DisabilityCare Australia, agreement for full scheme roll out in South Australia
JENNY MACKLIN: Can I just first of all say a very, very big thank you to everyone at Orana. Thank you to the Board and to the Management, and particularly the staff here at Orana who are just doing a wonderful job providing employment for so many people with disabilities, so thank you very much for having us here today.
I’m very pleased to be here with my Parliamentary colleagues, the State Minister for Disabilities, Tony Piccolo, and the local Member my Federal Parliamentary colleague, Steve Georganas. So thank you both for joining us here today. Today is a great celebration of the Federal Government and the State Government here in South Australia agreeing to the full roll out of DisabilityCare Australia right across this great state. We have agreed previously to start DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme here in South Australia from the 1st of July. That’s approaching very soon and we’re very, very pleased that for little children aged nought to five, DisabilityCare will be real from the 1st of July. But now we’ve also agreed that we’ll see the full roll out of DisabilityCare Australia across this state by July 2018. This is an historic agreement between the Federal Government and the South Australian Government. It is an agreement that means people with disability and their families, carers, can finally get the care and support that they really need. They won’t have to wait, and wait, and wait for a wheelchair, for respite, for all the care and support that they so desperately need. So it is a very, very exciting change for people with disability.
JOURNALIST: There’s nearly $1.5 billion being put into the fund for South Australia.
JENNY MACKLIN: That’s right.
JOURNALIST: But there’s between now and 2018 there’s four elections, two state and two federal. So how do you quarantine that funding given the process of change (inaudible)?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well I’m very pleased that when the legislation went through the Federal Parliament everybody supported it. I think what you’re seeing around Australia is a real ground swell of support for improvements in care and support to people with disability.
The first agreement we got was with the liberal state of New South Wales and I thank Premier O’Farrell for his support and his commitment to people with disability in that state. The second was here, a labor state, here in South Australia. I think this demonstrates that right across the country people want to see improvements in care and support to people with disability. This Labor Government in Canberra is making sure that we are able to pay for it. We’ve already allocated $1 billion in our Budget to pay for our share of the launch of DisabilityCare Australia. We’ve now, of course, also made sure that we have funding right through till the outer years, especially for New South Wales and South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory.
JOURNALIST: So there’s still an element of good will relied upon though in order for that funding to see its life?
JENNY MACKLIN: I think you can already see a commitment, a financial commitment, by both the Commonwealth and the states and territories. Everyone wants to make sure that DisabilityCare Australia delivers for people with disability.
JOURNALIST: Okay. And how, so you’ve got a bunch of people at Orana here who are working so is the funding directed for their home needs, their day to day needs, is it necessarily going towards agencies like Orana?
JENNY MACKLIN: What DisabilityCare Australia will do is sit down with each person with a disability and work out their care and support plan. Everybody’s different, everybody has different needs and of course what we need to make sure is that people get the care and support that they previously haven’t been able to get. So it might be for equipment, like a wheelchair. It might be to provide supported employment like you see here at Orana. It’s very different for different people. We want to make sure that people with disability have got choice and control over what care and support they get. That will be a huge change for them and of course we also want to make sure that people are able to live as independent a life as possible. And a very important part of that of course is employment which is why we celebrate the great work that’s being done here at Orana.
JOURNALIST: Just another question on the funding. Nobody’s predicting budget surpluses and the forward estimates is looking fairly grim over the next several years, is that engineered into the funding for the NDIS?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well as you’ve heard the Treasurer say there’s been a very serious hit on revenues and the Treasurer of course will outline that further in the coming budget. But this Government has a history of demonstrating how we can pay for our top priorities. When we decided to significantly increase the age pension a few years ago, we demonstrated how we would pay for that right out into the future. And it’s same with DisabilityCare Australia. This is a priority for the Federal Government and we’ll demonstrate in the coming budget how we’ll pay for it.
JOURNALIST: (inaudible) Just for a state perspective, probably the same question. There’s complaints about the budget blackholes and deficits into the forward estimates, are we secure enough, is the situation secure enough in South Australia to meet that funding commitment?
TONY PICCOLO: Well the Treasurer’s made it very clear that we’re committed to this proposal and we’ll find the money to make sure it happens. It’s as simple as that.