Saturday, 26 October 2013

Unknown Future for the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Not all that long ago, the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, announced the start of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (also known as Disability Care Australia).

It supposedly had wholehearted support from both sides of Parliament.

So, as it began to be rolled out, lots of people who have disabilities caused by lupus, along with all the many Australians who have disabilities from other causes, were waiting to see just what this new program would provide.

Well, politics is a strange business.  What a party believed in opposition may not be exactly the same as they believe in Government.

The new Treasurer, Joe Hockey has announced an intention to scale back or abolish the agency which manages the NDIS. Mr Hockey has said the work of the NDIS could be managed by the government owned private health insurance company, Medibank Private.  He's also indicated an intention to privatise Medibank Private.

I can't read minds, so I can't tell you why the new government would do this.  I can give you some possibilities:  A. the government genuinely believes this will give the best outcome for Australians with disabilities; B. the government wants to make disability someone else's problem and so is handing it over to private enterprise; C. the government wants to save money at all costs and thinks a good way to do it is to take money away from disability services; or D. the government would like to undo anything really good the previous government did so that voters will forget about it or think it failed.

As I said, I can't tell you exactly what the government is thinking, but it is interesting to note that there is no cabinet position representing people with disabilities.

Whatever the motive, if you object to this behaviour, and would like to say so, here is how to contact Mr Hockey directly:

Hon Joe Hockey
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Or email:

The opposition (former government) does still have a Shadow Spokesperson for Disability. It's Jenny Macklin, who sent out an email yesterday on the issue.

She said: "I know that for many of you, the NDIS has been a long time coming. I also know that with the implementation of the NDIS you will now receive the care and support that you have always wanted.

"This has been a hard fight for many of you, but we now have a scheme that ensures Australians with disability aren’t treated like second class citizens anymore.

"We cannot let the Government take this away."

Previous post on NDIS/DisabilityCare Australia:

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