Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)
Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 doing. The terms 'intellectually handicapped' and 'physically handicapped' cover a whole range of disabilities ranging from minor to multiple disabilities. We are speaking about an extremely emotional issue, and I would be interested to know how many meetings the member for Nhulunbuy or other members of the opposition have attended to discuss these matters. I can assure you that I have attended those meetings, and I am well and truly aware of the very real emotional factors involved. The government has to meet the very wide and diverse needs of the community. It has provided, and will continue to provide, a great deal of assistance in caring for physically disabled and intellectually impaired Territorians. Whether the member for Nhulunbuy knows it or not, it is generally accepted that, far from doing nothing, we are giving a lead to Australia in many cases. For example, in the Territory we are trying to integrate handicapped people into the broader community. We have had a great deal of success in the areas of sport and education. Government policy enables handicapped children to attend schools. We have schools that are built to cater for the needs of handicapped people. We have a government policy in respect of access in public buildings. At enormous cost, buildings are upgraded to give access to handicapped people. Yet we hear from the member for Nhulunbuy that none of this happens. What a load of nonsense! So many steps have been taken as a result of government initiatives. We are not hampered by the old habits of institutionalisation as occurred in the states 50 years ago. You, Mr Speaker, would be aware of that. Professional advice is that we should be moving away from institutionalisation to smaller community organisations such as Somerville Homes which is funded totally by the government. I will come back to that issue because I think it needs to be spelt out. There is no question that health care is expensive. No state or territory can have a perfect health service, but this government does care and is trying to meet the widest possible range of needs. This is illustrated by our distribution of funds. It is annoying to see that the member for Nhulunbuy has no idea whatsoever of how much the government spends. I wi 11 refer to a few areas where support is given. Under the heading of residential care, by means of grants-in-aid, the Department of ~ealth funds a wide range of services and facilities. In 1986-87, the residential cottage at the Alice Springs Spastic Centre received nearly $114 ODD, which represents a 100% salary subsidy. The Bindi Centre in Alice Springs received $64 602 for 2 residential cottages for intellectually disabled adolescents and adults, plus supplementary funding from the Commonwealth. The Handicapped Persons Association was funded for its residential care cottage for disabled adolescents and adults. Somerville Community Services was fully funded for 2 residential care cottages. Bunyip House for severely disabled children received $185 000 and the coordinator's salary was 80% subsidised by the Commonwealth. Read Cottage for adolescents and young adults received $30 000 with additional Commonwealth funding of approximately $215 ODD, including a subsidy for coordinators of both cottages. Somerville receives a further Northern Territory grant of $42 000 to cover payroll tax on the organisation's entire activities. St Mary's Child and Family Welfare Service in Alice Springs received nearly $96 000 for its residential care cottage for disabled children. Our total funding commitment in the residential area last year was over $500 000 and, if Commonwealth funds of $370 000 are added to that it can be seen that government has' supported residential care to the tune of almost $lm. 794
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