Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Select Council on disability reform to meet this week

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

The Select Council of Treasurers and Disability Ministers established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to consider the fundamental reform of Australia’s disability support services will meet for the first time in Sydney this week.

COAG established the Select Council to consider options for major reform of disability services in Australia through a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

This Thursday, 20 October, will be the first time that the Select Council will come together to consider the key findings of the Productivity Commission’s 2011 report on disability care and support.

The Productivity Commission’s report found that the system of disability care and support in Australia is underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient, and that it gives people with disability little choice about the care and support they receive.

The Commission recommended a National Disability Insurance Scheme be created to provide all Australians with insurance for the costs of support if they or a family member acquire a disability. The scheme will provide individually tailored care and support to people with significant disabilities.

The Productivity Commission also made clear that important work needs to be done before further progress can be made.

At its meeting this week, the Select Council will consider these foundation reforms necessary for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, including development of a national assessment framework, nationally consistent service and quality standards for the disability services sector, and a comprehensive national disability services workforce strategy.

The Council will develop a joint approach for delivering these reforms as quickly as possible, including agreed objectives, deliverables and timelines.

A panel of insurance experts will also lead discussion on the benefits of an insurance approach for the delivery of long-term disability care and support services.

This is a significant opportunity for all governments to pursue major reform to the disability services sector and to improve the lives of thousands of Australians with disability, their families and carers.

We know that the system of disability services is not delivering the kind of care and support Australians expect for people with disability and their carers.

It is important that all governments maintain momentum to progress these important reforms and to work together to build a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Select Council will provide an initial report to COAG at the first meeting in 2012.