Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Victorian Government Fails People With Disabilities

Ms Bronwyn Pike, the Victorian Disabilities Minister, is failing people with disabilities in Victoria by choosing to play politics rather than committing to a new five year disability agreement.The Commonwealth has offered an extra $125 million over five years to the States and Territories.

This offer of extra money is additional to all of the funding provided under the last Agreement including the extra “unmet need” funding.

The Commonwealth is offering the States $2.8 billion over the next five years. This compares with the $1.9 billion paid to them under the old Agreement.

Our offer of extra funding has been on the table since June 28, 2002.

The disability sector desperately needs this money and the Commonwealth wants them to have it. The States and Territories are now holding the funding up.

I have asked the States and Territories, and Ms Pike as the responsible Victorian minister, to respond with commitments over five years of what the States and Territories are willing to spend.

I have received no reply to that request.

I want this extra money to flow quickly to the services for people with disabilities who are in need.

The Victorian Government really needs to lift its game. As at 30 June 2001, Victoria had 4381 people on their waiting list with the majority of these clients requiring supported accommodation and community access service.

Ms Pike should now stop playing politics. She must tell the disability sector how much money the Victoria will commit and sign a new Agreement that will provide funding certainty for five years.