Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Llewellyn Wrong on Disability Funding

Mr David Llewellyn, the Tasmanian Disabilities Minister, is dead wrong when he asserts that the Commonwealth’s offer for the next Commonwealth State and Territory Disability Agreement is a reduction in federal funding.

The reverse is true. 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.

There has never been any proposal for a reduction in federal funding to the States.

Our offer 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 Mr Llewellyn as the responsible Tasmanian minister, to respond with commitments over five years of what the States 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 States and Territories should stop playing politics. They must tell the disability sector how much money they will commit and sign a new Agreement that will provide funding certainty for five years.