$6.45 billion deal for statewide NDIS roll-out
DISABLED people all over New South Wales will be covered by the National Disability Insurance from July 2018, with a landmark $6.45 billion deal for the statewide roll-out made on Thursday.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell announced the deal, with about half of the money coming each from the Commonwealth and state governments.
The agreement will see the initial trial of the scheme in the Hunter region expanded across the state in 2018, including the north coast.
Ms Gillard the deal meant the commonwealth and state would share about half the burden of the NDIS, or more than $3 billion each.
"This means 140,000 people in New South Wales with disability now can look forward to being supported by the NDIS," she said.
"And it means all of the people of New South Wales can look forward to having the reassurance of knowing that should trouble ever strike them or their family, they would be supported through such a scheme."
Mr O'Farrell said the crucial part of the deal was a bipartisan approach to the NDIS, similar to the state's approach to the NSW program, Stronger Together.
"Developed by the former Labor Government, embraced in opposition by the Liberal National Party and pursued in government so that we have $2 billion worth of growth funding sitting there waiting for this scheme," he said.
"That is what I think is important about Monday, where you saw the Federal Opposition Leader embrace the concept of the National Disability Insurance Scheme; embrace the fact he was going to be 'Dr Yes' when it came to NDIS and say yes he was prepared to work with the states to ensure this became a reality."
But Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said on Thursday the Coalition would only pursue the scheme once a budget surplus was guaranteed, despite a bipartisan approach among some Coalition members.
As part of the agreement, the Federal Government will put up $3.32 billion in its 2017-18 budget towards administration of the scheme and contribute to the cost of individual care and support packages for disabled people, their carers and families.
In addition, the NSW Government will provide about $3.13 billion in the same year for the individual care and support packages to the state's eligible residents.
The cost of the state-wide scheme will also be reviewed by the Productivity Commission in 2018-19 to inform the Council of Australian Governments agreement on the national scheme funding arrangements.
Despite the agreement being reached, Queenslanders with a disability were still left out in the cold until a similar agreement is reached for the sunshine state, with no trial sites or funding yet announced.