I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the minister representing the Minister for Social Justice a question about the Home and Community Care program.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: On Thursday 5 June 2003, the Minister for Social Justice and the commonwealth Minister for Ageing jointly announced a series of new services from 2002-03 appropriations for this important program which supports the frail elderly and people with disabilities and their carers. As all members should be aware, in 2003-04 the Rann Labor government decided not to provide growth funding. My questions to the minister are:
1. As of today (Thursday 10 July 2003), how many contracts for projects in 2002-03 are yet to be signed or resigned with agencies?
2. Have any agencies started to receive funding without their contracts having been signed; and, if so, which agencies?
3. Given the government’s failure to allocate growth funding, will there be a HACC funding round in 2003-04?
The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation): I thank the honourable member for her maiden question, and I will refer this important matter to the minister in another place and bring back a reply.
Monday 13 October 2003
In reply to Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (10 July).
The Hon. T.G. ROBERTS: The Minister for Social Justice has advised that:
1. In the 2002-03 Home and Community Care (HACC) funding round approximately 130 projects received new or expanded HACC funding. As at 10 July 2003, 80 contracts had been forwarded to agencies, 51 of which had been finalised. Of the contracts yet to be sent, negotiations are occurring with the relevant agencies to finalise the outputs. These negotiations were unable to take place until formal joint announcement of the new funding by the relevant State and Commonwealth Ministers, which occurred on 5 June 2003.
In addition to the above contracts, there were approximately 15 agencies with contracts expiring on 30 June 2003 which did not receive new or expanded HACC funding in the 2002-03 funding round. Interim arrangements have been entered into with these agencies extending the contracts until 31 December 2003 which has involved the formal exchange of letters to satisfy legal and related administrative requirements. This arrangement has been necessary given the need to review agreements with a large number of agencies at the same time.
2. No agencies have received, or will receive, new funding from the 2002-03 HACC funding round until a funding contract is negotiated and signed.
However, the following 10 agencies were due to receive new funding in the 2002-03 round and had existing contracts for recurrent funding due to expire on 30 June 2003:
Adelaide Central Mission;
the Barossa Council;
the City of Charles Sturt;
Colebrook Community Centre Inc;
the City of Holdfast Bay;
the Corporation of the City of Mitcham;
the District Council of Mount Barker;
Multicultural Aged Care Inc;
the Rural City of Murray Bridge and
the City of Port Adelaide Enfield
These agencies were advanced a first quarter payment for 2003-04 under the terms of their existing contracts. New contracts, taking into account additional funding from the 2002-03 round, were being negotiated concurrently. An advanced payment was made to best meet the needs of these agencies and to avoid disrupting service provision.
In these circumstances, the existing contracts are deemed to remain in force by mutual consent of the parties.
The contracts for the District Council of Mount Barker and Multicultural Aged Care Inc have since been finalised.
3. I am pleased to say that there will be a HACC funding round for 2003-04. Total recurrent program funding will rise by 7.7 per cent to $102.362 million, with approximately $7.350 million in additional recurrent funding becoming available. After payment of cost indexation for current HACC projects, there will be $5.093 million in recurrent growth funding to provide new and expanded services. There will also be approximately $3.2 million in one off funds available for short-term projects.
A call for expressions of interest in providing services using the additional funds will occur shortly.