Page 349 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 17 February 2015

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National disability insurance scheme—implementation

Ministerial statement

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (10.06), by leave: I am very pleased today to provide a progress report on the implementation of the national disability insurance scheme in the ACT.

On 7 May and 4 June last year, in separate resolutions, the Assembly called for regular reports on the implementation of disability reform in the ACT. On 7 August last year I presented the first NDIS implementation update to the Assembly, and I am pleased to be able to provide further information today.

The ACT government is committing $14.4 million to the NDIS this financial year, and by 2019-20 the government will provide $167 million and the commonwealth contribution will be $175 million of the total cost. This amounts to a doubling of investment in our disability sector in 2019-20 of $342 million.

On 1 July 2014 the NDIS was officially launched in the ACT. Over the past eight months we have been watching closely as the scheme gradually ramps up. We are one of the trial sites for the NDIS—and this is an important opportunity for our society. We have an opportunity to learn from other trial sites around Australia. We are working closely with people with a disability, families, carers and service providers to make sure our transition to the NDIS is a positive experience. Yes, there will be hiccups along the way; that is the very nature of reforms such as this one. But we will not lose sight of the horizon ahead of us—a better deal for people with disability.

As I mentioned, the NDIS in the ACT is being implemented gradually. People are phasing in to the scheme according to their age, or academic year for school-age children. All eligible school-age children will begin to access the NDIS this year. Students in high school, from years 7 to 12, will transition first, from January to March, and primary school students, kindergarten to year 6, will transition from April to June. Adults aged 49 to 60 will also move to the NDIS this year, consistent with our ages and stages phasing schedule.

We saw the release of the NDIA’s first quarterly report in November last year. That report showed that in the first three months of the scheme, from July to September last year, we had 223 people make an access request and 103 approved plans. We expect data for the second quarter in year 2—that is from October to December last year—to be released very soon. In fact, I think it could be released later this week.

The NDIS means big changes to the way our disability sector operates. That is why the ACT and commonwealth governments are investing $21.8 million to prepare the ACT for the NDIS. This includes $9.3 million for enhanced services and $12.5 million for sector development.

During the second half of 2014 we saw the final grants allocated for the enhanced service offer, and I was pleased to see that we were able to offer some people a grant

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