Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Disability iT Matters

Barnett hides information on disability funding

Labor Statement

The Barnett Government has concealed figures which show the number of Western Australians with a disability that are refused funding, WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan and Shadow Minister for Disability Services Sue Ellery said today.

Mr McGowan said for the past 10 years, the Disability Services Commission (DSC) published Combined Application Process (CAP) funding bulletins every four months, which outlined how many people applied for funding, how many were successful and how many missed out.

"In a clear attempt to avoid scrutiny the Barnett Government has removed the CAP funding bulletins from its website and will now only provide the information once a year," Mr McGowan said.

"What is also clear is that Mr Barnett has prioritised spending on his inner city pet projects like his new Palace and Elizabeth Quay over the needs of people with disabilities."

Shadow Minister for Disability Services Sue Ellery said this comes at a time when more than 81 per cent of people with a disability who applied for accommodation or support at home in the last published round missed out.

Ms Ellery said 34 year-old Hayden Stevens, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, has successfully applied for funding through the CAP once. However, as his condition has deteriorated, he has been refused funding to get the increased level of care he needs.

"Hayden's funding has not been reviewed for eight years and as a result of his degenerative disability his needs far exceed the current funds he has been allocated," she said.

"His two recent applications for a funding increase have both been rejected by the CAP panel and he will have to go to a nursing home if he does not receive the funding he needs.

"Over the past four years, between 70 per cent and 90 per cent of people seeking accommodation support, either within the family home or supported in the community or intensive care support at home, missed out on funding."

Ms Ellery said the CAP funding bulletins were introduced by the Gallop Labor Government, after families of Western Australians with disabilities demanded more transparency in the funding process.

"This information needs to be published regularly so families have a clear indication of the level of funding available and the number of other families applying for funding from the same pool," she said.

"I have no doubt they will feel disappointed that Mr Barnett's priority is hiding information rather than actually working constructively towards an National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and a more certain funding future for WA people with a disability."

Mr McGowan said it was no coincidence the Barnett Government removed the information from the DSC website after it failed to sign up to the NDIS.

"WA is missing out on a trial of the (NDIS) because of Mr Barnett's continued squabbling with Canberra," he said.

"The NDIS will be a universal entitlement scheme that will ensure Western Australians with a disability do not have to enter a lottery to get the support they need."

Mr McGowan said the Barnett Government's refusal to negotiate on the NDIS means families will continue to miss out and by removing the regular bulletins from its website, it is simply trying to avoid scrutiny.

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