COMMUNITY members at a fiery public meeting in Swan View last week called on the opposition to represent those left out of decision making processes about the State’s new disability scheme.
Disability Services Minister Donna Faragher announced on Friday that the Federal and WA State government had agreed in principle to develop their own schemes.
WA rejected the federal model of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, after the WA government chose to “go their own way”.
The announcement provides a firm basis for further negotiations toward a final bilateral agreement on a WA-delivered NDIS model which would meet national conditions in July 2017.
Federal Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the State and Commonwealth governments were committed to national consistency on the NDIS such as choice and control, and the Commonwealth was open to a local model run by the State Government.
Mr Porter said there were 11 conditions that must be met if the scheme was run out of WA.
“Those fixed conditions include national consistency for key elements such as eligibility and access, the WA Government funding 100 per cent of the administration and operating costs, and clear sharing of governance responsibilities.”
State Minister for Disability Services, Donna Faragher, said the lives of people with disability were being changed for the better by the NDIS.
“We have a strong existing disability sector in Western Australia and we want to build on this with the delivery of a State-run NDIS which is nationally consistent,” Mrs Faragher said.
However, participants in the scheme said that the best predictor of future behaviour was past behaviour – and that the much-lauded WA disability system had previously left thousands of people without support or equipment.
The No Disadvantage lobby group published a list of comparisons between the two schemes, which were largely unfavourable towards the state model of the NDIS.
Convenor Samantha Connor said a lack of transparency behind the deal meant those with disabilities and the general public were concerned.
“’Unlike the NDIS, which had an extensive co-design period and where disabled people and their families were able to look at a proposed model, this deal has been done without people knowing what will happen to them,” she said.
“We don’t know what this scheme will look like, or what the costs will be to the taxpayers. There are serious concerns that the proposed model will leave people in this State worse off if they are disabled and despite State Government reassurances that they are identical.”
Convenor of the NDIS in WA Peer Support Group, Bronwyn Lines, said people were scared.
“We have fought for five years to have a national insurance scheme,” she said.
“Once again, service providers and the government are making decisions for us.
“We need to be consulted and we need to have confidence that our government is doing what is right for our people.”
State-based disability groups, including People with Disabilities WA, have raised concerns recently about what it means for people with disability and their families, including concerns about the lack of co-design, access to independent appeal processes and lack of control.
Disabled people and family members are strongly encouraged to urgently contact their local MP to discuss their concerns.
Opposition disability spokesman Stephen Dawson said it took too long for the State Government to reach this decision.
“The delays have caused a great deal of uncertainty for people with disability and their families,” he said.