The Baird government has announced that it will begin the National Disability Insurance Scheme a year ahead of schedule, starting in Penrith and the Blue Mountains in July. Children aged under 18 in the Penrith and Blue Mountains area will be included in the scheme this year, after the Liberal government agreed to bring forward funding. NSW was the first state to sign up to the NDIS, and it is a reform Premier Mike Braid has stated that he is passionate about it because of the impact it will have on the lives of people with a disability. The NDIS trial began in the Hunter region of NSW in 2013 under a deal signed with the Gillard government.
“It is already making a real difference to the lives of 3500 participants, their families and carers involved in the Hunter trial,” Mr Baird said. “I’m delighted families in Greater Western Sydney will be included in the NDIS a full year ahead of schedule as we know that there is a real need for disability support for young people in the area.”
Roughly 2000 children in the region are expected to be in the launch group accessing the NDIS by June 2016. Children and their families are expected to begin receiving individual packages from September. The focus is to provide early intervention services. A National Disability Insurance Agency office to provide information is due to open in July in Penrith. Children currently not receiving support from NSW Government programs will also be included in the Penrith and Blue Mountains NDIS roll-out.
The latest national report from the scheme shows the average financial package for services received by the 11,000 disabled participants across Australia being worth $35,300 a year. Roughly 140,000 NSW residents that have a significant disability are expected to joined the scheme by July 2018. Participants will be able to choose services to meet their needs and will receiving individualised packages to suit them.
“When Mr Baird took on the premier’s role last year he said his government would be based on the principles of improving services, building infrastructure and protecting the vulnerable. While much of the Liberals’ election campaign has focused on the infrastructure that could be built with the proceeds of electricity privatisation, and hospital upgrade pledges, the acceleration of the disability scheme will be seen as delivering on the third prong.”