Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$5.3 billion to better support people with disability

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister

The Australian Government will provide $5.3 billion over five years for a new National Disability Agreement with the States and Territories to improve and expand services for people with disability, their families and carers.

This includes a significant injection of $408 million of new funds for more services and to drive important reforms to create a more effective and accessible disability service system.

The Agreement demonstrates the commitment of the Australian Government to provide additional assistance to people with disability, their families and carers.

The Australian Government is providing the States and Territories with an additional $1.3 billion in funding over five years – $408 million for growth and reform and $901 million for more accommodation, respite and in home care.

From 1 January next year the Australian Government’s contribution to the National Disability Agreement will be indexed at around 6 per cent over the five-year agreement, compared to the current rate of around 1.8 per cent.

The Australian Government will maintain its oversight, coordination and leadership role in disability policy and will continue to work cooperatively with State and Territory Governments to implement these reforms.

COAG has also agreed to an ambitious program of reforms, including:

  • single access points for entry into the disability service system, with an emphasis on early intervention;
  • nationally consistent assessment processes; and
  • improved quality assurance in line with nationally agreed principles and benchmarking.

People with disability will also have easier access to disability aids and equipment when the reforms are implemented.

The States and Territories will work closely with the Australian Government to improve data collection to better measure the need for disability services.

The new Agreement will come into effect from 1 January 2009 and will include a $70 million sign on bonus for reform of the disability system.

In May, the State, Territory and Federal Disability Ministers agreed to a $1.9 billion package to provide more than 24,000 places in supported accommodation, respite and in home care.

This comprised $100 million for supported accommodation, $901 million for accommodation, respite and in home care from the Australian Government and $900 million from the States. This funding will be incorporated into the new National Disability Agreement.

COAG agreed to undertake further work on roles and responsibilities in community based care over the coming year.