The NSW Government today announced a further $2 billion investment in disability services over the next five years for the second phase of the Stronger Together 2006-2016 initiative - reaching out to the most vulnerable in the community and supporting their carers.
The first five years of the program has already injected $1.3 billion in growth funding to the disability sector.
This is the largest investment in disability services in New South Wales’ history and the most significant investment made by a State Government anywhere in Australia.
The additional funding will increase disability services capacity by an estimated 47,000 places over the next five years.
This funding is in addition to the $2.02 billion it will cost to continue to fund the expansion of disability services already provided under the first five years of the program.
It brings the total new investment by NSW over the ten years of Stronger Together 2006-2016 to a record $5.5 billion.
In addition, the NSW Government will provide a payroll tax exemption for employers of people with disabilities. The exemption will apply to all new employees who are employed after 30 June 2011.
The exemption will be provided in the form of a rebate to employers who fully pay the wages of employees with a disability.
The package follows extensive public consultation with disability service providers, people with a disability, their carers and their families.
Premier Kristina Keneally and Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose today joined disability service providers, people with a disability and their carers to announce the expansion of Stronger Together.
“Stronger Together has already delivered an additional 29,000 disability service places, and has helped service providers to be more responsive to the individual needs of people with a disability and their families,” Ms Keneally said.
“The disability sector has made it clear through our consultation sessions carried out earlier this year that Stronger Together has made a positive difference to people’s lives.
“We recognise there is still more to do to make sure we get the plan right for the next five years.
"People with a disability in NSW need more support, as do their families and carers, and this package is about giving disability service providers the flexibility they need to better respond to people’s needs.
“The Stronger Together program demonstrates how government and non-government sectors can work together to provide certainty for people with a disability, their families and carers.”
Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose said providing payroll tax exemptions for employers of people with disabilities will help deliver the NSW Government’s State Plan target of an extra 6,000 jobs for people with disabilities by 2016.
“This is great news for people with a disability and follows an announcement by the NSW Government earlier this year exempting employers of people with a disability from normal tendering requirements for Government goods and services,” Mr Primrose said. “The new register enables Government agencies to procure goods and services from companies that hire people with a disability without having to go through a separate tender process.
“National Disability Services (NDS) will keep a procurement register on behalf of eligible companies that fulfil certain requirements.
“The changes are detailed in a Premier’s Memorandum that encourages NSW Government agencies to access more goods and services from the register.”