On a 'snapshot' day in 2001, 64,000 people were receiving over 77,000 different services funded under the Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The services, for people who need ongoing support with everyday life activities, were provided by 7,700 service outlets nationwide.
Disability support services 2001: national data on services provided under the CSDA shows that the most commonly used services on the snapshot day were accommodation support services (used by 34% of service consumers), followed by employment services (28%), community support (27%), community access (25%) and respite services (4%).
Of the 64,000 people using disability services:
58% were male.
2.6% were of Indigenous origin.
Nearly half reported having more than one disability.
59% reported intellectual disability as their primary disability, while 12% specified physical disability.
Around 84% of consumers aged 16 or over said that the Disability Support Pension (DSP) was their main income source.
Report co-author Dr Phil Anderson said that trend data for 1999-2001 showed that the median ages for consumers of accommodation support, employment and respite services continue to rise, in line with the overall ageing of the Australian community.
'The proportion of disability support service recipients living with family members and/or spouses also continues to rise-from 40% in 1997 to 45% in 2001. Meanwhile the proportion living in institutions (including aged care homes and hospitals) fell from 16% to 10% over the same time period.'
Dr Anderson said that for the first time the report, which is produced every year, contains data on the geographic location of consumers of disability support services.
'What we're seeing in these initial figures is that people living in rural areas (but not remote areas) are more likely than their counterparts in the cities to be users of disability services.
'There were 3.1 consumers per 1,000 Australians aged under 65 living in rural areas compared with 2.8 per 1,000 in urban areas and 1.2 per 1,000 in remote areas (for State/Territory funded services).'
Information in this report relies on data collected by each State and Territory and the Commonwealth.