Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

NDIS explained in Seymour

Proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme sees lots of questions - and some answers.

CHALPAT SONTI November 22, 2012 4:06am

Federal Parliamentary Secrertary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas responds to questions at the Seymour NDIS forum on Thursday.

A scheme designed to make life easier for disabled people, their families and carers got a good going-over in Seymour last week.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas was in town to discuss the proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme.

About 35 people turned out to the forum and talked about their own experiences as well as asking questions.

The scheme, recommended by the Productivity Commission, will be trialled in five locations throughout the country, including Geelong, from July next year.

The NDIS website explains the scheme thus:

‘‘Rather than funding based on historical budget allocations, a funding pool will be based on actuarial assessment of need.

‘‘It will recognise that disability is for a lifetime, and so it will take a lifelong approach to providing care and support.

‘‘This means that assessment will look beyond the immediate need, and across the course of a person’s life.

‘‘For example, home modifications might be expensive up front, but if they afford a person with significant disability the opportunity of greater independence, or if they mean that a parent carer can continue to care for their loved one, it’s a good investment.’’

Ms McLucas said it ‘‘has the potential to do for disability what Medicare did for health in this country, what (compulsory) superannuation did for retirement savings, what HECS did for education’’.

The trial will receive $1billion of Federal funding nationally. But those working in the sector are itching for a complete roll-out.

James O’Brien, the acting state director of National Disability Services, the peak body for the sector, told the forum ‘‘we really are at a critical point’’.

‘‘The launch sites will only cover 20000 people,’’ he said.

‘‘Our concern is that the Productivity Commission reckoned there were 420000 people (in need) across the country. We really need to see a detailed funding commitment from the government to give us some comfort.

‘‘We want to end the postcode lottery.

‘‘This time next year if you’re in 3220, which is Geelong, you beauty. But for everyone else you have to wait. As a matter of urgency we need to see a crystal commitment.’’

Federal Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said there was ‘‘strong support’’ for the NDIS in the region.

‘‘We want local people to benefit from (it) as soon as possible,’’ he said.

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