THE two main parties have vowed to take a bipartisan approach to ensure the national disability insurance scheme is rolled out as soon as possible.
Following the move by Labor to adopt the scheme to the party's platform, the opposition has reaffirmed it will work with the government to implement the scheme, which will represent the largest ever change to the funding and delivery of disability services in Australia.
The Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, welcomed the pledge but said there was a mountain of work to be done immediately to improve the "appalling" standards of living for people with a disability. "There is little sign of improvement in recruitment of people with disability,'' he said. ''While employment of the general population is 80 per cent, for people with disability it is 40 per cent."
In an address to National Disability Services chief executives yesterday, the opposition spokesman for disabilities, carers and the voluntary sector, Mitch Fifield, said he supported the government's commitment of $10 million for an agency to design the launch of the scheme.
"It was also promising to see that the Commonwealth, states and territories agreed to lay the foundations for an national disability insurance scheme by mid-2013 … a year ahead of the recommended timetable set out by the Productivity Commission,'' he said.
Senator Fifield qualified that statement by saying the opposition would support the government's approach as long as it was upfront with rollout timelines and budget commitments to fund the estimated $6 billion per year scheme.