Yesterday’s release of performance data on the National Disability Agreement is an indictment of the Government’s commitment to improve services for people with disability.
“The COAG Reform Council has confessed on behalf of the Gillard Government that they do not know if people with disability are getting improved services under the National Disability Agreement,” said Senator Fifield.
The COAG Reform Council’s 2009-10 performance report into the National Disability Agreement said:
In this second year report, the council finds that out-of-date data for some indicators, the lack of any data for a number of further indicators, and the absence of agreed measures for others, make it difficult to determine whether progress has been made toward meeting COAG’s overall objective. (p. ix)
“The report indicates that data is available for only two of the six National Disability Agreement performance benchmarks. For three benchmarks there are no agreed measures and for the last one there isn’t even any data!” Senator Fifield said.
“What particularly concerns me is the lack of any evidence of improvement in the performance of disability services for children aged between 0 and 4 years of age.”
The COAG Reform Council report states that “there are currently no available data on outcomes for children in this cohort group.” It also states that:
In the area of services for children with disability or developmental delay, the council’s task of highlighting good practice and performance is a difficult one. The project suggests that all jurisdictions provide a range of services for the cohort group. The difficulty lies in the absence of supporting data to assess performance. (p. xiii)
“People with disability, their carers and families deserve better. How can Labor deliver the services needed when they do not even know which policies work and which do not?” Senator Fifield said.
Shadow Minister for COAG, Senator Marise Payne, said the lack of data in the National Disability Agreement was a common theme running through the latest performance reports.
“The COAG Reform Council simply cannot deliver critical reforms if it doesn’t even have enough information to know if targets are being met,” Senator Payne said.
“This is consistent with the National Affordable Housing Agreement: Performance Report for 2009-10, where the CRC could not provide a progress report on the four partnerships that make up the agreement; again, due to lack of data.”
“Improving services for people with disabilities and their carers is too important to be continually delayed,” Senator Payne said.
“The Gillard Government is continuing the Rudd Government theme of tasking the COAG Reform Council with ambitious reforms without first exerting any pressure on relevant agencies to provide up-to-date data to track the progress of reforms.”