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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?”
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.
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.
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
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.
On Tuesday, 6 May the Every Australia Counts Campaign Director John Della Bosca held a Q and A on our Facebook page to answer supporters’ questions about recent developments in the campaign and what it will mean for people on the ground.
Some great questions were asked and we hope that everyone who participated got a lot out of the session.
However, we know that some supporters couldn’t attend the Q and A and some are not on Facebook, so we’ve created the below resource share with everyone.
What is the NDIS all about?
Who is the NDIS for?
Will the NDIS be means tested?
Will people with disability over the age of 65 be covered?
What supports will be available under the NDIS?
Is there funding for capital items such as equipment or buildings?
How long after the launch sites begin would we expect to see the NDIS roll out to other areas?
Will those currently accessing Individual Support Packages (ISP) be affected by the NDIS?
Is the planner’s role different from the role of the local area coordinator (lac)?
Will the roll out of the NDIS affect the Disability Support Pension?
Will there be funding for carers?
Will there be more funding for job training for people with disability?
How does an organisation become a registered provider of supports?
What are the long term arrangements for ensuring quality service providers?
Can participants employ their family members as staff?
Looking for more information?
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
- Blogs from State Campaign Co-ordinators (316)
- Count me in Celebrities (19)
- Counting on our MPs (112)
- DisabiliTEA 2 August 2011 (12)
- DisabiliTEA 2012 (4)
- EAC (133)
- I Count TV (20)
- In the media (153)
- Look who's counting now (56)
- Message book (7196)
- My Story – Why every Australian must count (11)
- National (53)
- National Disability and Carers Congress (14)
- NDIS Information Forums (73)
- News (37)
- Notes from the Campaign Director (29)
- NSW/ACT (63)
- QLD (88)
- SA/NT (17)
- Upcoming Events (33)
- VIC/TAS (134)
- WA (117)
- You Count – Campaigners in Action (60)
- Your Story (100)
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