01/02/2017 - 15:55

Decision on $3.4bn WA NDIS rollout

01/02/2017 - 15:55

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The state and Commonwealth governments today signed a bilateral agreement for a nationally consistent, locally delivered National Disability Insurance Scheme, set to be delivered from July.

Julie Waylen says it is critical the disability sector has a strong voice in shaping the new WA NDIS.

The state and Commonwealth governments today signed a bilateral agreement for a nationally consistent, locally delivered National Disability Insurance Scheme, set to be delivered from July.

The agreement outlines how Western Australia will run and administer the NDIS model, in contrast to the centralised system to operate in other states.

Local disability providers had expected a decision regarding the implementation of the NDIS in WA in October last year, however an announcement in early December said only that negotiations had started.

Today’s announcement includes 11 fixed conditions required by the federal government for a state-run NDIS in WA to ensure consistency and integrity of the scheme is upheld across the country.

The scheme is estimated to cost $3.4 billion to implement during the transition phase (2017-end 2020), with the state government to commit just over $2 billion and the remaining $1.4 billion from federal coffers.

WA will solely cover ongoing delivery costs associated with the administration and operation of the WA NDIS, starting at a reported $106.4 million in 2020.

However, governance responsibilities will be shared.  

Premier Colin Barnett said a locally delivered NDIS was something he had fought hard for and that people with disability, their families and carers now had certainty about their future.

“This is a great day for people with disability in WA,” he said.

“They will be able to access the same level of funding and support as other people participating in the NDIS around Australia, with the advantage of it being delivered through an established service system run by people based here who know West Australian communities.”

State legislation will mirror key elements of the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and will be introduced as soon as practicable.

National Disability Services WA, the peak industry association representing more than 100 WA disability service providers, welcomed today’s announcement.

State manager Julie Waylen said it was well placed to reflect the circumstances of the diverse and vast geographical regions across the state.

“The WA sector has campaigned long and hard for NDIS and we look forward to bringing our expertise and knowledge to help implement this significant reform for WA,” she said.

“As this landmark agreement for NDIS in WA takes effect, it is critical the disability sector and people with disability, their families and carers continue to have a strong voice in shaping the new WA NDIS Authority and legislation to ensure it best meets their needs into the future.”

Trials

WA was ahead of the curve in 2013, when the NDIS Act was introduced. The state already had a scheme in place that included features similar to those proposed in the federal rollout, such as individualised funding, and a degree of customer choice and control.

As a result, certain sites across WA were selected to trial both models to determine which was better suited to WA, or whether a hybrid model was needed.

Two trial schemes are currently operating at different site locations – a state-administered WA NDIS and a Commonwealth-run National Disability Insurance Agency.

In early 2016, both trial sites were extended until June this year.

In a statement released today, WA Greens candidate Alison Xamon said people with a disability and their families were disappointed the government had signed the deal without first releasing the results of these two trial site reviews.

“People with disability and their families deserve to see reviews into the two trial sites, and we call for a complete transparency around that process,” she said. 

“We also want to know how the decision was made that WA would cop such an unfair deal over administration costs.

“We demand that the services be co-designed with consumers and not left to large service providers to design the service.” 

WA Disability Services Minister Donna Faragher said the agreement would provide the ongoing opportunity for people with disability to continue to shape how the scheme could best meet their needs.

“People will enter the scheme between July 1 2017 and June 30 2020 based on a geographic rollout consistent with other parts of the nation,” she said.

“We are prepared to invest what it takes to ensure that the NDIS can be rolled out to every eligibly person in WA no matter where they live.”

An estimated 39,000 Western Australians will be part of the NDIS by the end of the transition phase.

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