NDIS gathers momentum in WA
More than 100 Western Australians with disability, carers and disability service providers attended a public forum in Perth today in support of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) for WA.
At the forum, the Australian Government reaffirmed its agreement with the states and territories to lay the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme by mid-2013 – a year ahead of the timeline set out by the Productivity Commission.
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas said last week’s inaugural meeting of the Select Council on Disability Reform – a council of treasurers and disability ministers established to consider major reform of Australia’s disability support system – had agreed to the accelerated work plans.
“The Australian Government wants to see improvements to disability care and support as quickly as possible,” Senator McLucas said.
“Less than a week ago the Select Council on Disability Reform met for the first time and agreed on an accelerated timeline to lay the foundations for reform.
“We want to get this major reform right. There is a significant amount of work to be undertaken in order to achieve this, and we have already started work.”
Addressing the forum today, Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten said the Gillard Government had already made clear its support for the Productivity Commission’s vision for a system to provide individuals with the support they need over the course of their lifetime.
“Australia must end the midnight anxiety of thousands of elderly parents caring for children with a disability. Who will look after the adult children when their parents pass away?” he said.
“It is critical that all governments maintain momentum to progress this important reform and to work together to lay the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.”
Western Australian based Special Minister of State and Member for Brand Gary Gray said, “The Australian Government is working with communities across the country to understand what is needed to improve and boost the skills of the disability services sector.
“The disability sector here in Western Australia is working tirelessly to support people with disability through their many services and care programs.
“Our government recognises their contribution and I would like to thank the community for their support for a NDIS, which would improve the quality of life of thousands of West Australians, providing more options and support for people with disability.”
Following the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into Disability Care and Support in August, the Australian Government started work immediately to build the foundations for reform.
The Australian Government has already:
- Taken the Productivity Commission’s report to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), where the Commonwealth, state and territory leaders agreed to the need for fundamental reform of disability services through a National Disability Insurance Scheme;
- Established the NDIS Advisory Group; and
- Delivered an immediate additional investment of $10 million to support the development of the technical policy work, consistent with the recommendations of the Productivity Commission.
Other speakers at the forum included 2011 Western Australian Young Person of the Year, Peter Darch, and Australia’s first Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes.