ACT Labor to deliver more to Canberrans with a disability, their families and carers

ACT Labor believes that people living with a disability should be given the opportunity and support to achieve their full potential and be valued as equal participants in our community.  We are committed to supporting services for people living with a disability and their families in the ACT.

That’s why we were the first to sign up for to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  Because we know that it’s the right thing to do.

Supporting Canberrans living with a disability remains a priority for ACT Labor as it moves to implement the NDIS as a launch site.

ACT Labor believes it is important that we continue to support the most vulnerable in our community and lend a helping hand to those who need it, when they need it, and where they need it.

ACT Labor understands the challenges that we face as a community in providing quality support to people with a disability, to their families and to their carers.  Under ACT Labor, funding for the disability sector has more than doubled since 2001.

But there is more to do.

If re-elected in 2012, ACT Labor will deliver $15 million to increase support for people with a disability, their families and carers – in schools, in the workforce and in the community.

 

Policy initiatives and costings

 

If re-elected ACT Labor will deliver almost $15 million for more disability support:

Funding for an extra half-day support per week to young people with a disability who have graduated from school, equating to an additional $5000 per person annually

$1.48 million to establish payroll tax concessions for businesses that employ school leavers with a disability

$1.67 million over four years to continue the Therapy Assistants in Schools program

An extra $400,000 for Carers ACT – the peak advocacy group for carers in the ACT – to help carers maintain their personal wellbeing

$3.75 million to build and service two 6-bedroom houses that provide accommodation for disability tenants with relatively low support needs

$3.0 million for the construction of three independent living housing complexes in partnership with community housing group Project Independence

$4.0 million over two years to commence a program to replace Canberra’s disability respite properties

$360,000 in 2013-14 to trial a mobile attendant care and evening service to provide ‘drop-in’ support for people living with a disability

An electronic ‘Taxi Smart-Card’ system for people with a disability who rely on taxi services, replacing the existing paper-based system.

 

ACT Labor’s plan to deliver more support to Canberrans living with a disability, their families and to carers

Capital

2013-14

($m)

2014-15

($m)

2015-16

($m)

2016-17

($m)

TOTAL

($m)

Community supported disability housing

0.4

1.0

1.6

-

3.0

Project Independence*

1.0

2.0

-

-

3.0

Replacement of respite properties

2.0

2.0

-

-

4.0

TOTAL

3.4

5.0

1.6

-

10.0

* Government initiative announced on 13 September, using funds allocated in the 2012-13 Budget.

 

Recurrent

2013-14

($m)

2014-15

($m)

2015-16

($m)

2016-17

($m)

TOTAL

($m)

Post-school options – additional support*

0.25

-

-

-

0.25

Post-school options – payroll tax concessions

0.37

0.37

0.37

0.37

1.48

Therapy assistants program

-

0.54

0.56

0.57

1.67

Carers caring for carers

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.40

Community supported disability housing ***

-

0.15

0.30

0.30

0.75

Mobile attendant care and evening service

0.36

-

-

-

0.36

Taxismart card system **

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

TOTAL

1.08

1.16

1.33

1.34

4.91

* Funding for 2014-15 and beyond will be determined as the NDIS is developed and provided from the Commonwealth and through the ACT NDIS support package.

** As this service will be put to tender, it is not appropriate to show costings

*** Recurrent cost based on phase-in of support as construction is completed

 

 

ACT Labor is already delivering record investment for disability services

Under Labor, ACT Government funding for disability services has doubled in the past decade, and recent Budgets have seen a suite of new programs and services funded to ensure that support for the disability sector continues to grow.

There are approximately 45,000 people with a disability living in the ACT.  When ACT Labor came to Government, we inherited an under‐resourced and neglected disability sector from the Canberra Liberals.

ACT Labor has more than doubled disability funding since 2002-03, from $41.5 million to $84.2 million in 2012-13, and the recent ACT Budget saw further investment into disability services.

In the 2012-13 Budget, ACT Labor delivered:

  • $1 million to continue the successful Therapy Assistants Program in ACT Schools, which provides children with a disability or developmental delay with additional therapy support;
  • $3 million over three years to build properties for people with disabilities;
  • $445,000 to establish a Community Visitor Scheme, which will provide an independent and informal service for identifying, resolving or referring matters of concern for people with a disability.

Most recently, ACT Labor has committed to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and was one of the first States and Territories to sign-up as an NDIS launch site.

Commencing from July 2013 in the ACT, the NDIS represents an historic shift in the way disability services are provided.  It will give people with disability, their families and carers more choice and control over the services and support they need and certainty that their reasonable and necessary care and support needs will be met.

 

Delivering more for students living with a disability

In 2011-12 the ACT Labor Government provided $400,000 for new after school care and holiday services for children and young people with complex behaviour associated with autism and other developmental delays and these services commenced in February 2012.

These programs provide opportunity for young people to enjoy activities such as sports, arts and other recreational pursuits while offering additional support to parents and carers to continue to work or have a respite experience.  These programs include:

  • Northcott Disability Services is providing after school and vacation programs from Black Mountain School to meet the needs of young people with high and complex needs including those with autism.
  • Belconnen Community Service is providing after school and vacation programs for teenagers at the Belconnen Community Centre.
  • Holiday programs at Malkara and Cranleigh Schools.  These offer families the opportunity to engage with programs that can meet the unique support needs of their child and enhance sustainability in often stressful periods of supporting a child during the school holidays.

ACT Labor has also recently announced that if re-elected we will provide $10 million over four years to support students with learning disabilities, in both mainstream and special school environments.  But there is more to do.

