NDIS Delayed in WA
5 May 2016 at 11:24 am
The federal and Western Australian governments have delayed the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in that state by a year, in an effort to expand trial sites.
As part of the agreement, the Commonwealth and WA governments will finalise arrangements for the statewide rollout of the NDIS by October 2016, with the rollout expected to start on 1 July 2017.
Western Australia has been running the federal government’s NDIS in Perth Hills, and the state’s My Way trial in the South West, Cockburn and Kwinana, in Perth’s south, simultaneously.
The My Way trials, now known as WA NDIS, were due to finish this July, and the system compared to the federal scheme before a full rollout took place.
However that will not be finalised until next July, a year behind the rest of the country.
WA-based Not for Profit Nulsen Disability Services supported the move to delay the rollout, saying it would enable the state to evaluate the results of both trials to ensure that people with disabilities get the best system in place.
“We don’t see it as a delay. If you listen to what the premier said, they are extending the trials because we won’t have the reports till after 1 July. But they are also expanding the trail sites which is important because more people with disabilities will be included in both the Commonwealth trail site and the state trial site,” CEO Gordon Trewern told Pro Bono Australia News.
“It has to be acknowledged that this is a major reform going on across the country and we only get one shot at it. If we don’t get it right, we are going to do a lot of damage to people’s lives, especially people with very complex disabilities who need support.
“If you go back to the early announcements of the NDIS, it is well known and is on record that the decision to implement it was rushed through for political reasons and that caused, in our view, a number of hiccups along the way.
“Let us take the learnings from both sides and use that learning to make sure we create the best system for people with disabilities in WA. We think it is a sound strategy and there is absolute commitment from both the state government and the Commonwealth Government.”
Trewern said the trails had engaged people with disabilities and organisations to tweak processes and finesse the system.
“I’m not hearing of any disadvantage suffered by the participants [due to the delay]. It is silly to have an evaluation for both trials and just not use that, to dive into something and not use the learning from those evaluations which really determine the best way forward,” he said.
Federal Minister for Social Services Christian Porter said the agreement would give certainty to around 10,900 current and future participants of ongoing support, and will ensure more Western Australians will benefit from the NDIS while the details of the full scheme model are being finalised.
“The Commonwealth and WA state governments are working closely on the details of the full scheme approach for Western Australia and we expect to agree to the final NDIS full scheme model later this year,” Porter said.
“This will be informed by the comparative evaluation and will be done in consultation with people with disability, their families, carers and service providers.”
From 1 October 2016, the WA Disability Services Commission (DSC) will expand the NDIS model to local government areas such as Armadale, Murray and Serpentine-Jarrahdale.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) model delivered in the Perth Hills region will be expanded to Bayswater, Bassendean, Chittering, Toodyay, York and Northam from 1 January 2017.
“The expansion of the two trials will allow a further 2,700 people to access the NDIS in WA,” Porter said.
“In addition, extending the original trial sites to July 2017 means that participants will have certainty about the current trials.”
WA Minister for Disability Services Donna Faragher said both governments were committed to the wellbeing of people with disability.
“The lives of people with disability, their families and carers are being changed for the better by the NDIS,” Faragher said.
“The full implementation of the NDIS in WA will draw on lessons learnt from existing trials and will apply the same eligibility requirements and portability of supports as the rest of the country.
“Since the launch of the Western Australian comparative NDIS trials, more than 4,000 Western Australians have had access to the increased funding, and choice and control over their disability services provided through the NDIS.
“We need to ensure that the NDIS in WA is accountable to the Western Australian community and builds on the state’s existing relationships and long history of disability reform.”