Spending on disability support services provided under the National Disability Agreement rose by 10% between 2010-11 and 2011-12, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The report, Disability support services: services provided under the National Disability Agreement 2011-12, provides information on spending on disability support services, changes in service use and the support needs of service users.
'It is important to have up to date information about people who use disability services as the disability policy and service delivery environment continues to evolve, for example, with the introduction of DisabilityCare Australia,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Pamela Kinnear.
'Spending on disability support services has continued to rise-after adjusting for inflation, it grew to $6.9 billion in 2011-12, up 10% from 2010-11 and up 28% since 2007-08.'
The number of people using disability support services grew significantly (by almost 30%) over the five years between 2007-08 and 2011-12.
However, growth in the use of services slowed since 2010-11, with a small (1%) rise recorded between 2010-11 and 2011-12. This compares with a 7% rise between 2009-10 and 2010-11.
'This is reflected in the rate of service use, which remained steady between 2010-11 and 2011-12 at about 1 in 70 people, after rising each year up until that point (from 1 in 85 in 2007-08),' Dr Kinnear said.
There were some differences in the types of services used between 2010-11 and 2011-12.
'Notably, the use of accommodation support and community support services both fell by around 3%,' Dr Kinnear said.
'On the other hand, the use of community access and employment services both increased over that time, by 5% and 4% respectively.'
Among users of disability support services, the most commonly-reported disability groups continue to be intellectual (33%), physical (32%) and psychiatric (28%).
Most service users needed some assistance in the activities of daily living (52%), independent living (61%) and in work, education and community living (57%).
'Around a quarter of service users used more than one type of service,' Dr Kinnear said.
Disability support service users also received assistance from 133,841 informal carers, an increase of 5% from 127,777 service users with an informal carer in 2010-11.
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.