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For immediate release – 21 November 2013
Since the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) started out on its long journey in July, it has found the road a little rocky in places.
That is not surprising, of course, with an initiative of such size and complexity. To their credit, policymakers are not allowing the obstacles to break their stride. As John Della Bosca of the Every Australian Counts Campaign put it, “It’s a great win for Australians with disability that governments are seeing the NDIS as a marathon, not a sprint.
“Neither the Federal Government, nor New South Wales, have allowed themselves to get sidetracked — they are both totally committed to the long-term success of the NDIS.
“They know you can’t determine its social impact in the first five months of a seven-year rollout.”
Senator Mitch Fifield, the federal minister responsible for the NDIS, revealed this week that the average cost of individual support packages, as well as demand for access to the scheme, were higher than expected.
But Mr Fifield called for the NDIS to be above politics and repeated that he is “determined, absolutely determined, be in no doubt — to see the NDIS delivered in full”.
Meanwhile, the NSW Government’s move to transfer all government-run disability services to the non-government sector by 2018, in preparation for the full NDIS rollout, has become law.
Disability Services Minister John Ajaka said the passage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NSW Enabling) Bill on 20 November 2013 was a great moment for people with disability, their families, carers and support workers.
Under the NDIS, annual funding for the NSW disability sector would more than double, from over $2.5 billion to $6.4 billion each year by 2018, Mr Ajaka said.
Mr Della Bosca said the move confirmed the success of NSW not-for-profit providers. “The non-government sector already delivers around 60 per cent of all disability supports in NSW, and millions of hours a year of frontline support across Australia.
“The NDIS has always had great support from the O’Farrell government, the first to sign up to the scheme. This move will make sure people with disability get what the NDIS intends for them — a stronger, more flexible and more competitive disability services market,” Mr Della Bosca added
“The scheme will change lives, empower citizens and make Australia a fairer and more productive nation.”
Today the Australian News Paper published an opinion piece by the campaign in response to a speech by Maurice Newman the senior executive who chairs Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council.You can read news reports about the speech here: http://ab.co/188Bx0T. You can read media coverage about the Every Australian Counts response to Maurice Newman here: http://bit.ly/17Wf8G4
When Prime Minister Abbott won the election his first priority was to reassure Australia that his government would fast track key infrastructure projects and improve productivity. It is the cause of productivity and fiscal prudence that should be the strongest motive to deliver on his word to be “Dr Yes” when it comes to the NDIS.
Many in the community are angry that the most ambitious and productive infrastructure project of a generation has been completely misunderstood and misrepresented by the government’s most senior business advisor, Maurice Newman. The National Disability Insurance Scheme is by definition every bit as much an infrastructure projects as any road, dam or port. It will provide a new pathway to the basic social and economic rights denied to most Australians with disabilities.
Through the NDIS hundreds of thousands of Australians will be able to work, earn an income, pay tax, spend money, and save for their retirement. Basic rights most of us take for granted will add an enormous boost to productivity over time and reduce the budget risks that bad disability policy has posed to the Commonwealth and State Budgets for the last two decades.
In his address on Monday Mr Newman characterised the NDIS as ‘worthy’ and a ‘good cause’ but something that risks jeopardising the nation’s economy. This is puzzling since research by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that without the NDIS the economy faces an imminent crisis from the gap between the increasing number of people with disability and the decreasing number of families who will be able or available to provide the same levels of unpaid care into the future. Currently this ‘informal care’ network is providing at least 80% of the total support needs of Australians with disability.
Just for a moment calculate the cost if every informal carer in Australia took a four week holiday (something most carers could only dream of). Their multiple roles of nurse, physiotherapist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, case co-ordinator, accountant, business manager, taxi driver, cook, cleaner and the rest would need to be performed at massive cost to the community.
