NDIS Legislation Unveiled
Tuesday, 27th November 2012 at 9:32 am
The Federal Government has released the draft National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Bill, ahead of its introduction into Parliament, but the draft has already come under fire from Victoria.
The Bill creates the framework for a national scheme, including eligibility criteria, age requirements, and what constitutes reasonable and necessary support.
“The framework set up by the legislation will be supported by detailed rules that keep it flexible and allow it to be adapted. Consultation on these detailed rules will occur with people with disability, their families, carers, service providers and advocates in the coming months," the Minister for Community Services Jenny Macklin said.
“The Bill also gives effect in part to Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“The Bill will establish the NDIS Launch Transition Agency as an independent body (under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997) to deliver the scheme.
“The board will be advised by an independent Advisory Council consisting of people with disability, carers and service providers to make sure that everyone has their voice heard,” the Minister said.
“The legislation also supports people to manage their own funding where they choose to do so. The legislation will be reviewed after two years to make sure that our work to build a national scheme is informed by the evidence of what works."
When the Bill is introduced to the Parliament, the Government says it will ask the Parliament to refer the legislation to a Parliamentary Committee for consideration.
The Victorian Government has described the NDIS legislation as an important step, but claims it needs further work.
Commonwealth legislation for the launch of a national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) needs significant work before it is passed through Australian Parliament, Victorian Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said.
“Key details about how eligibility for the scheme will be determined are not contained in the legislation. The Commonwealth will need to articulate how it plans to ensure people with a disability who live in launch sites will access the supports that meet their needs in a fair and reasonable way," Wooldridge said.
“It will be important for the Commonwealth to continue to work closely with the States and Territories and people with disability to develop the ‘rules’ that will guide decision-making under the scheme.
“The legislation gives no guarantee that Victorians with disability – who currently have some of the best rights protections in the country – will keep those same protections when they participate in the Barwon launch site.
“The head of the transition agency can compel a person to take legal action to recover compensation from a person or organisation who may be at fault, without any guarantee that they will even receive support under the scheme or be able to recover their costs. This is a very heavy obligation, given the significant financial and personal costs that may be involved in litigation,” Wooldridge said.
Wooldridge said the Victorian Government remained fully committed to the commencement of an NDIS launch in the Barwon Region from July 1, 2013.
Wooldridge said that apart from the legislation, there were other significant issues regarding an NDIS that the Commonwealth was yet to address.
People with disability, their families, carers and advocates will also have an opportunity to comment on the Bill on the Your Say forum on the NDIS website.
A Legislation Overview has been developed to explain the Bill and provide information on how to have a say on the Bill. The overview and further information about the scheme is available at www.ndis.gov.au.