How ACT Labor will continue to support Canberrans with a disability, their parents and carers

ACT Labor will provide an extra $5000 per person to provide an extra half-day support each week, or other much-needed assistance, to young people with a disability who have graduated from school.

ACT Labor’s commitment to parents and carers of young people with a disability will improve the ability of families to remain at work and provide a meaningful service for young people graduating from school.

This measure will help the families of up to 69 student graduates who have left or will leave school from end of the 2011 to 2013 school years by providing $5,000 in additional funding per person.

It will help by lowering stress on families, increase their capacity to contribute to the work place and community, and increase opportunities for young people to engage in meaningful ‘person centred’ activities.

The additional funding will commence at the beginning of 2013 and will continue until additional support under the NDIS are put in place in 2014.

 

ACT Labor will provide $1.48 million to establish payroll tax concessions for businesses that employ school leavers with a disability

The payroll tax concession, in the form of a rebate of $4,000, will be paid for each new employee with a disability who has just left school after completing Year 12.

It is expected that this will result in 36 students being employed full-time and 57 part-time in 2014, with similar numbers in subsequent years.  ACT Labor is committing $1.48 million over four years to deliver this initiative.

 

ACT Labor will commit $1.67 million over four years to continue the successful Therapy Assistants in Schools program

In the 2011-12 Budget the ACT Labor Government funded a Therapy Assistants In Schools pilot program to provide children with a disability and children from vulnerable families with developmental delays with additional therapy support, aimed at improving the child’s capacity for communication, learning, mobility and self-care.

The Therapy Assistant model is based on non professional staff being supervised by professional staff and implementing individual client and school based programs.

Early outcomes from the program indicate significant gains for the 150 students undertaking the program, with 78 per cent of children completing a program reaching or exceeded their target goal, and 85 per cent improving in standardised testing.

Following the success of this program, ACT Labor committed $1 million in the 2012-13 Budget to fund it through to 2013-14.  ACT Labor will commit $1.67 million to provide funding certainty for the program for the next four years.

 

An extra $400,000 for Carers ACT – the peak advocacy group for carers in the ACT – to help carers maintain their personal wellbeing

ACT Labor understands that the great work our carers do can only be maintained if they look after their own health and wellbeing, not only those of the people for whom they are caring.

ACT Labor will therefore provide additional funding of $400,000 to Carers ACT to be used to help carers maintain their personal wellbeing.

 

$3.75 million to build and service two 6-bedroom houses that provide congregate living for disability tenants with relatively low support needs

 

ACT Labor will build two 6-bedroom houses on two sites, similar to the Ross Walker Lodge model, at a cost of $3.0 million.  This will provide congregate living for disability tenants with relatively low support needs.

 

This service will offer supported accommodation for up to 10 people with 1 bedroom each and a staffroom or sleepover room for staff.

Subject to a needs assessment of each individual, the support costs are estimated at $150,000 per house.

 

$3.0 million for the construction of three independent living housing complexes in partnership with community housing group Project Independence

 

In September 2012 the ACT Labor Government committed to establish three 3-bedroom units at two sites, at a cost of $3.0 million, which will provide independent living accommodation for young people with mild disabilities, and who need long term certainty in a loan/ license tenure.  This will be similar to affordable housing and the system in retirement homes where individuals ‘buy’ the equity.

 

A third site will be established, financed through fundraising and philanthropy on land provided by the ACT Government.

 

Part-time support will also be provided, funded from a proportion of the income of the tenants/ owners.  ACT Labor reaffirms the commitment to this important initiative.

 

$4.0 million over two years to commence a program of replacing Canberra’s disability respite properties

ACT Labor will commit $4 million over two years to commence a program of replacing Canberra’s four disability respite properties – Elourera, Hughes, Teen and Kese – with new purpose-built facilities.

The Government committed $250,000 in the 2010-11 budget for a feasibility study into the centre-based respite services delivered by Disability ACT.  The study was commissioned to determine the optimal physical design, property requirements and service model for centre-based respite services.

The program will commence with the establishment of two new properties – one for adults and one for children – to replace two of the current sites, namely Hughes and Kese.

$360,000 in 2013-14 to trial a mobile attendant care and evening service to provide ‘drop-in’ support for people living with a disability

ACT Labor is committed to providing suitable and accessible services for people with disability across the ACT at all times of the day or night.

Currently the options for support outside ‘business’ hours for a person with disability in the ACT are limited.  If the person does not have family or other assistance, there is a high likelihood that they will be unable to access support.

ACT Labor will trial a mobile team of overnight shift workers to supply overnight “drop in” support around the ACT.  It will enable people with disability to access the intermittent support they need when they need it after hours and overnight as opposed to having to engage a support worker on a continuous overnight basis.

 

 

An electronic ‘Taxi Smart-Card’ system for people with a disability who rely on taxi services, replacing the existing paper-based system.

ACT Labor will introduce the ‘Taxi Smart-Card’ system for eligible people who are unable to use public transport due to a severe or profound activity limitations, replacing the old paper-based system. The system will be similar to the MyWay card system.

At present taxi vouchers are provided in a paper-based form to approximately 3,500 members, to support social inclusion and participation of community members who would otherwise be at risk of social isolation.  The existing system of vouchers can be inconvenient for members, especially where gross motor skills may be impaired, as the forms have to be manually filled out.

$300,000 was provided in the 2011-2012 Budget for a scoping study into the introduction of an electronic card system to replace the current paper based system.  ACT Labor will now commit to introduction of the ‘Taxi Smart-Card’ with ongoing funding.