Carers Australia welcomes the release today of both the Productivity Commission’s report, Disability Care and Support and the Government’s announcement that it will proceed immediately with measures to build the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Carers Australia’s President Tim Moore said, "with these developments there was now great hope in the community that Australia would at last introduce a scheme that would provide quality care and support to all people with a significant disability. Not only would this be of immeasurable benefit to the estimated 410,000 Australians with disabilities that would be covered by the scheme, but it would also ease considerably the burden of support provided by their carers. Mr Moore said there are hundreds of thousands of carers who make an enormous contribution to the Australian community by supporting family members and friends with a disability. This contribution is often unseen and involving considerable personal commitment which may negatively affect their own health, wellbeing and community connectedness."
Carers Australia gave strong support to the key recommendations for the introduction of a NDIS contained in the Productivity Commission’s draft report released in February. Mr Moore was particularly pleased that in its final report the Commission has expanded the coverage under the scheme of people with a disability caused by mental illness. "It is right and just’ he said ‘that people with these disabilities have been included in the proposed scheme on a similar basis to people with other types of disability."
Mr Moore remarked on the potential of a NDIS to facilitate greater participation of carers in the workforce. To ensure that this potential is realised it will be important that government provide training and other assistance to help carers return to the workforce or to move into more demanding jobs.
The Productivity Commission report states that it will take at least seven years to fully implement an NDIS. If full implementation is to be achieved, Mr Moore said 'it will be critical that a NDIS receive broad community support and from all political parties, including at the state and territory level. It will only be with widespread support that the nation can be confident it can achieve such profound change.
For far too long carers have felt undervalued by the service system and not engaged in the reform process. Carers Australia strongly urges the government to provide ample opportunity for carers to participate in the development and implementation of a NDIS.
Media inquiries contact Rosemary Spry (02) 6122 9907 or 0429 996 258.