Costly WA NDIS Model Could Leave People With Disability Worse Off Warns Labor
30 January 2017 at 4:58 pm
The proposed WA National Disability Insurance Scheme model could cost taxpayers millions and leave people with disability in Western Australia worse off, according to Labor.
In a joint statement, the shadow minister for families and social services Jenny Macklin and shadow minister for disability and carers Carol Brown have raised concerns over the cost of the proposed model, just days before the WA government is set to enter caretaker period.
The pair claim Productivity Commission estimates put administration costs at around 8 per cent of the total cost of the scheme, equivalent to $140 million in WA.
They called on Minister for Social Services Christian Porter and WA’s Minister for Disability Services Donna Faragher to “come clean” and say exactly how much extra it will cost for WA to administer its own scheme.
“In every other state and territory the Commonwealth Government is paying for the cost of administering the NDIS,” they said.
“But in Western Australia the Turnbull and Barnett governments want WA taxpayers to pay for the full cost of administering the NDIS.”
Macklin and Brown also accused Porter of refusing to release the evaluation of the two NDIS trials in WA which was supposed to provide evidence of the effectiveness of the different approaches.
“What is Christian Porter hiding? He should release the evaluation immediately,” they said.
“Labor is very concerned that the proposed WA NDIS model could leave people with disability in Western Australia worse off.
“The last thing we want is to see is Western Australia end up with the worst disability scheme in Australia.”
They said “at a minimum” the Barnett government should agree to not sign any final agreement until after the 2017 Western Australian election.
However Porter has dismissed their comments and said an announcement on the agreement has not yet been made.
“On 2 December 2016 the Commonwealth and WA government put out a joint statement outlining their agreement to commence final negotiations on a nationally consistent but State-run NDIS,” Porter said.
“The Commonwealth and WA both committed to 11 key elements that would provide the basis for negotiations toward a final bilateral agreement.
“The 11 conditions were stipulated by the Commonwealth and agreed to by the WA government.
“Those fixed conditions include national consistency for key elements such as eligibility and access, the WA Government funding 100 per cent of the administration and operating costs, and clear sharing of governance responsibilities.”
Porter said the Commonwealth was still “working closely” with the WA government to negotiate a final agreement.
“Recognising that these negotiations are complex and it’s important to get them right – including ensuring national consistency,” he said.
“Both governments remain committed to working toward transition commencing in July 2017 and an agreement being finalised soon.”
It comes after the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments announced in December they were negotiating a nationally consistent but state-run NDIS.
Speaking at the time Porter said it remained the Commonwealth’s “strong preference” for WA to join the NDIS on a similar basis to other states and territories but he acknowledged “WA’s firm commitment to a WA-delivered model that builds on WA’s existing disability service system”.
Faragher said in December the lives of people with a disability, their families and carers, were being “changed for the better” by the NDIS.
“The Western Australian government is strongly committed to the NDIS and is clear that eligibility criteria, the provision of reasonable and necessary supports and, most importantly, choice and control for people with disability in WA will be the same as in all other states – facilitating a fully portable national system,” Faragher said.
“We have a strong existing disability sector in Western Australia and we want to build on this with the delivery of a state-run NDIS which is nationally consistent.
“WA is vast and unique in geography and diversity and the NDIS we roll out here must meet the needs of all West Australians no matter where they live.”
The state-wide roll-out of the NDIS is due to commence in Western Australia from July 2017.
The WA state election will be held on 11 March.