Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Flying Start for Better Start

Joint Media Release with:

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

Families of children with disabilities have embraced the Australian Government’s new $147 million Better Start for Children with Disability initiative, with 725 children registering in its first six weeks.

About 120 children are registering each week to benefit from $12,000 in early intervention service such as speech pathology, audiology and physiotherapy.

Better Start for Children with Disability gives children under the age of six who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and vision or hearing impairments including deafblindness, access to up to $12,000 in early intervention funding.

Families are able to choose how to use their funding by selecting service providers from a panel of professionals. They have until their child’s seventh birthday to use the funding.

Children in outer regional, rural and remote areas are also eligible for an additional one-off payment of $2,000 to help meet the costs of accessing services such as travel and home visits.

In addition, about 20,000 children with these disabilities under the age of 15 are able to access new Medicare services for diagnosis and allied health treatment under this program.

A Medicare rebate for the development of a treatment and management plan is available for children under the age of 13.

Medicare rebates are available for up to four allied health diagnostic services and for up to 20 allied health treatment services per child in total. Treatment items can be used by children up to the age of 15 provided they receive a treatment and management plan before they were 13 years of age.

Early intervention can make a huge difference to the development and lifelong learning of a child with disability. Access to these services will help better prepare them for school.

Families can register their child by calling Carers Australia on 1800 242 636 and for more information parents can visit