Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Locals lead the way on NDIS

Joint Media Release with:

  • SHARON GRIERSON MP, Member for Newcastle
  • JILL HALL MP, Member for Shortland

Newcastle residents at a community forum today heard about the work underway to launch the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme in the region from next year.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, today joined Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson MP to discuss the launch with more than 150 local people with disability, their families, carers and service providers.

“The Gillard Government is working hard to make sure people with disability, their families and carers in the Hunter region get the care and support they need to lead good lives, no matter where they live or how they acquired their disability,” Senator McLucas

“We want local people with disability to start benefiting from an NDIS as soon as possible.

“We’ve shown we’re prepared to do the heavy lifting by investing $1 billion to deliver the first stage of an NDIS in five locations from next year, including right here in Newcastle.”

The first stage of an NDIS, which will include about 10,000 people with significant and permanent disability in the Hunter LGA’s of Newcastle, Maitland and Lake Macquarie, will:

  • work with local people to identify their plans and goals for the future;
  • be assessed to receive NDIS individualised care and support packages;
  • have decision-making power about their care and support, including choice of service provider;
  • be assisted by local coordinators to help manage and deliver their support; and
  • access a system they can easily navigate and that will link them to mainstream and community services.

The Federal Government will invest more than $300 million in the Hunter Region for the launch, with the NSW Government also contributing to the costs of the scheme.

Senator McLucas said work was well underway to get the launch up and running next year.

“The Government has established the NDIS Launch Transition Agency which will initially focus on developing the operational policy, systems and processes for the successful launch of the scheme,” Senator McLucas said.

“Agency staff will be on the ground in Newcastle and other launch sites well in advance of the start of the launch.

“We have also set up the NDIS Advisory Group and other key groups that include people with disability, carers, service providers and other experts in the sector, to help us guide the development of an NDIS.”

Ms Grierson said that it was clear that local people in the Newcastle area, their families and carers and local disability service organisations had welcomed the Government’s decision to launch an NDIS.

“I’ve worked hard to secure an NDIS in our region, as have hundreds of other locals, because we all know that local people with disability, their families and carers have waited long enough for change,” Ms Grierson said.

“I’m proud to be part of a Government that’s making this change happen and I will continue working closely with the local community as the NDIS becomes a reality.”

Senator McLucas said the Government would continue their engagement as work for the launch site progresses.

“We know how important it is to get the vital elements of an NDIS right, and that means getting the input of locals.

“We’ve got more work to do with the state government and local stakeholders to finalise all the practical details such as how we will assess people’s needs, and how we can grow the disability care workforce.

“We will continue to talk with people with disability, families and carers in Newcastle as the community leads the way to reform disability care and support in this country.”