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Families, carers and disability service providers have welcomed the Productivity Commission’s draft report of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The Productivity Commission released its draft report into a NDIS yesterday, which chairman of the Queensland NDIS Campaign Committee and CEO of Endeavour Foundation David Barbagallo said would revolutionise the way Australia’s 1.4 million people – that’s one in five Australians – with a disability are supported.
The long-awaited draft report follows a one-year feasibility study conducted by the Commission, and proposes that the country’s nine disability systems be replaced by one national co-ordinated system to address funding.
The draft report slams the current system, saying it is “underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports”.
“Currently, people with a disability have no as-of-right entitlement to funding or services,” David said.
“While a proportion of the one in five Australians with a disability receive some level of support, many receive little or none.
“An NDIS would break down the geographical and jurisdictional barriers people with a disability and their families currently face when trying to obtain funding.
“The current system is highly inefficient and does not ensure that people with a disability have access to basic human rights such as education, mobility, to raise a family or even not die young of preventable health issues.
“An NDIS would redress these social injustices. It would be an equitable, co-ordinated national system to provide lifelong support to people with a disability that enables them to access these rights and lead an ordinary life.”
Unlike the current disability system, the draft report recommends that an NDIS be a person-centred system. This would place a person with a disability at the centre of the decision-making about their future, offering them choice and a voice in the decision-making and giving the family hope that their wishes will be able to be responded to.
The report also recommends that the Australian Government establish an independent National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to administer the NDIS.
David said such a governing body, subject to the Commonwealth statutory Authorities and Companies Act and overseen by an independent board, sends a clear indication this is a national issue needing national solutions.
He also welcomed the report’s focus on early intervention and planning, which highlights that there are lifelong issues that require planning and careful coordination and is in direct contrast to the current reactionary crises-based funding system.
Further highlighting the need for a fair system is the report’s proposal of a National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS), which would address any potential debate about causality or fault, with the NDIS being the no-fault safety net and an independent NIIS assessing catastrophic injuries from accidents, with the same basic goals as the NDIS.
“How someone with a disability acquires a disability should not determine how much funding they are entitled to,” David said.
Not only would an NDIS largely improve the lives of people with a disability and their families, but it would also boost the country’s economy - the more efficient support people with a disability receive will result in more being able to join or return to the workforce, providing not only financial contribution to the economy but an income for people with a disability along with social inclusion and the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the community.
While an NDIS would cost around $12 billion a year, the economic return of just 2 per cent of people with a disability being able to join or return to the workforce, along with if just 20 per cent of carers could also join the workforce due to targeted support, is estimated to be around $19 billion a year.
The Productivity Commission’s final report will go to the Federal Government in July, following public consultation on its draft report.
David is calling on the public to actively supporting the Productivity Commission’s recommendation for an NDIS to ensure the Government knows Australians will not stand for the current unjust system. You can register your support by clicking on Count Me In at www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au
•Currently people with a disability have no as-of-right entitlement to funding or services.
•Currently there are nine different disability systems throughout Australia.
•The Productivity Commission’s draft report proposes that the current system be replaced with one national co-ordinated system to provide lifelong support to people with a disability.
•The draft report proposes that an NDIS :
2.Focus on early intervention and planning
3.Be set up under a National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)
4.Be established along with a National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS)
•An NDIS would likely be in the form of a new levy, similar to Medicare
•$6.5 billion is the current annual cost of disability funding in Australia.
•While an NDIS would cost around $12 billion a year, the economic return of just 2 per cent of people with a disability being able to join or return to the workforce, along with if just 20 per cent of carers could also join the workforce due to targeted support, is estimated to be around $19 billion a year. The figures come from research by the Queensland University of Technology and National Disability Services.
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