Attempt to ramp up NDIS pressure on state government

THE Gillard government and disability support advocates have tried to ramp up public pressure on the Baillieu government to sign up to the full National Disability Insurance Scheme, prompting the state government to accuse the Commonwealth of “playing politics” with the issue.

Victoria has a trial site for the NDIS in the Barwon region from July 1 for 5000 people, but unlike New South Wales, the state government is still in negotiations over the design of the full scheme.

Negotiations about the design of the scheme are continuing between all states – except NSW.

Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin says she is concerned by “the reticence from our second largest state, Victoria. It’s like they are stuck in neutral.”

“Ted Baillieu needs to show leadership and commit Victoria to a full scheme.What’s good for people with disability in Geelong is good for all Victorians.”

Ms Macklin’s comments were echoed by disability support advocates but disability service providers said they were very supportive of the careful approach.

Service providers say that given the highly complex and multi-layered system that would be put in place, it is important not to rush implementation urging that it is done properly and effectively.

The Baillieu government is frustrated by Ms Macklin’s comments. A spokeswoman said people with a disability, their carers and families would be rightly concerned that the Minister would seek to “again play politics with the NDIS”.

The government spokesman said “it is vitally important that this significant policy is properly implemented.”

“The Victorian Coalition Government has been the national leader and a champion of the introduction of an NDIS.”

He said the Coalition Government is working with the Commonwealth towards the introduction of an effective NDIS.

Advocates for disability reform are worried that Victoria, which sees itself as a leader in services for disabled people, will either get left behind or that the national standards set up under the NDIS would drag Victorian standards down.

Yooralla’s disability ambassador Milly Parker said the current situation between Victoria and the Commonwealth was “totally disheartening” especially given the state’s proud track record.

Ms Parker, has an acquired brain injury suffered in a car accident, and has experienced the benefits of the TAC insurance system.

“It’s abhorrent that my mates in wheelchairs don’t have the same access to resources as me. I can’t imagine what it like,” Ms Parker said.

Scope Victoria chief executive Jennifer Fitzgerald said she understood why it was a slow process, adding there were a “lot of conversations” going on to ensure it got done properly.

“I don’t get a sense that Victoria is going to get left behind, we are not moving out of pace,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

Both advocates and providers agree that Victoria has been a leader in individualised support for disabled people, which the NDIS champions.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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