Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

DisabilityCare Australia opens its doors in Tasmania

Joint Media Release with:

  • Sid Sidebottom MP
    Member for Braddon
    Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Young people with significant and permanent disability in Tasmania will for the first time have the power to choose the support they need and how that support is provided, with today’s historic launch of DisabilityCare Australia.

DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme, has today opened for business in three locations in Tasmania – Devonport, Launceston and Hobart.

Speaking in Devonport at the official launch of DisabilityCare in Tasmania, Federal Member for Braddon, Sid Sidebottom, said it was a momentous achievement for Australia.

“Finally people with disability, their families and carers have the certainty they deserve,” Mr Sidebottom said.

“From today, young people aged 15 to 24 who are accessing existing disability services will start moving into the scheme.

“DisabilityCare Australia has staff in the Devonport, Launceston and Hobart offices and they’ve have been in contact with these people through their current providers.

“Already they’ve made appointments with many of the people who are due to move into the scheme during July.

“Young people with disability who are leaving school or have expressed a need for individual support or community access package, will be among the first to move into the scheme. The same applies to those who are transitioning from formal out-of-home care.

“People with significant and permanent disability who are not accessing specialist disability supports can contact the scheme at any time.

“The online My Access Checker tool is available to help determine whether they can access the scheme and staff members at the local shopfronts are ready to assist them through the process.

“By July 2016, about 1000 young people across Tasmania will have a plan of support that is tailored to their individual needs and preferences and that can be adapted over their lifetime.

“We will then start working towards the full roll-out of the scheme to all eligible Tasmanians, so that by July 2019, about 11,000 Tasmanians with disability will be part of the scheme,” Mr Sidebottom said.

Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin, said that more than 26,000 young people across the four sites launched around Australia today will benefit from the first stage of the scheme.

Apart from Tasmania, the launch sites are in the Hunter area in NSW, Geelong and the Barwon area in Victoria and in South Australia for children.

“The first stage will be gradually implemented to ensure we establish a sustainable national scheme and that people can transition into the scheme smoothly,” Ms Macklin said.

“DisabilityCare Australia will give Australians the peace of mind that if they, their child or a loved one has a significant and permanent disability, they will get the support they need, when they need it, over their lifetime.

“DisabilityCare Australia’s Local Area Coordinators will work one-on-one with people with disability to link them into their communities.

“And DisabilityCare will provide a comprehensive information and referral service to help people with a disability access mainstream, disability and community supports.

“When the full scheme is rolled out nationally by July 2019, about 460,000 Australians with disability will get the support they deserve.

“The 2013-14 Federal Budget provided $14.3 billion over seven years to 2018-19 to roll out DisabilityCare Australia nationally, on top of existing Commonwealth disability funding.

“And the scheme has long-term funding certainty through an increase to the Medicare Levy of 0.5 percentage points-every cent of which will go towards funding DisabilityCare.”