Direct from Kristina Keneally $2 billion investment in disability services

Premier Kristina Keneally and Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose and careers

Premier Kristina Keneally and Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose and careers

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by StreetCorner Staff
06/12/2010

Streetcorner brings you “Direct From” updates so you can make up your own mind about your elected representatives achievements and policies. The statements below are from the office of the Premier Kristina Keneally.

The NSW Government announced a further $2 billion investment in disability services over the next five years for the second phase of the Stronger Together 2006-2016 initiative – reaching out to the most vulnerable in the community and supporting their carers.

The first five years of the program has already injected $1.3 billion in growth funding to the disability sector.

This is the largest investment in disability services in New South Wales’ history and the most significant investment made by a State Government anywhere in Australia. The additional funding will increase disability services capacity by an estimated 47,000 places over the next five years.

This funding is in addition to the $2.02 billion it will cost to continue to fund the expansion of disability services already provided under the first five years of the program. It brings the total new investment by NSW over the ten years of Stronger Together 2006- 2016 to a record $5.5 billion.

Under Stronger Together 2 the NSW Government will:

Enable all people to determine the application of their support resources, whether or not they are using an individualised funding arrangement;

Set aside funding to enable each large residential centre to be closed by 2017/18;

Create the Supported Living Fund to recognise the right of people with a disability to make choices about how and where they want to live; and

• Deliver 1750 new supported accommodation places, 4500 new flexible respite places and 9380 therapy and early intervention places by 2016.

In addition, the NSW Government will provide a payroll tax exemption for employers of people with disabilities. The exemption will apply to all new employees who are employed after 30 June 2011.

The exemption will be provided in the form of a rebate to employers who fully pay the wages of employees with a disability.

The package follows extensive public consultation with disability service providers, people with a disability, their carers and their families.

Premier Kristina Keneally and Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose today joined disability service providers, people with a disability and their carers to announce the expansion of Stronger Together.“Stronger Together has already delivered an additional 29,000 disability service places, and has helped service providers to be more responsive to the individual needs of people with a disability and their families,” Ms Keneally said.

“The disability sector has made it clear through our consultation sessions carried out earlier this year that Stronger Together has made a positive difference to people’s lives.

“We recognise there is still more to do to make sure we get the plan right for the next five years. “People with a disability in NSW need more support, as do their families and carers, and this package is about giving disability service providers the flexibility they need to better respond to people’s needs.

“The Stronger Together program demonstrates how government and non-government sectors can work together to provide certainty for people with a disability, their families and carers.” Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose said providing payroll tax exemptions for employers of people with disabilities will help deliver the NSW Government’s State Plan target of an extra 6,000 jobs for people with disabilities by 2016.

“This is great news for people with a disability and follows an announcement by the NSW Government earlier this year exempting employers of people with a disability from normal tendering requirements for Government goods and services,” Mr Primrose said.

“The new register enables Government agencies to procure goods and services from companies that hire people with a disability without having to go through a separate tender process. “National Disability Services (NDS) will keep a procurement register on behalf of eligible companies that fulfil certain requirements.

“The changes are detailed in a Premier’s Memorandum that encourages NSW Government agencies to access more goods and services from the register.” For further information please visit www.dadhc.nsw.gov.au.


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Comments

Ray Van posts

Is she pre-empting the 2 intermodal impact on the South West of Sydney? 2 billion dollars will be nowhere near enough to cover the cost of the ill health that will eventuate from the diesel exhaust emissions from these overdevelopments.

Harriet posts

Let me firstly point out that it is quite a misprint you have made in the caption under the photo - careers and carers are usually mutually exclusive! Kristina's 2 billion is more than disability has ever had before so it seems ungrateful to point out that it's nowhere near enough. Peter Primrose has said that the unmet need in the disability sector is beyond the states' capacity to meet and he is right. The $1.3 billion for the first installment of Stronger Together scarcely hit the sides and this extra funding will do little more. The whole disability industry has been under-resourced for so long that it will take federal government intervention and lots of it to take up the slack. Just consider the 2000 disabled people under the age of 65 who are languishing inappropriately in nursing homes in NSW,the 1600 still to be "devolved" from large residential institutions, the 450 disabled children leaving foster care in the next five years and the undisclosed number of people who have been wrongly imprisoned and who need to be rehabilitated. These all take precedence over the entire generation of disabled sons and daughters of ageing parents who have cared for three, four and five decades and who are starting to fall off the perch. Under Stronger Together 1, 990 new supported accommodation places were created, but only one tenth of them went to people coming directly from the family home. The disability agency in NSW has a register of more than 1700 people who need immediate and urgent supported accommodation. That is today - not taking into account any future need. Even if all the 1750 places went to families, it would still not meet the need. But the bulk of these places will not go to those desperate and anxious families who have cared for a lifetime - this is why I say the extra funding will again scarcely hit the sides. I also wish to point out to the innocent reader that in the rhetoric of disability-speak, a "place" usually has no physical component. When you hear of the extra thousands of places, you must understand that one hour per week of therapy or one hour of respite constitutes a "place". The service of a case-worker who may phone once a month to see if things are OK is also regarded as a "place". I wish to say thank you to Kristina for doing all that her government could possibly do for disability. Remember that the states collect only 18% of the total tax revenue. Now we look to our federal government to pick up the shortfall. It is no longer acceptable to brush disability aside as a state issue, leaving it cash-strapped and begging while the feds have money to throw around with abandon. If it takes a National Disability Insurance Scheme to rectify this imbalance, then that is what we must have. This rich and lucky country has to find a way to look after its disabled citizens far better than it currently does.


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