Today the Productivity Commission has released its final report into Disability Care and Support. As the final report has only just been released I have not yet had time to read all of the detail but I am sure to be writing more about this in the future.
From what I can gather so far the main points from the Productivity Commission are
- The current disability support system is underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports. The stresses on the system are growing, with rising costs for all governments
- There should be a new national scheme — the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) — that provides insurance cover for all Australians in the event of significant disability. Funding of the scheme should be a core function of government (just like Medicare).
- The scheme should involve a common set of eligibility criteria, entitlements to individually tailored supports based on the same assessment process, certainty of funding based on need, genuine choice over how their needs were met (including choice of provider) and portability of entitlements across borders. There would be local area coordinators and disability support organisations to provide grass roots support. The insurance scheme would take a long-term view and have a strong incentive to fund cost effective early interventions, and collect data to monitor outcomes and ensure efficiency.
- The above features would be best met by a having a single agency overseeing the NDIS — the National Disability Insurance Agency. It would be created by, and report to, all Australian governments. It would have strong governance arrangements, with an independent commercial board, an advisory council of key stakeholders, clear guidelines to ensure a sustainable and efficient scheme, and legislation that protected the scheme from political influences.
- It would be the assessor and funder, but not the provider of care and support. Services would be provided by non-government organisations, disability service organisations, state and territory disability service providers, individuals and mainstream businesses. Increased funding, choice and certainty are the key features of the recommended scheme. Advocacy would be funded outside the scheme.
The governments response … well weak at best. From what I can understand from the press conference there was a commitment in principle to the NDIS and the allocation of $10 million into working with the states on creating the foundations for the development of the scheme. Seriously what does that mean!!!! I know I need to wait to see a formal release but all I heard from Julia Gillard, Jenny Macklin and Bill Shorten was ….. NDIS good idea … we know people with disabilities and their carers are doing it tough … spin spin spin … we promise to talk about it and that is why we are giving $10million to do … productivity commission report talks about 7 years implementation but we aren’t going to commit to anything … spin spin spin … and therefore in the meantime you have to continue to fund and somehow manage the care for your son because the system is and will be for a long time “underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports”. ARRGGHHH!!!!!!
I am just tied of hearing mañana, mañana, mañana (tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow) for something I don’t even know for sure is going to be of any help at all.