Carers Australia supports Productivity Commission report on major disability reform

Carers Australia supports Productivity Commission report on major disability reform

Posted February 28, 2011

Carers Australia welcomes the release today of the Productivity Commission’s interim report into Disability Care and Support.

Carers Australia President Tim Moore said "Australians caring for a person with a disability have been waiting decades for genuine positive reform to disability services."

"The Government must respond positively to the Productivity Commission’s report to address the huge gap in funding and the fragmented approach to disability services", said Mr Moore.  "The recommendation by the Productivity Commission to double the funding to disability services is recognition of a system in crisis," he said.

Carers Australia calls on the government to implement the recommendations in the report.  "The report’s recommendations offer government the most significant opportunity in decades to reform disability services in Australia", said Mr Moore.

Carers Australia fully supports the Productivity Commission’s recommendation on family based assessment.  This assessment will put carers’ needs clearly into the picture and recognise that carers’ have particular support needs. A family-centred approach will provide a perspective that recognises whole-of-family needs.

There is however, a need to better clarify the services available to people who are older than 67 years.  The report assumes that the aged care system will take up the needs of these people, when the vast majority of care for older people is provided by family carers in their own home, not in residential care.

Australians who care for someone with a disability have been waiting many years for an opportunity to develop a system which truly meets the needs of Australians with a disability, their carers and their families.

The needs of family carers are linked to the needs of the person with the disability but carers also have individual needs including accurate and timely service information, emotional and social support, counselling, practical assistance, financial security, respite, workforce participation, retirement funds and planning and services that acknowledge their expertise and include them in decision making where appropriate.

If a national disability care and support scheme (NDIS)  is implemented it has the potential to deliver real benefits over generations for people with a disability, their families and carers.  Emphasis needs to be placed on the whole picture of care provision and on making caring a shared community responsibility; the NDIS will have the capacity to do this.

Media inquiries contact Rosemary Spry (02) 6122 9907 or 0429 996 258.

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