled people within the community were suffering unnecessary hardship as the waiting list for aids increased," Dr Blewett said. '

"We feared that this could result in people having to resort to institutional care when in fact the Program is aimed at assisting the disabled to remain in a domestic environment.

"The program, which was introduced in 1981 — the International Year of the Disabled-- we hope will reduce dependence on institutional care and support independent living by disabled people.

"The Labor Government is firmly committed in all of its health policies to encouraging the sick, the frail, and the disabled to live with their families at heme."

Dr Blewett said the $3.8 million would cover current claims and fund the PADP scheme until the next Budget allocation was due..

He said he would be irrmediately contacting the States and the Territories to inform them of exact funding arrangements. '

However, Dr Blewett warned that State Governments should control spending under the scheme to ensure the highest priority was given to those most needing help.

"The States have and must accept the responsibility of proper regulation of monies spent under the PADP scheme," he said. .

"Yet, except for New South Wales, the States have allocated money on a first ccme, first served basis without regard to areas of greatest need.

"It is not possible in tines of financial "restraint for the scheme to be left open ended.

"Therefore in order to ensure that in future PADP monies are wisely and appropriately spent, the Commonwealth and the States will have to work together to establish priorities of need," Dr Blewett said.

Canberra May 26, 1984.