Victoria Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge
Historic Step In Progressing Disability Care And Support
Victor P Taffa
The expert taskforce appointed by the Coalition Government met yesterday for the first time to advise the Government on national disability reform.
Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge, who met with the taskforce, said this was an important part of Victoria’s leadership role in the establishment of a national disability insurance scheme and improving the care and support for people with a disability.
Former CEO of Yooralla, Mr. Bryan Woodford OAM, chairs the taskforce which is comprised of Victorians with a passion for reform, including people with a disability, carers, leaders in the disability sector and experts in finance, insurance, policy and government.
“The expert taskforce will examine options and assess the impact of a scheme on the Victorian community and economy, and advise the Government on the implementation of a system to provide lifetime support for people with a disability.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
The taskforce will specifically look at the recently released Productivity Commission draft report Disability Care and Support which clearly identifies the current disability support system as ‘underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient’.
Ms. Wooldridge said the Productivity Commission’s draft report contained two reform proposals:
• The establishment of a taxpayer-funded National Disability Insurance Scheme which would provide long term care and support for all Australians if they acquired a significant disability;
• The establishment of a second smaller scheme to cover people’s lifetime care and support if they acquired a catastrophic injury from an accident based on strengthening existing state and territory schemes.
“I am confident that the expert taskforce we have brought together will work through the challenges of developing and implementing an NDIS and provide valuable advice to the Victorian Government to progress this important scheme.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
The Coalition Government is already proving to be a catalyst for the scheme, getting it on the CAOG agenda and ensuring a special meeting of Community and Disability Services Ministers on 19 April to discuss the draft report and implementation plans.
“The Coalition Government is committed to driving the establishment of a national scheme to provide comprehensive care and support for people with a disability.” Ms. Wooldridge said.
Members of the NDIS Taskforce include:
• Mr. Bryan Woodford OAM (Chair): Former CEO, Yooralla, and manager of other disability organisations; awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to people with a disability;
• Mr. Richard Dent: CEO, E.W. Tipping and chairman of National Disability Services (Victoria); long involvement in the community services sector;
• Dr. Chris Fyffe: Psychologist, former academic and consultant on disability and other issues; former regional director of Community Services Victoria;
• Ms. Lesley Hall: CEO, Australian Federation of Disability Organisations;
• Mr. Robert Kerr: Honorary research fellow at the Brotherhood of St. Laurence; former Commonwealth Treasury economist; former Commissioner with the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission;
• Mr. Rob Knowles AO: Chairman of the Mental Health Council of Australia; former Minister for Health, Housing and Aged Care;
• Mr. Simon McKeon: 2011 Australian of the Year, Executive Chairman of the Macquarie Group (Melbourne), CSIRO Chairman, founding Chairman of MS Research Australia and philanthropist;
• Mr. John Nairn: Director of the James Macready-Bryan Foundation; held senior positions in the funds management and life insurance industries;
• Ms. Fiona Smith: Barrister and former Chair of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission;
• Dr. Jane Tracy: Education Director, Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria at Monash University and medical practitioner;
• Mr. Ron Wilson: Executive Director, Health Insurance Restricted Membership Association of Australia and former member of the Victorian Parliament.