Disability Funding Is On The Table

Disability Funding Is On The Table

Western Australia Minister for Disability Services Helen Morton

Funding ‘No Impediment’ For Disability Scheme 

Victor P Taffa

  • Disability Services Minister Helen Morton attends meeting in Canberra

Another important step has been taken towards Western Australia’s participation in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

At a meeting of Disability Services ministers held in Canberra on Friday, November 2, WA Disability Services Minister Helen Morton moved to reassure the Federal Government that funding will not be an impediment for an NDIS launch site in WA.

Mrs. Morton advised the Federal Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin, that one way or another, the issue of funding will be sorted and the focus should now turn to a governance arrangement that will benefit the national scheme and West Australians with a disability.

“WA has a lot to offer the NDIS and I look forward to a shared management arrangement that will enable our State to become fully integrated with the NDIS while keeping decision making and control at the local level.” Mrs. Morton said.

“We shouldn’t disrupt people’s lives and impose unnecessary bureaucracy from a new national agency.  WA has all the key elements required to introduce the NDIS in local launch sites a State-wide Local Area Coordination system; a comprehensive range of disability service organisations; and 20 years’ experience in individualised funding.”

The interim head of the NDIS launch transition agency, Mr. David Bowen asked Minister Morton to see first-hand how the WA system worked with people.  Mrs. Morton said she would be happy to share the lessons learned by WA in more than 25 years of development.

While progress was made at the Canberra meeting on a WA launch site, Mrs. Morton joined with other State ministers to express concern about the draft NDIS legislation that the Federal Government plans to introduce later this month to Parliament.

Similar concerns have been raised by people in WA during the early phase of consultation on the draft legislation.

“It is clear this legislation is based on a social security model and that if left unchanged will lead this State towards a Centrelink-type approach to disability services.” Mrs. Morton said.

“This would take WA backwards to a rigid, compliance-based system and undermine the progress we are making to give people choice and control over services.”

The Minister ensured that WA officials would work with the Federal Government in coming weeks to re-draft the legislation. This will provide the opportunity to draw on the WA experience in disability services to ensure the national scheme can deliver on the vision outlined by the Productivity Commission.

Fact File

  • 80% of the $640 Million spent on disability services in WA is funded by the State Govt
  • About 216,000 West Australians have a disability (SDAC, 2009)