Then there’s the myriad of hidden costs that an NDIS will reduce, such as the price of a hospital bed because you can’t live at home. And there is the utility forgone, when timely support or early intervention is unavailable. This means that lost opportunities to learn to speak or move independently or study or work result not only in a reduced lifestyle for the individual but loss of productivity for Australia.
Almost 45% of Australians with disability live in or near poverty for these reasons and a number have to draw on social security. The PwC report concluded that the cost of not implementing the NDIS would be greater over the next twenty years than actually funding the scheme. In fact, PricewaterhouseCoopers defines the NDIS as a critical enabler of Australia’s economic progress.
Curiously Mr Newman also bemoaned the fact that national workplace participation is falling, and is in fact is at its lowest in 7 years. He added that without further action, strong growth will be hard to achieve. But that selectively ignores the fact, according to PwC, and a host of other independent authorities including the Productivity Commission itself, that people with disability are woefully underemployed, only half as likely to have a job as their non-disabled counterparts. Internationally Australia is by far the worst performer in this regard, ranking 27th out of 27 OECD countries.
With the introduction of the NDIS PwC forecasts that it will provide the assistance needed to get an additional 370,000 people with disability and 80,000 carers or family into the workforce or increasing their hours by 2050 which will add almost $50 billion to the economy and 1.4% contribution to GDP, with many coming off the Disability Support pension. What is financially more responsible for the nation’s bank balance and social equilibrium
The passage to the introduction of the NDIS won’t be easy and no one expects it to be. There has been criticism that its timelines for consultation and implementation have been rushed and that may be true. I believe that most potential participants, even though they are doing it tough, would be prepared to consider a return to the original Productivity Commission timetable if it means there’s a better chance of getting it right in the long term. But it would be reckless, financially and politically, to scale back or dilute this brand new reform. It is still being tested and has been fought for by hundreds of thousands of Australians who remain determined to take their place with the rest of Australia. As a very emotional parent said online after reading Mr Newman’s comments: “Tried to post a response but just too angry. Million wheelies march to Canberra anyone?”
Media reports last week said the Federal Government is looking at absorbing the newly established agency administering the National Disability Insurance Scheme into Medibank Private, sparking concerns it was looking to scale back the scheme.
Good management of the NDIS is critical and we expect people with disability and their families, carers and disability organisations who have worked so hard to not only introduce the NDIS but ensure open and accountable governance will demand scrutiny of any proposals to change the way the scheme is administered. Hundreds of thousands of campaigners expect the NDIS will be rolled out on time and in line with the recommendations of the Productivity Commission.
In response to the media reports Senator Mitch Fifield, the government minister responsible for the NDIS, said this:
“The Coalition will deliver the announced spending on the NDIS and we will honour the agreements for full roll out that are in place between the Commonwealth and the states and territories …
… there may be some administrative functions of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) that the NDIA Board may determine in the future, in the light of launch site experience, could be contracted out through a competitive process. Businesses and not-for-profits could tender for such business if it was offered.” Read his full response here.
In line with the Productivity Commission recommendations the NDIA is a very different model of government agency with a board and Advisory Council, plus governance shared by all State and Territory governments. In seeking to change decades of disadvantage for people with disabilities and families having a dedicated and independent agency with close and transparent links to the community is vital and hard-won.
We’ll keep a close eye on how the roll out and any proposals to change the administration of the NDIS, and keep you updated as it progresses.
We did it.
During the Federal Election campaign it was crucial that the National Disability Insurance Scheme stayed on the agenda and it did – thanks to all our committed supporters.
On Saturday, Australia went to the polls and now we have a new government and a new Prime Minister to take us forward.
Our government has changed but The Promise our leaders made to implement the NDIS now and for the future has not.
On Every Australian Counts Day we were flooded with photos of supporters around the country with signs that said what The Promise means to them. You can see many of the photos here.
Soon we will deliver a book to Prime Minister elect, Tony Abbott made up of all those photos. When Mr Abbott receives this book he will be left in no doubt – he must keep The Promise.
