Turning the Wheels of Reform
The Productivity Commission suggest an 'entirely new model' for disability support
The hot topic this month is the National Disability Insurance Scheme plan due in the final report from the Productivity Commission on the 31st of July. If the plan proceeds, it will progressively change our industry in a big way over the next seven years.
A draft report released as part of an inquiry into care and support for the disabled suggests an 'entirely new model' be adopted and identifies the current system as 'underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient'. It also points out restricted choice, uncertainty, and inequality between those disabled as a result of an accident and those born with one.
Two schemes have been proposed; NDIS and a smaller NIIS (National Injury Insurance Scheme) to cover those disabled in an accident. Similarly to medicare, in return for a levy any Australian would recieve long-term care and support if they aquire a significant disability or are born with one. The schemes would not replace income support as this is the role of the disability pension.
The schemes would potentially provide this diverse group with more choice in how support is provided. Freedom to select service providers and to cash-out support packages - to make choices, be in control and plan their lives like anyone else.
The report also suggests an associated National Disability Insurance Agency. It would have an independent board, an advisory council of key stakeholders, clear guidelines to ensure a sustainable scheme and with legislation that protected the scheme from political influences.
An effective scheme will benefit the economy and our communities. The question is whether NDIS will be that scheme. Will it meet the needs or prove to be another ineffective system with a new face?
NDIS has a 2018 national roll-out date and details of the much-anticipated scheme are still unclear. Many have pointed out flaws in the productivity commission report and for a number of reasons many believe it will never happen.
Disability services minister Andrew Constance has said that the coalition supports a national overhaul. "we give in principal support for the implementation of a national scheme" Constance told reporters. Former NSW disability services minister and now NDIS campaign director John Della Bosca said "One thing we agree on... is that we have to do something important and something major about the situation of Australians living with disability"
The campaign running in support of the scheme is called ‘Every Australian Counts’ and it is largely aimed at securing public support for a realistic change agenda. Visit the campaign website and download the draft report on the productivity commission page to help in forming your own opinion. The final report will be released on the 31st of July.
Source: PMEPosted: Thursday 14th July, 2011