Minister for Disability Services, Mental Health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Curtis Pitt said the 2011-2012 State Budget would boost services and support for the state’s most vulnerable Queenslanders.
Mr Pitt said people with a disability, a mental illness and the frail aged, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, would benefit from a record investment of $1.855 billion.
“These funds will make a real difference to people’s lives,” Mr Pitt said.
The 2011-2012 State Budget includes:
- 1.181 billion for disability services;
- $70.329 million for community mental health services;
- $523.714 million for home and community care services; and
- $80.337 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services
- An additional $11.7 million for disability services in Queensland;
- $2.5 million a year in capital funding for 2011-12 and 2012-13 to purchase land for disability and community care services in the North and Far North Queensland and Brisbane;
- On top of $40 million over four years already committed to the Cape York Welfare Reform trial, a further $1.6 million has been set aside to allow for the possible continuation of the trial, subject to outcomes of community consultation; and
- $11.2 million for a Mental Health Disaster Recovery Package over three years to deliver community-based support and services to help people recover from the state’s natural disasters (funded by the State and Federal Governments, including under NDRRA).
“With these funds we will be able to help people doing it tough, whether they live in remote Cape York, the cyclone-ravaged Cassowary Coast or in flood-damaged parts of the state.”
“These funds will support and strengthen our resolve to rebuild. Operation Queenslander is not just about rebuilding roads and buildings, it’s about rebuilding people’s lives,” he said.
Budget delivers new hope for people with a disability
More younger people with a disability will be given the right support to meet their needs in a $2.5 million budget down-payment on land for special housing.
Minister Pitt said the 2011-2012 State Budget would provide $2.5 million a year over the next two years in capital funding to buy sites for housing in North and Far North Queensland and in Brisbane.
“Out of these funds, over the next two financial years, we will buy land for purpose-designed and built accommodation for Queenslanders with a disability or a mental illness who need support,” Mr Pitt said.
“It means they can live in a familiar and safe environment with the right support to meet their needs.
“It’s about giving younger people with a disability the opportunity to live in specially designed or adapted housing closer to home, rather than a residential aged-care facility.
“They will be able to live independently, with support, and with people closer to their own age and interests.” Mr Pitt said.
The funding is part of a record investment of $1.775 billion in disability and community care to support Queenslanders with a disability or a mental illness, their families and carers.
Budget delivers change for the better in Cape York
On top of the $40 million over four years already committed for the Cape York Welfare Reform trial, a further $1.6 million has been set aside in the 2011-2012 State Budget to allow for the possible continuation of the trial mid-next year.
Minister Pitt has been consulting with Mayors and community leaders on the future of the Cape York Welfare Reform trial.
“The ground-breaking trial has played no small part in bringing about changes for the better in Aurukun, Hope Vale, Mossman Gorge and Coen,” Mr Pitt said.
“Its policies have helped shape communities to put them on a better path where school attendance is up and levels of violence are down,” Mr Pitt said.
The trial began in 2008 in partnership with the Federal Government, the Cape York Institute and the men, women and children of the four communities.
“While the results are promising, we know there is more work to be done and we will continue to work even harder to close the gap on health, education and well-being for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“I’m keen to listen and learn from local communities about where to from here with the Cape York Welfare Reforms and it’s good to know we’ve got this funding ready if needed,” he said.
Mr Pitt said a lot of people and organisations had a role to play in the success of the trial.
“The Family Responsibilities Commission has been a shining example of what can be achieved when communities embrace reform with courage and conviction.
“It links welfare payments to social benchmarks, including school attendance, and its results in getting children to school have been one, big success story,” he said.
Between semester one 2008 and semester one last year, school attendance rates in Aurukun increased from 43.7 per cent to 62.1 per cent. In the same period, Mossman Gorge school attendance rates increased from 74.4 per cent to 83.6 per cent. Hope Vale rose from 84.4 per cent to 86.5 per cent.
Mr Pitt said the 2011-2012 State Budget provided $80.337 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
“We remain determined, as a government, to continue to work hard to build a better, brighter future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“With these funds, we will be able to continue to roll out better housing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, create jobs and job opportunities and deliver better health and education outcomes right across Queensland,” he said.