Disability Services Minister Kevin Minson and Health Minister Kevin Prince today announced grants of $1.45 million to 17 metropolitan and country hospitals for aids and equipment for people with long-term or permanent disabilities.
Mr Prince said the money would be used to buy equipment such as wheelchairs, hoists, splints, and shower chairs and for certain home modifications.
A further $1 million would also be provided this financial year to address the funding imbalance between the metropolitan area and the country, and would be directed to unfunded regional hospitals and to top up funds to other hospitals.
Mr Prince said funding had already been increased to $3 million for the next financial year and distribution could be widened to cover other service providers.
The new scheme, known as the Community Aids and Equiment Program, was established after a 1994 review found existing allocations for aids and equipment did not adequately address the special needs of people with long-term or permanent disabilities.
Mr Minson said the State Government had demonstrated its commitment to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities through the Government's multi-million dollar `Count Us In' strategy, launched by Premier Richard Court earlier this year.
"This $125.5 million package represents the biggest funding boost for disability services in the history of the State," he said.
"It will provide a broad range of services to people with disabilities into the year 2001, including accommodation support, respite services, direct support for families and funding for aids and equipment.
"The ultimate aim of this funding program is to help people with disabilities maintain or enhance their independence in the community.
"And by directing the funds to metropolitan service providers and regional hospitals, we are ensuring that local community needs will be met."
The following service providers have been granted funds:
Albany - $ 130,000
Mandurah - $ 19,800
Geraldton - $ 49,300
Avon Health Service - $ 15,000
Central Wheatbelt Health Service - $ 7,000
Western Health Service - $ 15,000
Merredin - $ 17,900
Kalgoorlie - $ 19,700
Armadale - $ 100,000
Swan - $ 10,000
Bentley - $ 20,000
Rockingham - $ 28,500
Fremantle - $ 120,000
Osborne Park - $ 74,600
Sir Charles Gairdner - $ 85,000
PMH/KEMH - $ 306,300
Royal Perth - $ 412,600
Media contact: Caroline Lacy 222 9211