HOME AND COMMUNITY CARE PROGRAM
The Hon. S. B. MUTCH: I address my question without notice to the Minister for Health and Community Services. Will the Minister inform the house whether the home and community care program has achieved geographic coverage of New South Wales for all major service types?
The Hon. J. P. HANNAFORD: Members are familiar with the home and community care program and are aware of its importance. All honourable members know that this is a joint State and Federal program designed to prevent the premature and inappropriate institutionalisation of frail aged and young people with disabilities. The program involves the provision of 12 different service types. Those services are based on the needs within a particular area. The needs-based planning enables the ageing and young people with disabilities to maintain independent lifestyles within the community, ensuring that they are not confined to institutions, as has happened in the past. Services offered under the HACC program range from community transport to home maintenance and modification, Meals on Wheels and community nursing. All of the 12 services offered under the program go towards assisting in the independent living of all members of society.
It is expected that at the end of funding round six of the program it will have achieved complete geographic coverage of all major service types. That means that all high priority HACC clients should have access to one of each type of service in their local catchment area. Funding under the HACC program increased in 1990-91 to $168.8 million. That is an increase of $21.1 million over expenditure for 1989-90 and $58.1 million more than funding in the last year of the former Labor Government. All honourable members, especially those opposites should note those figures. Geographic coverage of New South Wales by home and community care services is a major step in ensuring that premature and inappropriate institutionalisation of the ageing and young people with disabilities does not occur. As we now have geographic coverage of these 12 programs, at least persons in acute need have access to the services. Now that those services, at least in their primal
state, are available across the State, we are able to give consideration to expanding services as funds become available.