Commonwealth and State Ministers responsible for disability services have agreed to create a third Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement to operate from 2002 when the current agreement expires.
Meeting in Wellington, New Zealand, today, the Australian Ministers agreed to develop a national framework to underpin funding and administrative arrangements for the third CSDA.
Western Australian Minister for Disability Services Paul Omodei welcomed the decision on the CSDA and two associated agreements about funding and employment for people with disabilities with high support needs.
The meeting affirmed the commitment of the Commonwealth, States and Territories to maintain the current base funding levels for disability services under a third CSDA, including the significantly increased Commonwealth contributions announced recently for the last two years of the current CSDA.
“It is important for us to know that the Commonwealth’s increased payments to address unmet need will be built into the base for future funding,” Mr Omodei said.
“The State’s increased payments are already committed for a five-year period under our new business plan - Making a Difference.”
Mr Omodei said the renewed commitment to employment opportunities, including open employment, for people with high support needs was particularly important for WA.
“This is an issue on which we made strong representations to the Commonwealth and we look forward to early implementation of this commitment,” he said.
“Changes to the Commonwealth’s system in recent years have affected the smooth transition from school to work for many young people with disabilities.
“We will be following up on employment reforms to ensure that all school leavers assisted through our Post Schools Option program who need employment support are placed at an agency of their choice.”
Mr Omodei added that another important decision at the conference was the agreement by States and Territories to work together to assist people with disabilities to continue to receive support services when they moved interstate.
“This has been a successful conference which will add to the long-term security of people with disabilities who rely on support from the Commonwealth and State Governments,” the Minister said.
Media contact: Hugh Ryan 9213 6700