In this edition
Federal Budget Announcement
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Message from the CEO in response to Federal Government Budget
As result of the announcement of the new Federal Budget, the following may be of interest to our readers and members.
The Federal Budget summary announcement includes:
additional $29 Mil. to fund increases in demand on the Helping Children With Autism program
measures to increase the workforce participation of Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients
no projected increase to DES fee levels
indexation for Australian Disability Enterprises
a substantial funding package for mental health
$200 million to support the education of children with disability
tax changes that will affect some not-for-profit organisations
a Commonwealth funding increase to the States and Territories for disability services of $156 million
Autism Spectrum Disorders funding
The Budget also includes additional funding to meet increased demand for the Helping Children with Autism package; and provides funding for the Better Start for Children with Disabilities initiative promised at the 2010 Federal Election.
Government has announced an increase in the number of hours a Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipient can work before affecting their eligibility for DSP. At the same time new requirements are expected of DSP recipients under 35 years of age with an assessed work capacity of eight or more hours a week. These DSP recipients will be required to attend Centrelink interviews quarterly for the first 18 months and then twice yearly. DSP claimants will be required to provide evidence that they have tested their work capacity by participating in training or work-related activities.
The Budget also proposes a number of measures to assist employers offer employment to DSP recipients including:
wage subsidies of $3,000 will support the employment of about 1,000 job seekers registered with a DES who have been unemployed for 12 months or more;
employers will get $2,000 to assist with training and supervising a worker employed under the Supported Wage System (as long as they are employed for 26 weeks at 15 hours a week or more);
information and training will be targeted at employers and industry groups to improve their knowledge of programs such as DES and to build their confidence to employ people with disability
The Budget announces several changes relating to not-for-profit organisations:
an end to tax concessions of some unrelated commercial entities. Commercial activities that further the altruistic purpose of a not-for-profit entity (as well as small-scale unrelated commercial entities) won't be affected.
the establishment of an Australian Charities and NFP Commission to develop guidelines for the not-for-profit sector, and assess the charitable status of entities.
legislation to define a charity for all Commonwealth laws and all State/Territory laws if States and Territories agree. The definition would be subject to consultation with the sector and based on the 2001 report of the Inquiry into the Definition of Charities and Related Organisations.
The current statutory FBT multiple rates for car travel will be replaced with a single rate of 20% that applies regardless of the distance travelled. We shall provide members with further analysis of the impact of this measure.
National Mental Health Reform
The Budget details the expenditure of $2.2 billion over five years on mental health initiatives, $1.5 billion of which are new initiatives. They include expanding access to allied psychological services; the establishment of a National Mental Health Commission; more community mental health services; and coordinated care and flexible funding for people with 'severe and persistent mental illness'.
As reported previously, the Government will provide $200 million over two years to increase the support for students with disability.
National Disability Agreement
Commonwealth funding to the States and Territories will increase significantly from $1.052 billion in 2010-11 to $1.208 billion in 2011-12.
The Budget includes adjustments in payments to the States and Territories to ensure that the changes in roles and responsibilities for community care (HACC) under the National Health Reform agreement are budget neutral.