Senate approves NDIS legislation

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Senate approves NDIS legislation

AAPMarch 20, 2013, 6:41 pm

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The Senate has given the federal government the go-ahead to set up the National Disability Insurance Scheme, including launch sites that will begin in July.

Landmark legislation passed the upper house on Wednesday, subject to the lower house agreeing to government and Greens’ amendments.

Parliamentary secretary Jan McLucas said the scheme would end the “cruel postcode lottery” of disability care.

“(The NDIS) will transform the lives of people with disability and their families and carers,” she told the Senate on Wednesday.

“For the first time they will have their needs met in a way that truly supports them to live with choice and dignity.”

Liberal frontbencher Concetta Fierravanti-Wells earlier said the coalition had enthusiastically supported each milestone towards establishing the NDIS.

But she reaffirmed the opposition’s call to set up a bipartisan parliamentary committee to oversee its implementation.

This was rejected.

When fully operational the scheme is expected to cover 410,000 Australians with disabilities and cost upwards of $15 billion a year.

So far, the federal government has chipped in $1 billion over four years for the first phase of the scheme, which sets up launch sites in four states covering 26,000 people from July, and in the ACT from 2014.

The contribution falls short of the $3.9 billion the Productivity Commission said was necessary over the next four years.

Launch sites will be established in the Hunter region of NSW, covering 10,000 people, and in Victoria’s Barwon area covering 5000 people.

South Australia will have a state-wide trial covering 4800 children, while Tasmania’s trial will cover 1000 young people aged between 15 and 24.

The ACT’s launch site covers the whole territory and 6000 people aged under 65.

Earlier this week, the federal government quietly rebranded the NDIS as Disability Care Australia.

The Senate approved government amendments about disability advocacy, UN conventions on disability and the membership requirements of the NDIS advisory council.
The Greens secured support for an amendment for the NDIS agency to do advocacy work in areas broader than the scheme.

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