Empowering Tasmanians with Disability
Thu 17 May 2012
Minister for Human Services
Ensuring Tasmanians with disability have the support they need and greater independence is a key focus of disability funding this financial year, the Minister for Human Services Cassy O'Connor said today.
The budget for Disability Services in 2012-13 has been increased by just over $12.6 million to $175.8 million - which includes funding for increased wages, indexation and unit pricing.
"We take our commitment to supporting Tasmanians with disability seriously, and I'm pleased that despite the ongoing challenges our budget is facing we have been able to maintain services to people living with disability," she said.
"The Budget includes greater provision for the transition to unit pricing - which will help deliver sustainability in the sector, and give disability clients the confidence that they will be able to access the quality services they need.
"This complements our ongoing reform of the sector through the transition to the Gateway intake and assessment service."
Ms O'Connor said the Government was committed to giving Tasmanians living with disability greater personal control over the services they receive.
"It is widely accepted that self-directed funding for people who need lifetime packages of support, like our current Individual Support Packages, is the way of the future," she said.
"It empowers Tasmanians living with disability, their families and carers to make informed choices that best meet an individual's needs.
"Over the coming year, we will be launching a pilot project giving Tasmanians with disability the option of managing their own funding directly.
"By offering this choice, we are giving these Tasmanians more flexibility and more independence."
Ms O'Connor said that Tasmania's reform of the disability service system leads the country, and Tasmania remains well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities from the new National Disability Insurance Scheme to help people living with disability.
"Ensuring Tasmania can be one of the launch sites for the NDIS is a high priority, and I will continue to work with the Premier, the sector and clients to state the case for Tasmania as a launch site," she said.
"The demand for disability services continues to outstrip supply and the funding made available. I appreciate there is still concern within the community sector about how these services can be delivered," she said.
"Through unit pricing we are working towards a more sustainable sector into the future.
"I am committed to working with the people with disability, their families, carers and the broader community sector to ensure that we deliver services in the most efficient and effective way possible."