UnitingCare Australia welcomes historic disability legislation
UnitingCare Australia has welcomed the passage of the Government’s historic National Disability Insurance Scheme through the Parliament and called on the states and territories to fund their share of the scheme.
National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said the NDIS promises to provide tailored supports to meet the individual needs and aspirations of people with disability and, critically, to double the current levels of funding to meet those needs.
“We welcome the support federally of the major parties and the independents for the scheme that will make a very big difference to the lives of many people living in Australia,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
“The scheme needs to be fully funded to give all Australians the support they need to live an ordinary life.
“We know that almost half of all people living with disability in Australia live on, or close to the poverty line, which means it is beyond the reach of people with a disability to purchase supports if they are not provided through an entitlement-based scheme such as the NDIS.
“The NDIS will be launched in six geographic locations around Australia from July this year and a roll out for the rest of the country will take place from 2016.
“But there are particularly vulnerable people who will need additional support.
“A number of people with disability live isolated, vulnerable lives on the fringes of society. These include people who are homeless, indigenous people, people who use alcohol and other drugs, and people who are living with mental health issues which cause or complicate their disability. People with a disability who are, themselves, parents, and the burgeoning number of people with a lifelong disability who are ageing are also increasingly at risk of joining this group.
“People in these cohorts often lack the skills to advocate for themselves, or the connections with family, service providers or other supports to advocate for them.
“We need to ensure that people who are marginalised through poverty, or who are otherwise excluded have access to the support they need from the NDIS.
“And we need to ensure that ageing people with a disability are not overlooked in an environment of significant reform of aged care and disability services.
“We know that early identification, comprehensive support and sustained engagement with vulnerable people can make a real difference.
“We look forward to working with the Government as the scheme is rolled out,” Ms Hatfield Dodds said.
The UnitingCare network manages 14 per cent of all residential aged care places Australia-wide with over 26,000 aged care beds nationally and 21 per cent of community care packages in every state and territory in remote, regional and metropolitan Australia.