Sector Welcomes Landmark NDIS Commitment
17 September 2015 at 11:17 am
The first National Disability Insurance Scheme agreements have been signed between the Turnbull Government and the New South Wales and Victorian State Governments.
The full roll-out will commence in July 2016, covering half of Australians eligible for the Scheme – 140,000 people in NSW and 105,000 people in Victoria.
People With Disability Australia President, Craig Wallace, said the organisation was pleased the NDIS deals were a priority for the new Liberal leader.
“We welcome this commitment by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Mike Baird and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews," Wallace said.
“It's great to see such a significant commitment to the NDIS so early in the life of a refreshed government and at the Prime Minister’s first major press conference.”
National Disability Services Chief Executive, Dr Ken Baker, said the agreements were a watershed moment for the sector.
“[The] bilateral agreements are a significant milestone in a large, complex and ambitious development,” Baker said.
“The NDIS will greatly enhance the support people with severe disability need to participate fully in community and economic life.
“Agreements signed today… specify how and when the NDIS will be phased-in in NSW and Victoria. For service providers preparing for the NDIS, this information is crucial to enable them to plan.”
Wallace said while the NSW and the Victorian agreements will provide peace of mind for people with disability and their families in those states, progress needed to be seen Australia-wide.
“We are still awaiting agreements in other states and territories, and we urge all States and Territories to follow NSW and Victoria’s lead,” he said.
Baker echoed these statements, and said answers were needed about the time-frame of the roll-out to ensure adequate planning.
“People with disability, their families and service providers located outside NDIS trial sites are eagerly awaiting information about how and when the NDIS will reach them,” he said.
“Disability service organisations face large planning and investment decisions to prepare for the NDIS. The sector, and its workforce, will need to double in size in only a handful of years.
“Policy uncertainty surrounding key details of the NDIS design and implementation impedes this planning.
“Now that we know how the NDIS will be implemented in NSW and Victoria, it is important that we learn soon about implementation plans for the rest of Australia.”
Wallace specifically highlighted NDIS funding as an area that still needs to be addressed moving forward.
“We believe that all the options need to be on the table and the taxpaying community brought into that conversation – this is similar to how business and the community sector have started productive conversations around tax reform,” he said.
"We need to recognise this is not a zero sum game – if we don’t invest now, our nation faces downstream costs due to declining carer ratios and people shunted into acute care.
“Let's have a mature discussion about future proofing this core government business.”