States Join Forces on NDIS
18 July 2012 at 5:03 pm
The NSW and Victorian Governments have joined forces in a partnership they say is designed to move Australia towards a full National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
A joint expression of interest from NSW and Victoria has been submitted to the Commonwealth which would see the NDIS launched in the NSW Hunter region and the Greater Geelong/ Barwon region of Victoria.
Under the joint proposal about 10,000 people would be involved in a launch in the Hunter and about 5,000 in Barwon.
This would give people with a disability and their carers in the two regions more power to decide what support and services they require, according to the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.
“The NDIS will provide Australians with an assurance that if they, or a member of their family, have or acquire a significant disability there will be a properly financed, comprehensive and cohesive system to support them,” O’Farrell said.
“Both governments are committed to the implementation of the NDIS in accordance with the recommendations of the Productivity Commission.”
Ted Baillieu said the joint approach from Victoria and NSW means the two states can share expertise and information which will maximise the chances for the success of the launch.
“The partnership between Victoria and NSW will ensure the resources of both states are used to build on the best of our current systems and share learnings during the launch stage,” Baillieu said.
News of the joint expression of interest from NSW and Victoria has been welcomed by National Disability Services – the peak body for non-government disability services.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to have the two states which run the biggest disability service systems proposing to work collaboratively with the Commonwealth,” said Chief Operating Officer Patrick Maher.
“It is going to be essential to find synergies across state systems and learn to work together in an integrated disability sector environment,” Maher said.
“The collaborative approach will help address the significant cross jurisdictional challenges that the NDIS will present us with us with.
“National Disability Services also looks forward to seeing what proposals
other states bring forward for consideration.”
In Victoria the proposed launch area would consist of the City of Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast Shire, the Borough of Queenscliffe and the Colac-Otway Shire.
“Geelong and the broader Barwon area would be an ideal location to launch the NDIS,” the Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said.
“It meets all the criteria for launch sites. It is a geographically discrete area with a good mix of population, both metropolitan and regional locations and a highly developed service sector.
“Geelong also has real expertise in implementing insurance schemes, being home to the
Transport Accident Commission.”
Wooldridge said Victoria was the first state to establish an NDIS Implementation Taskforce and is currently co-leading major reforms such as National Assessment Tools and National Quality Standards that will lay the foundations to deliver the scheme.
Western Australia has also offered to host one of four launch sites for the NDIS but not specific region has been publicly nominated.
The Federal Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin says she welcomes the interest shown by Victoria and New South Wales toward the fundamental reform of disability care and support.
“The Commonwealth is providing what we estimate is around 78 per cent of the cost of a launch including covering 100 per cent of the administration costs and we expect the states that participate in the trial to provide additional funding to fully meet the cost of the launch," she said.
“As a condition of participation, we will also expect states to maintain their current disability funding, or where their funding is currently below reasonable levels we will expect them to meet reasonable levels of funding.”
The Minister has written to state Disability Ministers and says that officials are already meeting to discuss the launch design, governance and funding.
The Gillard Government announced in the Federal Budget in May an allocation of $1billion over four years towards the building blocks of the NDIS.
At the time the Prime Minister said that up to 10,000 people with disabilities will be supported in up to four areas across Australia from July 2013, one year ahead of the Productivity Commission recommendation.