More support for people with disability

The State Coalition's decision to enter into an agreement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and also commit to a significant increase in disability funding in this week's Budget, has been applauded by State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.

"On top of some terrific projects we have going on locally, I am delighted the disability sector is receiving significantly increased funding and support," said Mr Bull.

“Importantly, the Budget announcement will provide more immediate support, with a significant boost in the number of Individual Support Packages (ISPs) and funding for people with complex needs in supported accommodation."

Premier Denis Napthine and Minister for Disability Services and Reform Mary Wooldridge announced Sunday that the 2013-2014 Victorian Budget includes a significant funding increase of $224 million, taking the total annual disability funding to $1.6 billion.

The announcement follows yesterday’s signing of an agreement between the Victorian Coalition Government and the Commonwealth for a full roll-out of the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) – now known as DisabilityCare Australia in Victoria from 2019-20.

"These two announcements over the weekend have been widely applauded and I am delighted this government is significantly increasing resources into the disability sector," said Mr Bull.

"On a local basis we now also have the All Abilities playground being constructed. Yes, there were a few hurdles along the way, but to see the frames going up this week is very exciting.

"It will provide not only a great stop over for people travelling through town, but the very layout of the playground will provide a safe and secure environment where parents and carers can go to have some time out with those they are caring for.

"We also have the State contributing to accommodation units to be built at Noweyung that will provide more accommodation options for those with disability, so the State's announcements over the weekend are just terrific on top of what we have going on locally," said Mr Bull.

“Victoria has a proud history of leading the way in support for people with disability,” Dr Napthine said.

“We have led the way in getting people with disabilities out of institutions and into the community, we have led the move to more choice and more individualised funding for people with disability, and we have led the way in the development of an NDIS.”

Ms Wooldridge said that the disability package in the upcoming budget would support the continuing reform that is helping build better lives for people with disability in the lead-up to full implementation of the NDIS across Victoria from July 2019.

The Budget package for disability:

•    delivers $107 million for 720 new ISPs for people with high support needs, and continues the specialised vocational supports for young people with disability pursuing employment goals;

•    provides over $62 million to help meet the increasingly complex needs of people with disability living in Government-run supported accommodation;

•    commits $7.9 million for capital investment in new accommodation to enable the closure of Sandhurst Residential Services, giving residents the opportunity to live within the community;

•    provides $4 million for the aids and equipment program for people with disability;

•    allocates over $26 million for a wage rise in 2013-14 for about 13,000 disability workers as a result of a Fair Work Australia decision known as the SACS case; and

•    contributes $17 million in additional funding to support the Victorian launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the Barwon region on 1 July 2013 taking the Victorian Coalition Government’s total 3-year investment in the launch site to over $300 million.

Ms Wooldridge said that the Budget package offers people with disability, their family and carers more control and choice over the support they receive to ensure it best meets their specific needs.

The new ISPs are being partially funded by an increase in board and lodging fees for DHS managed disability accommodation. This will result in fees for Government run disability residential services being consistent across locations, and being equivalent to the average of those already operating in community sector provided disability accommodation.

As well as ensuring fairness and equity, these changes in the fees for residents who have an accommodation place will mean that a group of people with disability, their families and carers who are currently desperately waiting on the Disability Support Register for respite, day services or accommodation will now be able to access support.

The new fees will bring the average contribution per resident for supported accommodation to approx $17,500 per annum. The average cost to Government to support a resident in DHS managed supported accommodation is $128,000 per annum.

Ms Wooldridge said that Victoria’s disability reform agenda is providing more choice and flexibility for people.