The data in this report come from the Commonwealth/State Disability Agreement Minimum Data Set (CSDA MDS) collection conducted on a snapshot day in May - June 2001, and cover State, Territory and Commonwealth CSDA-funded services. This report includes and significantly expands the information published in Disability Support Services: First National Results, 2001, released on the web site of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in January 2002.

This report provides estimates relating to a single 'snapshot' day and deals with:

  • consumers and their characteristics;
  • services received; and
  • service outlets which deliver CSDA-funded services.

Data for each previous annual collection have been published by the AIHW. See Appendix 1 for a list of the most recent reports, and for other publications dealing with CSDA MDS data.

Consumers and services received

There were an estimated 63,830 consumers on the snapshot day in 2001, who received a total of 77,205 CSDA-funded services from 7,712 service outlets.

The State with the largest proportion of consumers was Victoria, which had 34% of all consumers. New South Wales had the second highest proportion of consumers (26%), followed by Queensland (13%) and Western Australia (12%) (Table 1.1).

On the snapshot day:

  • 34% of consumers used accommodation support services, in both institutional and community settings (Table 1.1);
  • 28% used employment services, covering open employment and supported employment services;
  • 27% used community support services, which include early childhood intervention, specific therapies, counselling and recreation programs. Also included are case management and regional coordination services;
  • 25% used community access services, mainly covering educational, social and daily living activities; and
  • 4% used respite services, facilities providing short-term breaks from caring activities to carers of people with a disability.

Of these service groups, the Commonwealth is responsible for employment services, and the States and Territories for all other service groups (see Chapter 2 for more details).

Table 1.1: Consumers of CSDA-funded services on a snapshot day, service group by State and Territory (Commonwealth, States and Territories), 2001
Service group NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Total %
Accommodation support 6,111 7,068 3,361 2,101 2,020 719 281 116 21,775 34.1
Community support 3,383 5,525 1,506 3,764 2,316 174 216 129 17,011 26.7
Community access 3,663 7,979 2,180 705 489 504 145 39 15,703 24.6
Respite 553 998 438 386 165 78 47 37 2,702 4.2
Employment 6,019 3,929 2,652 2,099 2,101 513 279 139 17,730 27.8
Total consumers 16,877 21,868 8,546 7,513 6,218 1,604 825 422 63,830 100.0


  1. Consumer data are estimates after use of a statistical linkage key to account for individuals who received more than one service on the snapshot day. Totals may not be the sum of the components since individuals may have accessed more than one service group on the snapshot day. There were 43 consumers who accessed services in more than one State or Territory, mainly in 'border' areas.
  2. Data for consumers of the following CSDA-funded service types were not collected: advocacy, information/referral, combined advocacy/information, print disability/alt. formats of communication, service evaluation/training, peak bodies, research/development and other.
  3. Data provided by the Commonwealth are preliminary and cover 99% of Commonwealth-funded services.

Sex and age

Overall, 58% (37,136) of consumers were male (Table 3.4); however, this proportion varied with service group from 54% for respite services to 64% for employment services (Table 3.5).

There were greater numbers of males for all but the oldest age category (70+ years) (Figure 3.1). The most consumers were in the 30 - 34 and 35 - 39 year age groups (6,966 and 6,950 respectively). The median age of consumers of accommodation, respite and employment has risen between 1999 and 2001, whilst the median age of consumers of community access fallen over the same time period. Trends in community support were difficult to establish given the vast array of services within this service group, but the median age has fallen by 1.5 years between 1999 - 2001 (Figure 3.2 and Table A2.3).

Disability groups

The most commonly reported disability group was intellectual, reported by 59% of consumers as their primary disability, and 67% of consumers as one of their significant disabilities (Table 3.8 and Figure 1.1). The next most common disability group was physical, reported as primary by 12% of consumers, and as a significant disability by 28%. Speech was the third most commonly reported group when all significant disabilities were considered (19% of consumers); however it was the second smallest group reported as a primary disability (0.5% of consumers).

Almost half of all consumers (49%) reported having more than one disability (Table 3.7). Consumers who reported neurological as their primary disability were found to be most likely to report at least one other significant disability (this group had an average of 2.1 disabilities per consumer), whilst the least likely to report other significant disability groups were those reporting their primary disability as psychiatric (average of 1.3 disabilities per consumer).

Figure 1.1: Consumers of CSDA-funded services on a snapshot day, primary disability group and all significant disability groups (Commonwealth, States and Territories), 2001

figure 1_1

Source: Table 3.8.

Indigenous status

Overall, 1,685 consumers (2.6%) were identified as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin or both (Table 3.12). This compares with the figure of 2.4% of Indigenous Australians in the general population under 65 (Table 3.13). There is a much higher proportion of Indigenous consumers in respite services (5.3%), and a lower proportion using community access and employment services (2.0%) (Table 3.14).

