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International Day of People with DisAbility: 3 December: an opportunity to assess unmet need in Australia.



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Senator Jan McLucas Labor Senator for Queensland Shadow Minister for Ageing, Disabilities and Carers

DECEMBER 2 2005

International Day of People with DisAbility: 3 December An opportunity to assess unmet need in Australia

International Day of People with DisAbility, on 3 December is a great opportunity to promote the achievements of people with disability and create awareness of disability issues. It also provides the opportunity to examine the adequacy of the provision of funding, support and services for people living with disabilities in Australia. To determine the adequacy of services, Senator Jan McLucas, Shadow Minister for Ageing, Disabilities and Carers, is calling for an inquiry into the operation of the Commonwealth State and Territory Disability Agreement. A recent report by the Australian National Audit Office identified significant unmet need for disability services in Australia, without there being any measure at all in place at Commonwealth Government level to assess the extent of unmet need - or even whether the CSTDA was actually meeting its objectives. The report also stated there was a lack of coordination with other Commonwealth Government departments despite some of these departments being required for key priority areas in the CSTDA, such as transport, housing and education. “Effective disability policy demands a ‘whole of Government’ response but the Howard Government is not ensuring that relevant Commonwealth Government departments communicate and plan to meet the priority areas of the CSTDA, such as transport, Veterans, housing and indigenous affairs,” Senator McLucas said. “The Howard Government trumpets its contribution to disability services, but the Audit Office report points out that there is no system in place to measure unmet need, or customer satisfaction and service quality - so how can the Government know what the impact of its contribution actually is? “This is an ideal opportunity to undertake an inquiry into the CSTDA so that there is an assessment of its adequacy to provide for the needs of people with disabilities, so that services to people with a disability can be improved.”

4.60 The ANAO would expect FaCS to have a relationship with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) regarding the CSTDA. P.30

4.61 FaCS’ national office advised the ANAO that it did not have a relationship with DVA to discuss the provision of services to people with disabilities. P.30

4.57 FaCS advised the ANAO that the team administering the CSTDA does not have a working relationship with the Department of Transport and Regional Services (DoTARS). However, among the NDA key priority areas for CSTDA, Strategic Policy Priority One, Strengthen access to

generic services for people with a disability, is work on access for people with a disability to transport. P.30 From: The Auditor-General, Audit Report No.14 2005/06, Performance Audit, Administration of the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement

Contact: Senator Jan McLucas 0407 169 206

Heather Witham 0417 010 734