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Aug 15, 2012
Geraldine Mellet

Dear Premier Barnett, are we getting a launch site?

Is WA still in negotiations to get an NDIS launch site - is a question that has not yet been answered and needs to be addressed. Over the last few weeks we have seen the negotiations at COAG get bogged down and at times be overtaken by a He Said She Said account of who was to blame for the stalemate.  While there was no resolution of the source of long term funding we did see progress amongst other states as campaigners rallied to send messages to their individual state governments that they wanted them to keep on going with the negotiations and get a launch site for their jurisdiction.

WA campaigners watched and waited as NSW and Victoria finally signed up along with South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania.  We were told that the sticking point for WA was over governance issues and that the state had subsequently gone back to the Commonwealth seeking ‘middle ground’. During debate in parliament last week in which the Opposition attempted to condemn the Premier for playing politics with the NDIS the Premier gave his version of the COAG negotiations and spoke of the $135 million he offered for a launch site and the stumbling block of the management of the scheme. Dr Hames who took up the government’s speech after the Premier spoke of a letter sent to the Prime Minister following COAG, offering alternatives. You can read it all here :$FILE/A38%20S1%2020120808%20p4635a-4635a.pdf

But where are we now? Today on ABC 720′s Morning Program the Premier was taking talkback and was asked by Nihal Iscel who rang in to query him on the launch site. At the end of his response the Premier said words to the effect that he didnt think the Commonwealth really wanted one here in WA.  Barnett on NDIS

The burning questions now are will the negotiations for a middle ground continue and when will we know either way?

Below is the letter that Nihal Iscel wrote to the Premier after the talkback session :

Dear Premier

Thank you for answering my question on the ABC radio this morning in regards to the NDIS and also committing $135 millionstowards it.

I agree with you that WA has a very good system in place for people with some disabilities but unfortunately not for others with sensory or some physical disabilities. Under the current system, only less than 20 per cent of people’s application for funding gets accepted. The only ones who get funded are those who can demonstrate that they are worse off than others with similar disability and have a greater need making the disability support services a charity model. Those who speak English as their second language or have low literacy rates, miss out. Therefore our system is not equitable. Under the NDIS everyone’s individual needs would be met and it would be sustainable.

I’m blind and if I forget to renew my membership each year with the Association for the Blind (ABWA), or sometimes if I want some personal information to be Brailled, it costs me $5.80 per page to get things transcribed. I’m not entitled for any services of the ABWA unless I am a member. How do we have the best service in WA?

I went to Europe in 2010 and did a two weeks language course in Spain. They provided six volumes of Braille books for me for free knowing that I was not a citizen of Spain or European Union. I then went to Turkey and visited a Centre for the Blind in Istanbul. They gave me 50 talking books for free on CDs and DVDs.

I applied for an accessible mobile phone as I need it for my work four months ago through the Workplace Modifications Grant and to this date, I still haven’t received it yet.

I understand your disappointment about WA not being chosen as one of the launch sides for the NDIS, however for the betterment of people with disability in WA, would you commit to renegotiating with the federal government so that we can also have an equitable and sustainable disability support services where we will not have to beg to get services? Will you also please inform us of the state government’s progress in this matter?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards

Nihal Iscel




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