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The number of people using disability support services increased
from 188,000 to 245,700, between 2003-04 and 2007-08, according to
a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and
'This represents a 31% increase in service users over the four
years,' said Nick Thompson of the AIHW's Functioning and Disability
Over the same four years, total government spending on
specialist disability services increased in real terms by 22%.
Of the different types of services available, respite and
employment services had the highest increases in service users, at
53% and 40% respectively over the period.
According to the report, Disability support services
2007-08, about 31,500 people used respite services in
'Use of respite services has grown from 96 users per 1,000
people in the target population in 2003-04 to 137 users per 1,000
in 2007-08,' Mr Thompson said.
Government spending per respite service user fell by 16% over
the period, although total expenditure on respite rose by 29%.
Close to 11,000 outlets delivered services funded under the
Commonwealth State/Territory Disability Agreement in 2007-08-an
increase of almost 25% since 2003-04.
The report also found that specialist disability employment
services were provided almost entirely by non-government
organisations and three-quarters of people who received state and
territory-funded services accessed those services through
Intellectual disability continues as the most frequent primary
disability, accounting for around one-third of service users in
2007-08. The service user population is ageing and of growing
Over 112,000 people who used specialist disability services in
2007-08 also had a personal carer, with nearly 60% of these carers
being the mothers of the service
Further information: Mr Nick Thompson, AIHW,
tel. 02 6244 1212, mob. 0407 915 851 or Ms Cathy Hales, AIHW, tel.
02 6244 1135.
For media copies of the report: Publications
Officer, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1032.
Disability support services 2007-08,