Government support of community and disability services

What are Community services?

Although no nation-wide recognised definition of Community services exist in Australia at the time and community services usually relate with health and housing services, it is commonly accepted and Federal government identifies the following services as community support services:

Aged care services
Services for people with disabilities
Child protection services
Youth justice services

There are common KPR indicators and achievement outcomes related to equity, effectiveness and efficiency of service provision for the aged care, disability, child protection and youth justice service areas.

The Report on Government Services 2019  gives us a good understanding of the Government involvement in the community and disability services. In particular, Chapter 15 Services for people with disability and attachment tables (PDF – 5088 Kb) focuses on assistance provided by governments through specialist disability services under the National Disability Agreement (NDA) as well as the broad social and economic outcomes of people with disability.

In 2017-18, total government expenditure on specialist disability services provided under the NDA was $6.4 billion, which represents a decrease from 2016-17 by about of 17.8%. There was $7.7 billion support committed to the NDIS for 2017‑18. As the NDIS is progressively implemented to replace services under the NDA, funding for the NDIS will increase.

In 2016-17 disability support services continued to transition from the NDA to the NDIS, with 52 348 participants identified as NDIS participants at 30 June 2017. These were mostly existing State/Territory service users who had transferred at some time from NDA services.

Community Programs

The main goals of the Federal and State governments are ensuring people with disability and their carers have an enhanced quality of life, enjoy choice and wellbeing, achieve independence, social and economic participation, and full inclusion in the community programs and community services.

To achieve these goals, the Performance Indicator Framework was developed and published.

According to this Framework, characteristics that were assessed and measured included:

  • Service use by special needs groups;
  • Access to funded disability supports;
  • Younger people with disability in residential care;
  • Client and carer satisfaction;
  • Government contribution per user of non-government provided community services;
  • Cost per user of State and Territory administered services.

The following outcomes were considered:

  • Labour force participation and employment of people with disability;
  • Labour force participation of primary carers of people with disability;
  • Social participation of people with disability;
  • Use of mainstream services by people with disability;
  • Carer health and wellbeing.

Community Health Services

Currently community programs are provided by governments to people with disability and their carers through specialist disability services provided under the NDA as well as the NDIS.

The NDA provides the national framework and key areas of reform for the provision of government support and community health services for people with disability. Specialist disability services funded and provided under the NDA include:

  • accommodation support services, community support services, community access services, respite care services, employment services, advocacy, information and alternative forms of communication, and other support services. These services tend to be targeted at those who have profound or severe core activity limitations (see section 15.4 for definitions)
  • Basic Community Care (BCC) services funded under the NDA assist people with disability aged under 65 years to live independently and to actively participate and engage in community services. BCC services include basic maintenance and support services such as allied health care, assessment, case management and client care coordination, centre based day care, counselling, support, information and advocacy, domestic assistance, home maintenance, nursing, personal and respite care, social support, meals, home modification, linen service, goods and equipment and transport.

The NDIS provides reasonable and necessary supports to people with a permanent and significant disability and who need assistance with everyday activities and community programs. The scheme is underpinned by an insurance model and each individual seeking access is assessed according to a common set of criteria. Individuals who are deemed eligible receive a package of funding to purchase the supports identified in their individualised plan. The NDIS was established under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013.

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