The previous government had the vision to establish the NDIS and we thank them for their work and commitment. Now our newly elected government must continue this work and make it real for all Australians.
The Promise remains the same and there is no turning back.
Liberal Leader Tony Abbott today unveiled his party’s disability policy and committed aFederal Coalition Government to honouring all existing Commonwealth agreements with States and Territories for launch sites and the full implementation of the NDIS plus maintaining the announced funding.
He also confirmed that Geelong would host the head office of the NDIS, but that the Coalition would dump the name DisabilityCare Australia and revert to NDIS.
If elected to office, the Coalition would establish a joint parliamentary committee to oversee the implementation of the NDIS. Earlier this year, the Federal Government agreed to the Coalition’s proposal to establish such a committee. The Coalition would extend the committee’s scope and its life until at least 2019-20.
A Coalition Government would put all policy and programs for disability employment under the responsibility of the Minister for Disabilities. (At present, the Disability Minister is responsible for supported employment and the Employment Participation Minister is responsible for Disability Employment Services).
The Coalition says that current arrangements create unnecessary duplication and complexity, blur lines of accountability and make it difficult for people with disability to access the services they need.
The Coalition would also establish an industry advisory council for the disability and carer sector.
Details of the recent agreement between WA & the Commonwealth over launch sites in WA will be worked out over the next few months. Here is the first of the official fact sheets from the WA Disability Services Commission with answers to many frequently asked questions:
DISABILITY REFORM IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
FACT SHEET – 19 August 2013
On Monday 5 August 2013 the Prime Minister and the Premier of Western Australia signed an agreement for disability reform in Western Australia. The agreement is for a two year launch commencing on 1 July 2014.
The launch in Western Australia will offer eligible people with disability and their families and carers in launch sites the reassurance they will get the reasonable and necessary care and support they need over their lifetimes.
Under this agreement, the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments will contrast two approaches for the delivery of disability services in different locations. Two approaches are being tested in order to allow genuine comparison of the merits of the national DisabilityCare Australia model and the Western Australian My Way model, and to allow the lessons to be shared during the launch period and taken into the full scheme roll out of DisabilityCare across Australia.
The agreement between the two governments is a high level statement of commitment for the reform of the disability support system in Western Australia. As such, it does not contain the specific details of how the two launch approaches will be trialled. The work required to prepare for the launch in July 2014 will commence immediately and details of these arrangements will be released on a regular basis.
Agreements between the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments with further details of implementation arrangements and costs will be finalised by November 2013.
Keeping people with disability and their families/carers informed of developments over the next ten months will be a high priority.
The State Government’s My Way model will be progressively implemented in the Lower South West region and Cockburn Kwinana area with additional funding from the Commonwealth and State governments to flow from 1 July 2014 in the Lower South West and from 1 July 2015 in Cockburn Kwinana. The My Way model will be implemented by the WA Disability Services Commission under State legislation.
A two year launch of the national DisabilityCare Australia model will commence in the Perth Hills area on 1 July 2014. Incremental roll out of the DisabilityCare Australia model will take place over the two year launch period.
The specific geographic boundaries of the launch areas, and the sequencing of phasing-in of localities in the Perth Hills launch site, are yet to be determined and are subject to negotiation between the State and Commonwealth governments.
How many people will be eligible for support in the launch sites?
In total, approximately 8,400 eligible participants in Western Australia will benefit over the launch period.
Who will be eligible for support in the launch areas?
The eligibility criteria developed for DisabilityCare Australia (as set out in the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013) will be used in both of the Western Australian launch models. The My Way model will use the same eligibility rules that will apply across the nation. Like the DisabilityCare Australia launch sites in New South Wales and Victoria, both of the Western Australian launch approaches will apply to all eligible people under 65 at the time of launch, rather than being limited to more specific age cohorts.
Will people with disability currently not accessing services be able to access support in the launch sites?
