Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Time for states and territories to make a commitment to people with disability and their families

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, today demanded that states and territories follow the Howard Government’s lead and boost funds for people with disability.

On the eve of a meeting of ministers responsible for disability services in Sydney on Wednesday to discuss the next Commonwealth State/Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA,) Mr Brough said most states were failing in their responsibilities to some of our most vulnerable citizens.

“The Howard Government has led by example, with the Prime Minister announcing last month $1.8 billion in new funding to help people with disability and their families.

“It’s time for the states to face up to their responsibilities.

“In April this year I offered states and territories $3.275 billion for the next five year CSTDA – an increase of more than $400 million on the current agreement which expired at the end of June.

“That offer was conditional on states and territories agreeing to improve transparency and accountability, implement third-party quality assurance, develop and report against a nationally-consistent measure of unmet need, and improve Indigenous access to mainstream disability services.

“So far, none of the states and territories have agreed to this offer.

“In addition, I made a separate and very generous offer to match their own funding for unmet need for supported accommodation and respite dollar-for-dollar, subject to them quantifying their unmet need.

“Only Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory responded positively on this offer and we are continuing to work with them on their proposals.

“Consequently, the additional offer to other states was withdrawn and the Prime Minister last month announced the $1.8 billion package of support for people with disability and their families.

“That package will directly assist older carers by providing additional accommodation and respite services for their sons or daughters with disability, as well as providing an annual payment of $1000 to carers of children under the age of 16 years to assist with the cost of necessary aids and equipment.

“It’s time for the states and territories to follow our lead. They should not delay any further signing up to the new CSTDA to ensure people with disability are receiving the level and quality of services they need and deserve.”