Barnett 'disrespecting' disabled people: Opposition
The Barnett Government is "disrespecting" disabled people in WA by reducing information about funding for vital services, the state opposition claims.
Over the last 10 years the Disability Services Commission has published funding bulletins every four months which outlined the Combine Application Process with details of how many people applied for funding, how many were successful and how many missed out, said WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan.
"In a clear attempt to avoid scrutiny the Barnett Government has removed the CAP funding bulletins from its website and will now only provide the information once a year," said Mr McGowan.
WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan said that the government was not being transparent.
"Mr Barnett is treating those with a disability with disrespect by not publishing these figures," he said.
Those waiting to hear about the results of their applications for funding relied on up-to-date information and deserved to know information on a regular basis he said.
"It is a question of transparency, it's a question of accountability, it's a question of the Government having enough courage to release the information that has been out there now for 10 years."
The DSC said on Sunday that the information in the bulletins had been previously released three times a year and this has changed to twice a year with a more comprehensive report.
Ron Chalmers director general of the DSC said the reason for the change is that it better suits the timing of the new funding programs.
"We have developed a bulletin that is far more comprehensive."
Dr Chalmers said he believes the opposition was trying to make it seem there was a reduction in funding given to those with a disability when in fact there will be a growth in payments this year and the DSC never reduce payments to individuals.
"I think this has been raised to make it appear that less funding has gone out this year."
"In 2013 we've seen a funding growth," Dr Chalmers said.
Shadow Minister for Disability Services Sue Ellery said the state government is hiding the figures by not providing the information.
Ms Ellery said the previous Labor government had may the move to report on the quarterly figures "because families and those with disabilities demanded transparency."
"Those numbers are quiet shocking and it took a brave government to do that," Ms Ellery said.
Minister for Disability Services Helen Morton hit back at the claims saying Mr McGowan was "playing politics" with the lives of people with a disability.
"Mark McGowan is clutching at straws to try and make something political out of nothing," Ms Morton said.
"It is an embarrassment for Labor that the best they can come out with is the regularity of DSC reporting on their website and even then McGowan got it wrong."
"WA people with disability and their families deserve better than McGowan trying to play politics with their lives."
Ms Morton said the state government's commitment to people with disability is demonstrated through the biggest ever growth in funding of $40 million this year for disability services in Western Australia.
"This is a good news story for the Barnett Government and McGowan knows it."