Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National Disability Agreement begins

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services

From 1 January 2009 a new $5.3 billion National Disability Agreement will pave the way for substantial reforms to the disability services system, as part of the Australian Government’s ambitious National Disability Reform agenda.

“The new funds will provide more services, and drive important reforms to create a more effective and accessible disability services system,” Ms Macklin said.

“This new agreement will provide $1.3 billion more for Australians with disability, including the highest ever level of indexation, than the previous agreement signed under the Howard Government.”

“The Government is working hard to eliminate barriers to people with a disability participating in economic, civic and community life,” Mr Shorten said.

“We must create more employment, community and education opportunities to better harness the skills and contribution of people with disability.”

The agreement, funded over the next five years, reflects a strong commitment from the Australian Government and its state and territory counterparts to provide more opportunities for people with disability.

It will support people with disability to live as independently as possible, by helping establish stable and sustainable living arrangements, expanding service options, and improving health and wellbeing. At the same time, the agreement will support families and carers in their caring roles.

The agreement also includes the previously announced $1.9 billion to fund more than 24,000 supported accommodation, respite and in-home care places.

A further $408 million will fund services and reforms to the disability services system, as part of the National Disability Reform Agenda.

The Commonwealth’s contribution to state-run disability services will reach more than $1.25 billion a year by the end of the agreement in 2013. This compares to $620 million in 2007.

The reforms will include providing a responsive and seamless system of disability support, which is easily accessed and flexible to clients’ changing needs.

The reforms will have a renewed focus on early intervention and will result in more consistent access to disability aids and equipment.

Accredited providers will be better able to develop, train and employ disability care workers, and governments will work together to better measure the level of actual demand for disability services.

The aim is to create an efficient and equitable disability services system, which focuses on early intervention, individual and personalised attention, and lifelong planning.

Governments will work together to introduce single access points, uniform assessment processes, a national quality assurance system, more consistent access to disability aids and equipment, and better ways to measure unmet demand for disability services.

For more information about the National Disability Agreement and the National Disability Reform agenda email National Disability Agreement ( or call 1800 008 612.