The State Government will spend almost $150 million this year on specific services and programs for people with disabilities.
Disabilities Services Minister Eric Ripper today said allocation as part of the Budget handed down this week reaffirmed the State Government's commitment to helping people with disabilities live full, active and independent lives.
Government agencies whose primary activities are helping Western Australians with disabilities have received $93 million, up 2.9 per cent on last year's allocation.
The Authority for Intellectually Handicapped Persons share of this is $85.6 million, a rise of $1.2 million.
The Bureau of Disability Services' vote is up 23.4 per cent to $7.4 million. The Bureau's prime role will be in implementing overall Government initiatives in disabilities included in the Budget and the Government's Social Advantage package.
Mr Ripper said funding for non-Government agencies offering disability services and programs had risen 28.3 per cent to $24 million.
The increase mainly was because of an increase in the number of agencies to 34.
"The next few years pose real challenges for us all as we strive to improve the quality of life for Western Australians with disabilities," Mr Ripper said.
"These challenges can only be met in full co-operation and in a spirit of goodwill and partnership between the Government and non-Government sectors."
Mr Ripper said new initiatives in this year's Budget including those already announced in the Social Advantage package were:
· $790,000 for constructive day activities for school-leavers with disabilities.
· $450,000 for school therapy services.
· $200,000 for grants to support individuals.
· $110,000 to rationalise and extend the subsidised taxi voucher scheme.
A community awareness campaign, Finding Better Ways, also would be implemented.
Mr Ripper said on-going activities included accommodation services ($58.9 million); personal development and support services ($13.6 million); and employment services $10.1 million.
Specific programs include:
· Education - $24.2 million for specialist teaching for 3,000 children in support schools, centres and units and a further $2.4 million to support 1,000 children with disabilities in mainstream schools.
· Health - $2.3 million for therapy services in education support and language development units, $6.5 million for aids and appliances and $4.6 million for non-Government agencies involved in a range of services for people with disabilities.
· Housing - $1.6 million for building or converting 24 properties to meet the needs of people with disabilities and $7.3 million in rent assistance.
· Transport - $3 million for concession fare subsidies including the extension of the attendant care travel subsidy; $994,000 for the subsidised taxi scheme.
· Employment and training - $411,000 for special programs including $135,000 for four additional staff.
· Community services - $525,000 for medical and paramedical services.
· Sport and recreation - $153,000.