Wednesday, 25 July 2012

0 PM, conservative states fail to reach disability deal

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and conservative state premiers have failed to strike a deal on the launch of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
‘‘I am very disappointed that we have not been able today to strike an agreement with either NSW or Victoria or indeed Western Australia on hosting a launch site,’’ the PM told reporters in Canberra following a Council of Australian Governments meeting.
Ms Gillard explained that neither NSW or Victoria had been able to provide more money for the NDIS. In a bid to break the deadlock, Disability Reform Minister Jenny Macklin and NSW and Victorian ministers will continue talks tomorrow.

conservative states fail

The Prime Minister said she was also concerned that WA’s proposal for a launch site would hinder the development of a national scheme, as opposed to a federation of state-based schemes.

But Ms Gillard says the federal government has reached an agreement with Labor-run South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT to launch the NDIS in the middle of next year.
The SA site will  focus on young people, the Tasmanian site will focus on adolescents and the ACT trial will involve the entire region.
Ms Gillard said that each of the states had "stepped forward" and had been prepared to work with the federal government and put money on the table.
She said the federal government had made $1 billion available for the launch sites.
"We can learn by doing," Ms Gillard said. SA Premier Jay Weatherill called today’s decision a "very important moment" in implementing the NDIS, labelling it a "first concrete step."
But the COAG outcome received stinging criticism from West Australian Premier Colin Barnett, who said today’s meeting was an "opportunity squandered" and dismissed the announced launch sites as "small scale" in "small states".
Ms Gillard said she was still open to including Victoria and NSW in the launch sites.

"I would want to see further trials if that's possible," she said.
Proposed trials in NSW and Victoria would have benefitted 10,000 people and 5,000 people respectively, she said.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said he wanted to see an NDIS in place and was still keen to participate in the trial.
Mr Baillieu told reporters that his state had put in a "comprehensive" bid for a trial in the Barwon region and that the federal government had responded with some suggestions this afternoon.

He said it was very difficult to consider these suggestions in detail while a COAG meeting was in full swing.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said he continued to be optimistic about the groundbreaking proposed NDIS, but added that he was also disappointed with today's result.

He said NSW had more than $550 million on the table for the first three years of the trial - slated for the Hunter region - and that his state was already doing "heavy lifting" with respect to disability reform.
Ms Gillard said she had asked NSW to provide an extra $70 million dollars and for Victoria to stump up $40 million.

The Prime Minister added that the federal government had in turn offered $300 million to NSW and $100 million to Victoria to participate in the test sites.
Disability advocate John Della Bosca said that today's result was "good in parts".

The Every Australian Counts national campaign director said that a first step in an NDIS was always going to be good news.

Read more:


Post a Comment