Full-Scheme NDIS Rollout in SA Includes Young Children
15 December 2015 at 10:17 am
Australia’s disability sector has applauded the move by the State and Federal Governments to complete the trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in South Australia with the inclusion of young children and a commitment to a full scheme from 1 July 2016.
The deal means that over the course of 2016 the scheme will work with service providers to reach all eligible children in the 0-14 age group, and will then commence the inclusion of young people from 15 to 17 in the first half of 2017.
Following entry of all children and young people aged 0-17, the NDIS will then be rolled out region by region across South Australia.
CEO of disability service provider, Novita Children’s Services, and Chair of National Disability Services SA, Glenn Rappensberg, said the announcement was a significant move to provide all South Australian children access to the scheme and its benefits, and a first step towards an inclusive NDIS in the state.
“We have experienced very positive feedback from families whose children have access to the scheme, so as a service provider we are immensely happy to see the next stage confirmed,” Rappensberg said.
“This not only allows more children and young adults to access disability services through the NDIS, but also puts a timeframe around the inclusion of all South Australians.”
Currently at Novita there are still more than 550 children under the age of 14 waiting to be included, and approximately another 300 in the 15-17 age group.
Every Australian Counts Campaign Director, John Della Bosca, said the move had been championed by people holding onto hope despite feeling as though they were living under clouds.
“Today is another victory and they should be very proud of what has been achieved,” Della Bosca said.
“The NDIS trial in South Australia has not been without difficulty but [the] announcement confirms their promise to the people of South Australia who will greatly benefit from the scheme.”
However, Independent SA Dignity for Disability MLC, Kelly Vincent, said, although it was a relief that the bilateral funding agreement to enable more SA children with disabilities to access services under the NDIS had now been signed, it had been too long coming.
“Dignity for Disability had hoped that, for the sake of the children and families concerned, this squabble could have been sorted out in a more timely manner,” Vincent said.
“There have been errors in the estimation of the number of South Australian children eligible under the scheme, and this has led to the funding shortfall and the delay. The human face of this is children stuck in limbo between the old Disability SA state funding system and the new NDIS and this has left families baffled, confused and in some cases out of pocket – for those families who have been able to pay for services themselves.”
Vincent said the signing would come as a huge relief to many families, and they would be keen to get back on track with planning meetings as soon as possible.
“The next challenge is working through the issues around service delivery, because Dignity for Disability knows it is not a straightforward matter of a child being able to receive therapy services under the NDIS at school because in some cases there is physically no space for therapists to work with students,” she said.
“In other cases schools will not permit private therapists to work on their sites. The importance of early investment in children’s therapy and the advantage this gives to the rest of their school career must not be undervalued. We have to solve this roadblock.
“Challenges are always going to come up with the implementation of such a gigantic scheme as the NDIS. The ongoing commitment of both the South Australian Government and the Federal Government to support the right to services for people with disabilities remains strong, and I welcome the opportunity to continue to work with government to ensure the best outcomes for all people with disabilities.”