How is $117 million in recurrent funding for disability services in Tasmania spent? ($96.5 million is allocated by the the State, $20.7 million by the Federal Government).

Where is the additional $80 million over four years promised by Premier Paul Lennon in the June 2005 Budget?

These are questions the peak national disability services organisation, ACROD, wants answered. And because it hasn’t seen a cracker spent, it wants the Auditor-General to find out where that $80 million has been secreted, and to conduct an immediate review of how the Disability Services Budget is calculated and disbursed.

A draft submission to Treasury by ACROD Tasmania obtained by Crikey is a hot potato. ACROD Tasmania represents 37 disability services organisations which deliver about 70% of all services in Tasmania.

Okay, it’s not an independent assessment, but it’s a damning indictment of the delivery of services to those most in need.

Since November 2004, ACROD has consistently attempted to clarify the detail of the Disability Services Budget – which represents one tenth of the Department of Health and Human Services Budget – but it is not itemised.

The executive summary states:

1. It is not possible to assess the balance between service delivery and administration.

2. There is no accreditation of services and little recognition of cost effective services.

3. Crisis management determines funding levels rather than strategic forward planning.

4. There is no transparency about the allocation of the $117 million.

“We are deeply concerned that there is limited recognition within DHHS that Disability Services requires a major review of its role and financial allocation … We do not consider that the current budget of $117 million is being allocated in the best interests of those Tasmanians who rely on government to provide disability services.”

Peter Fray

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