In the name of Allah; the entirely merciful; the especially merciful - بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Disabled services package 'just a start'

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Source: The West Australian

30th May 2008, 12:40 WST

The nearly $2 billion in additional funding for the disabled and their carers is just a start, says the federal government.

An extra 24,500 disability services will be available in Australia from next year, federal and state disability ministers announced in Sydney.

The $1.9 billion in funding, announced last year, will provide 2,300 additional places in supported accommodation and the same number of home-support packages.

The funding also allows for 10,000 places in respite for carers and an additional 9,900 individual support packages.

The details of the funding were announced at the Disability Services Ministers' Conference.

Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said the funding was only the start for helping an estimated 600,000 Australians with severe or profound disability.

"The fact that we are allocating money ... will certainly go some way to addressing what has been a very serious level of unmet need," Ms Macklin said.

The funding spans the four years of the next commonwealth, state and territory disability agreement, which the ministers will formally sign at the end of 2008.

For the first time in history people born with severe intellectual disabilities are reaching middle age and are expected to live until old age.

Ms Macklin said she understood the government had to address a possible surge in demand for disability services.

"We're recognising that this is only a start - that we have a lot more to do," the minister said.

She also defended a recent $100 million federal boost for the disabled, which some disability support groups have labelled as "insulting".

"I think it's a very substantial improvement ... that will certainly help," Ms Macklin said.

"I think it will give some relief to carers and families."

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told reporters in Brisbane that Friday's announcement was a significant agreement and he hoped more could be done for the disabled.

"This is an important contribution to an area of great need - that is, those people with disabilities and those caring for those with disabilities," Mr Rudd said.

"We still hold open the possibility of doing more when final agreement comes out at end of year."

AAP

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