Yes. People with a disability who meet the eligibility criteria under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and are permanently living in the launch areas will be eligible for support in the two launch areas.
Why will the Goldfields My Way area not be included in the launch?
The agreement between the Commonwealth and State governments required that the two launch sites have similar sized populations to ensure comparability in the evaluation of the two approaches.
The Lower South West region and Kwinana-Cockburn area include a total of approximately 4000 people who will be eligible to participate in the Western Australian My Way launch site. The Perth Hills area has a similar number of people who will be able to participate in the DisabilityCare Australia launch site.
While the Goldfields area will not be part of the two year launch, eligible people will still be able to use the My Way approach within existing funding allocations. My Way in the Goldfields region will continue to align with the key principles of DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme, and will also include increased choice and control, local decision making and decentralised funding processes.
Will people with mental health issues be eligible to access support in the launch areas?
The eligibility criteria allows for people with impairments attributable to a psychiatric condition to access the scheme where their impairments are, or are likely to be, permanent, and result in a substantially reduced function in undertaking daily activities and capacity for social and economic participation. Impairments that vary in intensity may still be considered permanent. The State and Commonwealth Governments will work together in the coming months to clarify how support will be rolled-out to this group of people.
What will be similar in the two launch approaches?
There will be a consistent application of the key aspects of disability reform including:
- consistent approaches to eligibility
- consistency in the determination of reasonable and necessary supports
- a guarantee of portability provisions (for people moving between launch areas – in Western Australia and inter-state)
- quality assurance system (see further details below)
What will be different in the two launch approaches?
The key differences between the two approaches are:
- The My Way launch will be implemented by the WA Disability Services Commission under State Legislation. State-specific operational guidelines will apply. The DisabilityCare Australia launch will be implemented by the national DisabilityCare Australia agency under the national legislation and use national operational guidelines.
- The My Way model uses Local Area Coordinators (LACs) as the first point of contact in the planning process. LACs in My Way sites also have access to flexible discretionary funding to use, where appropriate, to assist people achieve the goals identified in their plan. In the DisabilityCare Australia launch, planning conversations will occur with specialist planners and LACS will be involved in planning discussions where they have an existing relationships with the participant. LACs will help people with disability to be linked up in their community and to assist in coordinating the supports they receive.
- Under the My Way model, disability service organisations will retain their existing strong partnership and contractual relationship with the Disability Services Commission, including the use of payments in advance for disability service organisations. The DisabilityCare Australia launch will operate under a national pricing scheme which reflects the conditions in local markets, including loadings. Participants will be able to source supports from any DisabilityCare Australia registered provider. Providers will be paid for services on receipt of an invoice
For details of how DisabilityCare Australia will operate in WA launch refer to www.disabilitycareaustralia.gov.au
For details of how the My Way sites will operate, refer to http://www.disability.wa.gov.au/reform1/reform/my-way
How will people with disability and their families be involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of the launch approaches?
The existing My Way Partnership Group will continue to guide the implementation of the My Way sites. A local advisory panel will be created to ensure strong local influence in the DCA launch site. Other arrangements for the involvement of people in design, implementation and evaluation will be explored in the coming months.
What happens at the end of the launch period?
The agreement signed on 5 August 2013 covers the two year launch period.
An independent comparative evaluation of the services and outcomes in the DisabilityCare Australia site and the My Way sites will be undertaken throughout the period July 2014 – July 2016. The results of this evaluation will feed into any future disability reform in Western Australia and the legislative review of the operation of DCA across Australia
The State and Commonwealth Governments have previously committed to provide ongoing support to participants in launch sites until transition to full scheme commences or an agreement is made covering ongoing support to launch participants.
How will the evaluation of the two approaches be conducted?
The independent evaluation of the services and outcomes in the Western Australian DisabilityCare Australia site and the My Way sites will be overseen by a joint steering committee and with agreed assessment criteria for comparing the operation of the sites.
