MEDIA RELEASE: FEDERAL BUDGET 2018

Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Certainty for people with disability to be able to access the supports they need to participate economically and socially in the community is critical. The Treasurer’s announcement that the NDIS will be fully funded in this budget and forward estimates is welcome news especially in
recent times when it was unclear how, without the Medicare levy, the ongoing funding for the scheme would be met.

The NDIS will give 90,000 Queenslanders with disability access to reasonable and necessary supports, with 45,000 of these people having never received disability support before. With 50% new participants to the scheme, Queensland is in a unique position unlike any other state who have much lower numbers of new participants. Mr Nigel Webb, Chairperson, QDN Board of Directors said, “Many Queenslanders with disability have been waiting a very long time to be able to get the supports they need to live their life, and be part of the community. It is positive to hear that the Commonwealth Government has fully funded the NDIS in this budget and going forward. We will continue our active engagement to make sure that people with disability and their families have certainty in access to essential support, continued bipartisan support and that future governments honour this commitment.”

QDN also welcomes the other NDIS funding measures announced including $92.1 million for continuity of support for people not eligible and $9.9 million for Disability Employment Service (DES) providers for their transition to a new system.   QDN is especially pleased to hear about the continuity of support for people not eligible for the NDIS and the details outlined in the budget about what this will mean and what has been funded. QDN has been raising the issue of continuity of access to the mobility allowance for people currently receiving this support but who will not access  the through the NDIS. The Budget outlined that the Mobility Allowance will cease in mid-2020, however, people receiving it at that time (who are not NDIS-eligible) will be grandfathered and continue to receive it but there will be no new entrants.  Other key areas of the continuity of support include; for people receiving assistance from Partners in Recovery, Personal Helpers and Mentors, and Day to Day Living.  This  support will continue for these people  through arrangements being put in place with the Primary Health Networks. The budget also identified a number of other programs for continuity of support, including for people over 65 and who need to access Auslan will continue to be able to do so through Auslan Booking Service.

The Budget also announced $64.3 million to establish an NDIS Jobs and Market Fund to expand the NDIS workforce and service providers. “Having a strong, diverse and vibrant market is important to people with disability to enable true choice and control. QDN welcomes the news of a Jobs and Market Fund, however, people with disability are a key part of the NDIS marketplace. The shift to customer brings significant changes in responsibilities and roles for people with disability and their families. Investment is needed in people with disability to be able to build their capacity to operate in the new market environment as customers, as well as for service providers. I hope that the NDIS Jobs and Market Fund will respond to this need, as all markets need savy customers who know how to activate their plans and purchase their services and products” Mr Webb said.

Now that the NDIS funding is addressed, it is important that there is a continued focus on fixing the critical areas of the NDIS to deliver consistency and quality, essential day-to-day supports that people with disability need to live their lives and be able to be active citizens, socially and economically in their community. QDN looks forward to continuing to work with the Commonwealth and State Governments, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), allies and supporters to ensure that the NDIS delivers on its promise to people with disability and their families. QDN will include a more detailed update on the budget in the May Ebulletin for members and supporters.

Contact Information: Paige Armstrong, QDN Chief Executive Officer, 1300 363 783 ceo@qdn.org.au

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