NDIS: Increased funding for disability?
The big talking point in disability at the moment is the first stage of the new National Disability Insurance Scheme1. The first stage was revealed last week in the Labour government’s 2012-2013 budget2 along with a whole host of other social reforms.
The ‘Robin Hood-like’ mentality behind the new scheme is centred on sharing the benefits of Australia’s mining boom to provide better support to those who need it most. The government has promised around $1 billion over four years for the first stage of the new scheme, set to commence in July 2013 in four trial locations.
Although details concerning exactly how the new disability scheme will work are scant, it appears that ‘Local Area Coordinators’ will assist individuals in designing and managing an individualised, funded support package to meet their specific needs. Carers and family of those with a disability are also key stake holders in the new scheme, with services set to become available before families reach crisis point which is not the case under present disability services models.
Fortunately, the government has recognised communication as one of the key areas of disability they may warrant support under the new scheme. The government also recognise the importance of early intervention, promising individual support to those with conditions which evidence shows will benefit from receiving services early.
The reaction to the announcement of the first stage of the new scheme from people with a disability and their carers seem to be positive for the most part. Although it is generally agreed that what has been announced to date is not enough, it’s a step in the right direction!