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Mar 17, 2014
Fiona Anderson

NDIS: helping people work and participate

We hear a lot of talk about the cost of the NDIS, but let’s not get side-tracked.

What our political leaders and the public need to really understand is the economic return on investment that the NDIS will generate, as it provides the platform for greater social and economic participation for people with disability and their families. Like these Australians:

3 Australians explain the economic benefits of individualised disability funding. Picture 1: Vanessa and her daughter Tayla. Vanessa says: "Caring for Tayla when my husband became ill meant we were in crisis relying on emergency support. With our NDIS plan, Tayla's potential is being realised, I have more work opportunities and our other daughter is getting more of the time and attention she deserves. Suddenly we all have real choices and are a much bigger part of the community." Picture 2: Damien the TV boom operator. Damien says: "With individualised support I got a job with a real wage in open employment. It's something I'm passionate about and now I rely less on my pension, pay my own rent and bills and have savings too. I feel like I'm in control."  Picture 3: Sean and his daughter Alex.  Sean says: "After my accident I was determined to find a way back to work and a normal life. Individual support funding paid for my wheelchair, home modifications and personal and work support which enabled me to set up an assistive technology business for people with disabilities. This helped me buy my own home, support my family and give back."

3 Australians explain the economic benefits of individualised disability funding. The funding pays for supports which enable them to work, care for their families and be part of everyday life.

As NDIS Chair Bruce Bonyhady says:

“Without the NDIS, the nation would miss out on the 1 per cent boost to GDP that the Productivity Commission found the scheme would generate through greater workforce participation by people with disability and their carers.”

Do you think all the new MPs in federal Parliament understand how important the NDIS is to you and your family?

Email us at info@everyaustraliancounts.com.au

We will send your views and hopes on to new federal MPs, who represent you in Parliament.

Aug 20, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

Coalition sticks with NDIS and unveils disability policy

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.

You can read the full policy here. 

Aug 18, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

New Fact Sheet – WA & NDIS launch sites

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 

Background information

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.

Launch sites

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

 

 

Aug 14, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

Diary of DisabilityCare Experience – Lynne Foreman

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.

Aug 14, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

Minister Macklin’s message re WA

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 :

Dear Friends

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.

Jenny and Amanda
http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/launch-disabilitycare-australia-western-australia

Aug 6, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

Details on WA launch sites

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.

Read the full letter here.

Aug 5, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

WA Campaigners speak about sign up

There’s been some great media awareness created in the last 24 hours by WA campaigners celebrating their state’s sign up to DisabilityCare launch sites.

Listen to how the ABC covered the news with campaigners Sue Ellen Bull and Neeva Steven after an explanation by the Premier Colin Barnett.

Read the Australian article here featuring the Guilfoile family.

Aug 4, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

WA makes DisabilityCare truly National

 Both the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the WA Premier Colin Barnett today announced that the State government had reached an historic agreement with the Commonwealth which will see approximately 8,400 West Australians covered in 2 launch sites from July 2014.

The deal resolves differences over how the scheme is administered with a unique combination of 2 launch sites that will be co funded but run separately. The My Way trial sites in the Lower South West and Cockburn/Kwinana will be boosted to cover 4,100 people and will be run by the WA Disability Services Commission. The launch site in the Hills will cover 4,300 people and be run by DisabilityCare Australia.  Both sites will be independently monitored and evaluated so that the learnings can contribute to the best possible version of the scheme in the future.

Its a great result for campaigners in West Australia who have never stopped putting their case to the State government for the urgent introduction of the scheme. One longtime campaigner said today that she had  burst into tears when she read the news as it finally gives her and her husband some hope for the future. ” We’ve had so many set backs as a family & life has been extremely hard. So this news finally give me the hope I needed to carry on”.

Every Australian Counts wants to congratulate both the campaigners who kept on going and the WA and Commonwealth governments who heard them and put aside their differences for a compromise that is a great outcome for both the state and the country.

Read what the PM and Minister for Disability Reform said here: http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/launch-disabilitycare-australia-western-australia

Jun 13, 2013
Geraldine Mellet

PM hears from WA campaigners

Prime Minister Julia Gillard met a group of Every Australian Counts campaigners in Rockingham WA today and listened to their experiences of accessing disability support.  With Minister Gary Gray, the member for Brand, she spent almost an hour listening to each and every person of with a disability and family members.  Included in these stories was a tale of a woman who was forced to live in a nursing home as a forty year old because of lack of accomodation and how she fought her way out, families who had to reach crisis to access support, or give up jobs to manage care and incur huge financial and social consequences.  Most of these stories were included in a book presented to the PM made up of personal experiences sent in by WA EAC members.  You can read it here :WA & Disability The Real Story June 2013 The PM was touched when Tom Softly (pictured) presented her with a fantastic photo calendar from Down Syndrome Association WA and flowers and a brooch from one of the youngest campaigners 8 year old Denver Bull.

 

Mar 20, 2013
rebeccaking

Two campaign champions recognised in the same week for their advocacy and community work in the sector

In a week that saw joy at the NDIS Bill passed in the House of Representatives and many celebrations held for International Women’s Day, two Victorian’s in particular were recognised for their dedication and hard work within their communities.

The Every Australian Counts campaign would like to acknowledge and congratulate both Tricia Malowney, inducted onto the honour roll of Victorian women by Premier Napthine and Milly Parker, acknowledged as an Inspirational Woman by Hobsons Bay City Council. Continue reading »

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