Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper today welcomed Federal Budget initiatives which will provide significant benefits to the estimated 191,000 Western Australians with some form of disability.
Mr Ripper said the Budget reflected a determination, which the State Government supported, to provide for greater independence, employment opportunities and financial security for people with disabilities.
"The Commonwealth should be commended for taking into account these special needs, and, despite the tight economic times, considerable extra funding has been provided," the Minister said.
"Initiatives in helping people gain employment are particularly welcome."
These initiatives include a $10 a fortnight increase in the mobility allowance for people with disabilities in employment. There are about 141,000 people with mobility difficulties in the State.
The Budget provides for about 60 new places in WA under the work experience program, and 200 extra places to support people during training and job placement. The Budget could also see WA provided with one or two additional special employment placement officers who would work to provide employment for people with disabilities with major organisations.
Mr Ripper said about 70 Western Australians with more severe disabilities would benefit from expanded support for employers who recruited trainees with disabilities.
Workers in Disability Service agencies would also benefit from the introduction of award wages and conditions.
Western Australians were expected to receive about $2.6 million as their share of the national boost to Disability Support payments to take effect from January. Some 40,000 Western Australians would benefit from the $6 a fortnight increase in the Disability Support Pension. Disability Support Pensioners would also receive a $100 increase in the employment entry payment, and the requirement that they have received the pension for at least 12 months before qualifying, would be abolished.
Mr Ripper said Federal initiatives in employment support and transport re-inforced State initiatives in these areas.
"The State Government's $180 million Social Advantage package provided an extra $1.6 million in a full year - or $4 million over the next three years - specifically to help people with disabilities.
"The Budget initiative to help people with disabilities buy or modify motor vehicles complements the Social Advantage provision of taxi and travel concessions."
Mr Ripper said, based on a pro rata share, about 1,000 Western Australians who suffered from incontinence would benefit from the allocation of an extra $700,000 for the incontinence aid scheme.
"This initiative complements the State Government's Social Advantage expansion of the availability of respite support, laundry services and information for carers of people with incontinence."