Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Funding Boost to Commonwealth Disability Services

The Howard Government will provide additional support to the disability sector by making a one-off payment to all of the 950 disability services across Australia that are funded by the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth provides funding to organisations that offer employment assistance, advocacy support, carer respite and print services for an estimated 65,500 people with disabilities across Australia.

A payment equal to 4% of a service’s total grant for 2001-02 will be made to services this financial year at a cost of $9.22 million.

For example, a service that received $200,000 in grant funds during 2001/02 will receive a one-off payment of an additional $8,000.

The one-off payment will relieve the immediate pressure of rising costs on services and assist them with the transition to the new funding model for disability employment services.

In recent times, disability services have been affected by increasing cost pressures in varying ways. This Government wants to ensure that these organisations can continue to provide their important services to the disability community.

The Commonwealth funds these services and under the Commonwealth State Territory Disability Agreement, the States are, amongst other things, responsible for accommodation services. The Commonwealth pays the States a block of money for the States to spend as they deem appropriate. That amount is agreed between the States and the Commonwealth and indexed annually.