The terms of reference of the evaluation will be agreed by the committee and the Commonwealth and State disability ministers. Details of the joint steering committee and the independent evaluators are yet to be determined.
The evaluation of the two approaches in Western Australia will be separate to the evaluation of the launch of DisabilityCare Australia to be conducted by Flinders University.
What happens to people with disabilities living outside the launch areas who require support?
The existing State disability service system will continue to provide services and supports to people with disability, families/carers in all parts of Western Australia outside the launch areas.
The Disability Services Commission has already commenced a major reform of the local disability services system. This reform process is increasing the flexibility of the support system and is increasing the level of choice and control available to people with disability to plan and develop supports and services to suit their individualised requirements. These reforms are consistent with the national disability reforms and are on-going.
Will a National Injury Insurance Scheme be implemented by July 2014?
The introduction of a National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) in Western Australia is still under consideration by the State Government. Consistent with agreements with all other governments, the costs associated with providing care and support for people who sustain catastrophic injury in the two WA launch areas will be met by the State Government.
What system will be used to ensure the quality of services provided to people in the launch sites?
It has been agreed that the My Way launch and the DisabilityCare Australia launch will both use the existing Western Australian quality assurance system to monitor the quality of services provided by service provider organisations operating in the launch areas. Prior to July 2014 refinements will be made to this quality assurance system to improve the safeguards and monitoring processes.
What complaints and appeals processes will be operating in the two launch areas?
The details of the complaints and appeals processes to operate in the two launch areas are yet to be determined.
How will sector development be supported and progressed in the launch sites?
Sector planning and development will be a key component of both models.
Ensuring that people with disability who are eligible for support can exercise choice and control by being able to access a range of alternative service providers in their local area will be an important component of the My Way approach.
The Commonwealth has a Sector Development Fund covering the DisabilityCare Australia approach, to prepare the disability sector for the new way of delivering disability support in recognition of the fact that building the capacity of disability organisations to harness the opportunities available through DisabilityCare Australia is critical to success.
What will happen next?
The State and Commonwealth Governments will negotiate the details of the agreement, including the financial arrangements, by November 2013. Details will be made available as soon as possible.
The Disability Services Commission will work with DisabilityCare Australia and the existing WA NDIS Reference Group to develop a strategy for engagement with people with disability, their families and carers, and service providers.
How will the Disability Services Commission communicate with people with disability and families/carers in the My Way launch sites prior to the start of the launch?
The Disability Services Commission is developing a detailed stakeholder communication and engagement strategy. This is a high priority and will be released as soon as possible.
For currently available information about My Way and DisabilityCare Australia go to:
My Way: www.disability.wa.gov.au>Reform>My way
DisabilityCare Australia www.disabilitycareaustralia.gov.au
Lynne Foreman is a Geelong resident who has been one of the foremost campaigners for the NDIS in her area She is also someone who knows personally about what a difference this reform can make, having been on a waiting list for 9 years with only a modest amount of emergency support.
While visiting relatives in WA, over the last two weeks Lynne was willing to don the campaign t-shirt and talk about her experience as one of the first people in Australia to go through the DisabilityCare system and receive a support package, including a component which allowed her to access equipment and support during her holiday in WA. She is pictured above with members of the MS Outreach Society.
Lynne has Arthrogryposis (Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita) which is a muscle disorder that causes multiple joint contractures at birth. (A contracture is a limitation in the range of motion of a joint). This is how she describes it:
I was born with my legs crossed across my chest, deformed feet (my feet now are the size of a 3 year olds and I have no toes) stiff joints mainly from my hips down, on my hands I do have a few fingers which have no top joints. At the age of 49 they discovered my neck also has been fused in the 2 top vertebras from birth.
Lynne talked about her firsthand experience noting the immediate difference of DisabilityCare as a ‘one stop shop’ where she can get information any time she needs it as well as her main support package. She found the service timely and flexible, although some of the language in the documents was a little confusing. She particularly appreciatedfeatures such as the portal which enables her to keep track of what support she is entitled to and what she’s used and how that makes the care provider accountable.
