Disabilities Services Minister Tony McRae says the Federal Minister Mal Brough is twisting the truth if he believes Western Australia was slow in signing up to a program to remove young people from nursing homes, when the State initiated the program in the first place.
“This is a sad reflection on Commonwealth priorities, because WA was the first Australian State or Territory to have a program to move young people from nursing homes,” Mr McRae said.
“The WA Government, through the Young People in Nursing Homes program, has moved more than 90 young people into community-based housing from nursing homes.
“Our commitment to remove young people from nursing homes is reflected in State funding of nearly $57million, compared with just $7.4million from the Commonwealth.
“In the past six months, the Carpenter Government funding has seen another six young people housed in the community, rather than in nursing homes.
“By June 30 this year, this number will increase to nine, meeting the original target set with the Commonwealth Government.
“In July last year, the State Government provided additional funding for the Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) program but we are now waiting for Commonwealth funding after signing the Bilateral Agreement in December 2006.
“Any delay in signing the Bilateral Agreement was due to our efforts to have the Commonwealth acknowledge that the State Government was already spending more than $7million each year on the program and we were asking them to match our commitment.
“Under the agreement we signed in December, 73 people over the next five years will move into community-based housing, but this could have been 123 people if the Commonwealth matched our contributions.”
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