Indigenous consumers were found to be, on average, much younger than non-Indigenous consumers (Figure 3.9). Since the proportion of not known/not stated responses for the Indigenous status item is 4% or over in this and all previous collections, any trends over a number of years are very difficult to interpret.

A higher proportion of Indigenous consumers were found to have a need for continual support in all three life areas - activities of daily living, home and social living, and education, work and leisure (Table 3.18).

Support needs

Information was collected concerning consumers' overall support needs in each of 10 life areas, grouped into three more general areas: activities of daily living (ADLs), home and social living (HSL), and education, work and leisure (EWL). The highest proportion of consumers needing continual support was for EWL activities (47%), followed by 43% in HSL and 33% for ADLs (Table 3.17). When considering each of the 10 life areas separately, the need for continual support ranged from 18% for mobility to 37% for working (Table 3.16).

The need for continual support was the highest for accommodation support consumers in both ADL (45%) and HSL (60%), whereas it was the highest for community access consumers in the area of EWL (66%) (Table 3.17).

Income source

The Disability Support Pension was the main income source for most adult service consumers (84%), followed by other pensions/benefits and paid employment (both 5%) (Table 3.19).

Living arrangements

Almost half of all consumers (49%) lived with family members and/or their spouse, while almost a quarter (24%) lived in special purpose (disability) community accommodation (Table 3.21). Around 11% of consumers lived alone, and a further 10% in institutional accommodation (that is, institutional accommodation, aged care homes or hospitals). Trends from 1997 - 2001 show that the proportion of recipients living with family members and/or spouses has gradually increased, while the proportion of those living in 'other institutional accommodation' has decreased (Table 3.23).

Consumers of multiple services

The majority of consumers (84%) used services from one service group (Table 4.1). The remaining 16% used services from two, three or four service groups. Consumers of accommodation and community access services were most likely to use more than one service group, whilst consumers using community support and employment services were much less likely to do so (Table 4.2).

The most common combination of service groups on the snapshot day was accommodation with community access (Table 4.3). Within this combination, the specific service types most frequently combined were group homes and continuing education services (Table 4.4).

Service outlets

A total of 7,712 CSDA service outlets took part in the 2001 CSDA MDS collection (Table 5.1). The national rate of response was 97% (Table 6.1). Of these outlets, 5,801 (75%) operated under a non-government auspice, whilst the remaining 1,909 (25%) were under a government auspice. Most outlets under non-government auspices were charitable/religious (3,109 or 54%), and most government outlets were under State/Territory auspice (1,807 or 95%). There were 6,813 State- or Territory-funded CSDA service outlets and 899 Commonwealth-funded service outlets (Tables 5.2 and 5.3).

Government expenditure

Total expenditure by governments on CSDA services over the 2000 - 01 financial year was $2.48 billion, or $2.29 billion when identified administration expenditure is excluded (Table 1.2). Accommodation support services accounted for over half of this expenditure ($1,292 million or 52%). About one-tenth of the total was spent on each of community support ($275 million), community access ($246 million) and employment services ($241 million). The remaining government expenditure on disability support services was for administration ($195 million, 8%), respite services ($147 million, 6%) and other support services ($86 million, 3%).

Table 1.2: Expenditure on disability support services by Australian governments, by service group and administration expenditure, 2000 - 01
Service group
$ million
NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Cwlth Australia
Accommodation support 470.93 396.30 145.43 125.81 91.37 36.39 17.36 7.96 - 1,291.55
Community support 79.95 74.48 39.34 12.52 38.49 5.99 5.05 6.05 12.71 274.57
Community access 62.22 118.74 30.00 17.16 5.11 9.37 1.81 1.35 - 245.76
Respite 52.70 31.86 21.01 20.96 6.05 7.20 2.28 1.04 4.34(a) 147.42
Employment - - - - - - - - 241.13 241.13
Other support 6.44 24.38 8.37 21.18 17.51 0.10 0.19 0.03 7.76 85.96
Subtotal 672.22 645.76 244.15 197.63 158.53 59.05 26.69 16.43 265.94 2,286.39
Administration 59.74 59.92 23.86 6.38 11.77 4.20 4.21 1.45 23.56 195.09
Total 731.97 705.67 268.02 204.01 170.30 63.24 30.90 17.88 289.49 2,481.48

a. Commonwealth-funded respite services are not funded under the CSDA.

Source: SCRCSSP 2002, Table 13A.8

Outline of the report

Chapter 2 introduces and describes the data collection and how it was conducted, and indicates some of the features affecting interpretation.

Chapters 3 to 5 give a detailed description of the results of the 2001 data collection, concentrating mainly on national patterns. Data are reported on estimates of consumers and on CSDA service outlets. Chapter 4 focuses specifically on multiple service users.

Chapter 6 contains a discussion of the data quality of the 2001 collection.