Lynne kept a diary of her experience and you can read it here.
With WA now counted in the Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin, who has progressed this scheme from a good idea to a reality, can now truly call it national. Read her joint letter with Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Amanda Rishworth about this exciting development :
We are so pleased to be part of a Federal Labor Government that is delivering DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme, in every Australian state and territory.
This week, the Prime Minister announced that the Australian Government and Western Australian Governments have agreed to launch the scheme in Western Australia from July 2014.
Around 8400 West Australians with disability, their families and carers will benefit from this significant agreement.
The two Governments will jointly fund a DisabilityCare Australia launch site in the Perth Hills area. The Perth Hills DisabilityCare launch site will provide individualised care and support to around 4300 people with disability, with the Australian Government investing around $61 million over two years for participants’ support packages.
In addition, two sites will also be jointly funded to operate under the West Australian My Way model, in the Lower South West and Cockburn-Kwinana areas, with around 4,080 participants. These sites will be delivered by the Western Australian Disability Services Commission under State legislation.
The Australian Government will contribute around $60 million to participants’ support packages in the My Way sites over the two-year launch period.
An independent evaluation of the services and outcomes across the sites will be undertaken throughout the launch period.
The Western Australian launch agreement is another important step forward for DisabilityCare Australia and builds on the successful launch of the scheme in four sites across the country on 1 July this year.
And it is a huge step forward in rolling out the national scheme across the country by 2019, which the Federal Labor Government has locked in with our investment of more than $14 billion in additional funding over the next seven years.
Just like Labor built Medicare, we are building DisabilityCare.
We’d like to thank you all for your continued support for this historic Labor reform –your voices have been an essential part of making DisabilityCare Australia become a reality.
Today Ron Chalmers, the CEO of Disabilities Services Commission WA, issued a letter with details of Western Australia’s sign up to NDIS launch sites.
Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott made a promise to the Australian people.
They promised to change the lives of people with disability, their families and carers with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
With a Federal election set for September 7, we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure our leaders are left in no doubt: they can not walk away from The Promise they made.
The next few weeks will be packed with issues that are competing for everyone’s attention.
Over those 33 days we’ll be taking action to make sure the NDIS stays on top of the agenda.
What does that mean? Watch our video to find out all about our plan for Election 2013.
Once you’ve signed up you’ll receive information and updates and what you can do to champion the NDIS this election.
We’ve got new online tools, videos and handy resources to make being an election champion easy and fun – so sign up now and find out what we have in store for you!
No matter what happens on September 7, our politicians must be left in no doubt that they cannot walk away from full funding and implementation of the NDIS.
They made us The Promise and together we’ll hold them to it.
Join the campaign
- Several Federal Members of Parliament set to hold NDIS forums across Victoria, come and have your voice heard!
- Geelong is in for a double delight as two NDIS forums are held on February 8, 2013! Register today!
- Expert disability panel to discuss NDIS - Frankston - 5 December
- Upcoming NDIS forum in Benalla:15 November
- Rob Mitchell MP and Senator McLucas host NDIS forum in Seymour
- Chelsea, your Federal MP wants to hear your thoughts on the NDIS
- Senator Mclucas invites you to talk about the NDIS in Brand
Join the Conversation
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In the media
- Meanwhile in WA... 16 May, 2013
- PM on WA & the NDIS 28 March, 2013
- NDIS Legislation Eclipse 22 March, 2013
- Tweet NDIS Questions to the WA Leaders Debate Tonight 19 February, 2013
- Premier Barnett on the NDIS & COAG 5 December, 2012
- Excellence in Disability Reform -Samantha Jenkinson in her own words 29 November, 2012
- Asking our MPS to stand and deliver 26 November, 2012
- Media Release: CAMPAIGN REJECTS NDIS COST SCAREMONGERING 15 November, 2012