ALA applauds SA joining NDIS

18th Apr 2013

The Australian Lawyers Alliance today congratulated South Australia on becoming the second state to unite with the federal government on the state-wide roll out of DisabilityCare Australia (previously known as the National Disability Insurance Scheme).

“It is very heartening to know that my own state has come to the party on this important national initiative,” ALA National President, Anthony Kerin, said.

“And with a new name should come a new commitment from all Australians, including politicians in every state, to help establish a truly viable, transparent scheme that aims to dramatically improve the lives of people with disabilities,” Mr Kerin said.

“The key now is for those jurisdictions hesitating, to look at the big picture of what can be achieved with unity and co-operation and if there are structural, legal or financial concerns to bring them to the table, which is exactly what both SA Premier Jay Weatherill has done.”

Mr Weatherill has now agreed to go ahead following a split cost arrangement with the federal government that will see children from birth to five eligible for support from July and all 33,000 South Australians with a disability planned to be covered by July 2018.

“The ALA also has concerns about access to justice within DisabilityCare including a lack of support for independent advocacy advice, which could impede access to appeals and participants potentially forced to sue or risk losing their DisabilityCare benefits.

"We have voiced such concerns with MPs including SA Senator Nick Xenophon who introduced amendments in the week before the Bill was passed, that unfortunately were rejected.

"We have also expressed unease at the spectre of a National Injury Insurance Scheme, designed to follow in the wake of DisabilityCare and treat those with disability through injury differently,” Mr Kerin said.

“But disability reform has been a long time coming and, with the legislation passed, the task is now to ensure the embedded draft rules for DisabilityCare are properly analysed.

"It is the responsibility of the states to analyse and negotiate the legal details of the scheme’s implementation especially the NDIS Rules so that people in their states will not be worse off,” he said.

Mr Kerin said without proper analysis Australia risked implementing a rushed scheme that merely shifted the burden of care from insurers to taxpayers, which included those with disabilities.

Tags: South Australia Disability NDIS NIIS