Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Disability Funding – the next steps

If today’s Communique represents a genuine start by the States and Territories to detail their five year funding commitments, then I welcome it.

The Commonwealth has been waiting since June for such a move.

Obviously, the collective pledge in the Communique does not commit any individual State or Territory to specific expenditure.

The States and Territories know that the Commonwealth will meet with them when they each outline, via a commitment from the Premier or Chief Minister, their individual spending commitments for people with disabilities for five years.

I will be writing to all Ministers again seeking, as I have said in prior correspondence, a letter from their Premier or Chief Minister outlining each year’s funding commitments under the next Commonwealth State and Territory Disability Agreement.

Vague promises of a collective funding commitment by Ministers do not meet the Commonwealth’s minimum requirement for transparency and accountability.

Each State and Territory government must be responsible for its individual funding commitments to people with disabilities.

In passing, I note the insincerity of Ministers as to their remarks on my non-attendance at the meeting. They did not ascertain my availability and they know that the Commonwealth will meet at a time convenient to all and as soon as they each outline their five year commitments.

It remains entirely in the hands of the States and Territories to advance these negotiations. They must follow through on their promise to allocate these extra funds with a letter from each Premier and Chief Minister. I look forward to meeting with them to finalise a third CSTDA once I have those detailed commitments.