Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Early delivery of foundation reforms for National Disability Insurance Scheme

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Wayne Swan MP, Deputy Prime Minister-Treasurer
    The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Assistant Treasurer
    Senator the Hon Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers

The Gillard Government and all state and territory governments today agreed to lay the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme by mid-2013 – a year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission.

Agreement was reached by the Select Council on Disability Reform – a council of treasurers and disability ministers established to consider major reform of Australia’s disability support system – at their inaugural meeting.

The Australian Government wants to see improvements to disability care and support as quickly as possible.

It is critical that all governments maintain momentum to progress these important reforms and to work together to build a National Disability Insurance Scheme to improve the lives of thousands of Australians with disability, their families and carers.

Ministers from each state and territory today agreed on the key foundation reforms necessary for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, including common assessment tools to determine eligibility, national quality standards, and strategies to boost the disability workforce.

The Australian Government and state and territory governments agreed clear outcomes, objectives deliverables and timeframes for implementation of the foundation reforms.

The Select Council also considered the draft principles and terms of reference to be agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). These principles will guide the work of the Select Council in pursuing reform of disability services.

Ministers today heard from eminent insurance experts including Mr John Walsh AM, about the insurance principles involved in a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan and the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin co-chaired the meeting, which was also attended by the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas. Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten updated the meeting on the process for progressing a National Injury Insurance Scheme, as recommended by the Productivity Commission.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of thousands of Australians with a disability, their families and carers, and to pursue fundamental change to the disability services sector.

We know that the current system of disability services in Australia is not delivering the kind of support Australians with a disability and their carers need.

We need to act as quickly as possible to improve the lives of the millions of Australians affected by a disability.

The Select Council agreed that for their next meeting they will start work on funding and governance and report on progress on the foundation reforms.

The Select Council will report to COAG on progress at the first COAG meeting of 2012.