Almost every Australian is caring, or has cared, for a family member with a disability, or knows of a family doing so. Many of these families fall through a huge gap in Australia's social services network.
Those who acquire a disability through a workplace or a motor vehicle accident generally receive financial support. However, for those who acquire permanent disabilities in other accidents, are born with a permanent disability, acquire a permanent disability through a medical condition or have a permanent mental illness, there is no automatic support to meet their needs. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) campaign is aimed at rectifying that situation.
The campaign for an NDIS is supported across Australia by an unprecedented, politically bi-partisan and rapidly growing coalition of people with disabilities, carers, disability service providers, peak disability bodies and community and welfare organisations, including Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect).
As a result of this widespread support, the Australian Government instructed the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into issues associated with the long-term care and support of people with a disability. The final report was released by the Australian Government on 10 August 2011. Visit the Productivity Commission website for further information about the report.
In the May 2012 budget statement, the Federal Government committed $1 billion to launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) over the next four years. The announcement is expected to have bipartisan support.
The budget announcement was for $342.5 million to deliver individualised packages to people with a disability and their families over three years, at four launch sites which are yet to be identified. The Prime Minister has been widely congratulated for announcing the launch of an NDIS a full year earlier than the Productivity Commission recommended in their 2011 report.
More recently, the nation’s leaders reached an agreement about launching the trial sites for the NDIS from 1 July 2013. It was great to hear the Australian and NSW Governments follow up with an announcement that the Hunter region will be the NSW launch site. 10,000 people with disabilities, their families and carers in the Hunter will have their needs assessed to start receiving individual care packages from next year.
Visit the Every Australian Counts website for the latest news, including a new video message "An NDIS in my lifetime" featuring Dr Paul Brock AM