Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Extra support for people with disability and their carers

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

The Rudd Government is strengthening its commitment to people with disability and carers by providing extra support through a range of initiatives in the 2009-10 Budget.

More Outside School Hours Care

The Australian Government will provide $9.3 million over four years for an additional 250 Outside School Hours Care places for teenagers with disability or serious medical conditions. This builds on a highly successful program that is delivering targeted developmental, social and recreational activities for young people with disability.

During this time of global financial uncertainty this program supports parents and carers who want to return to work, extend their working hours, or stay working.

Practical assistance to increase the participation of people with disability

The Government is committing $3 million to the introduction of a new national disability parking permit scheme. The measure will establish nationally consistent eligibility criteria, entitlements and a national permit to replace more than 100 different parking permits across Australia.

Around 800,000 people with disability will receive a new, standardised parking permit that will be recognised nationally.

The Government will also provide $1.8 million for a national companion card scheme for people with disability and their carers. This national scheme will expand the arrangements offered in some states and territories to provide up to 200,000 people with a disability with opportunities to attend affiliated sporting and entertainment events and venues without incurring the cost of a second ticket for a companion or carer. The national scheme will also ensure that people with disability receive the same entitlements when travelling across state and territory borders.

Both these measures are part of a whole of government response involving the Australian, State and Territory Governments working together to meet the ongoing needs of people with disability, their families and carers.

Special Disability Trusts

The Government is taking important steps to respond to a Senate Committee report on Special Disability Trusts by removing the barriers which prevent families from making financial contributions to the care and accommodation needs of a family member with severe disability.

Special Disability Trusts were introduced in 2006 to allow private financial provision for the current or future accommodation and care of a family member with a severe disability, without being affected by social security rules on means testing or gifting. However take up has been slow. As at 31 March 2009 there were only 52 trusts operating with 326 eligible beneficiaries.

To encourage greater take up, from 1 July 2009 the Government will extend the capital gains tax main residence exemption to include a residence that is owned by a Special Disability Trust and used by the relevant beneficiary as their main residence.

In addition any unexpended income of a Special Disability Trust will now be taxed at the beneficiary’s personal income tax rates, rather than the highest marginal tax rate, starting from the 2008-09 financial year.

These tax changes will have an estimated cost to revenue of $4 million over the forward estimates period.

By removing these barriers, Special Disability Trusts will become a more attractive tool for families who are looking to provide for the long term care of a family member with severe disability.

The Australian Government is reviewing all recommendations from the Senate Committee, including broadening eligibility to make it easier for people to establish Special Disability Trusts.

More information on these measures is contained in the Fact Sheets available online at the website (