Nardy House Respite Care Facility
The Hon. JOHN RYAN: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Disability Services. Did Faye Lo Po', the Minister formerly responsible for Disability Services, promise on ABC radio on 29 November 2000 that the Carr Government would provide ongoing funding to Nardy House in Bega. Is it true that Nardy House is now completely vacant and is unable to provide respite services to any families because the Carr Government broke this promise and continues to refuse ongoing funding?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: I thank the Hon. John Ryan for his question, which is framed in very similar terms to a question that was asked in the other place. I am aware of the situation at Nardy House. As the Hon. John Ryan has stated, it is located about 20 minutes from Bega and its remote location poses problems for the model of service delivery and the client group that the committee proposes to serve. In that regard, the Hon. John Ryan suggested in the course of his question that there was a need for "respite service", or something to that effect. That is an important point because service delivery and the client group that the committee proposes to serve does not necessarily fit into that category. The Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care has proposed alternative models of care, but the local committee so far has declined to enter into negotiations. The funding agreement that the Nardy House committee signed on 25 November 2002 states clearly that the Government's funds would be used for capital—that is, to build the Nardy House centre.
The Hon. John Ryan: So we build it, but we will not staff it?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: The Hon. John Ryan should listen to the answer. The committee would provide the ongoing services and maintenance through other sources of funding, the use of volunteers and donated goods and services.
The Hon. John Ryan: What respite cottage in this State is funded by volunteers?
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: It is not a respite cottage. The Hon. John Ryan should take care or he will get himself into trouble. Given that the committee has been unable to meet the terms of the agreement, the department has proposed that Nardy House be utilised as a special purpose facility for other respite services in the region to use at peak times, or to provide an extended break for families providing care, or for giving families access through individual flexible respite funds. The Government has made available flexible respite funds to the Nardy House committee to assist it to get started on this model of care. I repeat that to date the committee has not accepted this offer.
The Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care is continuing negotiations with the Nardy House committee about these options. For 2005-06, the New South Wales Government has allocated a record $1.549 million to help more than 178,000 people with a disability, the frail aged and their families and carers. The funding represents an increase of 11.8 per cent over the 2004-05 budget and a four-year enhancement of $221 million.