UnitingCare Community Options (UCCO) has welcomed the Federal Oppositionâ€™s conditional support for the introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), but believes it falls well short of being the firm commitment required to make this important social reform a reality.
Speaking at a National Press Club function in Canberra yesterday, Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, said the Coalition strongly supported the Productivity Commissionâ€™s recommendation to introduce a NDIS, but only once the budget returns to strong surplus.
If introduced, the NDIS would bring fundamental reform to the way disability services are funded and delivered throughout Australia and would act as a financial safety net for anyone who acquires a disability during their lifetime.
UCCO Chief Executive and Chair of the Victorian NDIS Campaign Committee, Scott Sheppard, said while the announcement was a step in the right direction, it was essentially a â€˜get out of jail freeâ€™ card for a potential new government.
â€œWe are delighted the Coalition is openly supporting this important initiative, but their decision to link it to the national budget returning to surplus is a bit of a backhanded compliment,â€ he said.
â€œIn our view, if Mr Abbott is happy to publicly support it and really believes in what it will provide for all Australians, then he should put his money where his mouth is, invest in it and make it happen.â€
â€œPeople with disability have waited long enough for an initiative like this so we look forward to having an open dialogue with the Coalition to seek out further detail and determine some clear timelines,â€ he added.
UCCO is one of thousands of organisations and individuals lobbying for the introduction of a NDIS through Every Australian Counts campaign. Almost 105,000 Australians have now registered their support for the initiative, demonstrating a groundswell of community support for the reform of the disability services sector.
To find out more about the NDIS, visit www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au
ABOUT UnitingCare Community Options- We are a not-for-profit provider of community-based support for people with disabilities, older people and the carers who support them. It is part of the wider UnitingCare network, which provides social services to over 2 million people each year in 1,300 sites in remote, rural and metropolitan Australia. UnitingCare has 35,000 staff and 24,000 volunteers