National Disability Insurance Scheme Goes Under the Microscope
Thursday, 10th November 2011 at 9:57 am
As a National Disability Insurance Scheme takes gradually takes shape, there are lots of questions facing its architects: how will it be funded, will it get full support from the major political parties, who will service the scheme?
Yesterday Melbourne hosted two seminars answering some of the questions posed about the NDIS. Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten stepped in at the last minute replacing Jenny Macklin, at a breakfast seminar at Federation Square – joining Rhonda Galbally AO and Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Philip Freier in a discussion about ‘the challenges of disability.’
While at a lunch hosted by Independence Australia, a panel including John Della Bosca of the NDIS, Alan Woodroffe from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and Kevin Andrews of the Liberal Party answered lingering questions such as will everyone on the waiting list now receive a funding package? Will an NDIS attract more competitors into the sector and how will this impact price, labour and wage pressures?
John Della Bosca, the campaign director of the NDIS said that a number of talks need to occur between different levels of government before the “NDIS becomes inevitable.”
Regardless of a possible change in government in two years he said, “It’s always inevitable that governments change and I’m heartened by the fact that there’s strong support for the scheme in the opposition as well as government.”
Della Bosca said the scheme had been costed at around $6.5 billion.
According to Liberal Kevin Andrews, “the Productivity Commission said this was core funding by the government which made it easier for us to say we’d support it (if we were in government).”
He also said people in the Liberal party room were “very supportive of the NDIS. Most people know someone who is directly affected by a disability either through birth or an accident.”
Alan Woodroffe, Senior Manager of Policy Service and Review for the TAC said the scheme was welcomed by consumers because it would offer similar services to those received by car accident victims – which currently do not extend to those who suffer other injuries.
However the panel – prompted by moderator Jon Faine – said staffing and servicing the scheme may stretch current resources.
“We are competing with people in such as the mining sector for skilled employees,” said Faine.
John Della Bosca said the way to get more workers into the sector to service the scheme could be through immigration, or increased university places.
“We need to look at sponsored migration,” he said.
At the early morning event, hosted by Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Philip Freier, Minister Bill Shorten urged people affected by disabilities to “take 15 minutes out of your day to write a letter to the editor or ring talkback” to get their voice across about disability issues.
He said groups have untapped and unrealized power to change the status quo.
But he implored those affected by disabilities not to abandon mainstream political parties – saying they could do more to support disabled people within a major party than they could run as an independent.