Western Australians with disabilities have been warned about the disturbingly low priority being given to disability services by the State Opposition.
The Opposition's costing analysis of its election commitments released yesterday contains no commitment whatsoever to any extra funding for urgently required new disability services in areas such as accommodation and transport.
Disability Services Minister Eric Ripper said today the analysis had confirmed the worst fears of the estimated 191,000 Western Australians with some form of disability.
"Previous Opposition statements that disability services would be funded within the existing budget have been confirmed by this analysis, which shows that nothing extra will be spent," Mr Ripper said.
"This ignores the backlog of demand for accommodation for people with disabilities currently in the care of elderly parents, and overlooks the need for improvements in transport services for people with disabilities. Worse still, existing programs and services are threatened by what the Opposition calls `restructuring and efficiency measures'."
Mr Ripper said people working in the disabilities field would be very surprised to hear that the Opposition believed that savings were available within Government and non-Government disability service organisations.
The analysis had even grouped Health and Disability Services together, indicating an outdated mentality which regarded disability as a health problem.
"There is also no mention of the likely $700,000 cost of the seven different reviews promised in the Opposition's disability policy, which appears to have been written by academics for bureaucrats, with people for disabilities last in the list of priorities," Mr Ripper said.
The Minister said the Opposition's vague and apparently disinterested position contrasted with the Government's commitments to provide accommodation for an extra 50 people with disabilities each year; the $1 million expansion of travel subsidies, and the plan for a specialised bus service.