Page MP Janelle Saffin.
Page MP Janelle Saffin. Jacklyn Wagner

Disability scheme rollout explained

THE five-year roll-out of the new National Disability Insurance Scheme was explained to Northern Rivers residents at two forums in Lismore and Ballina yesterday.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Amanda Rishworth, and Page MP Janelle Saffin met with disabled locals, their families, carers and service providers to answer questions about the scheme and the timetable for its implementation.

Ms Rishworth said the NDIS was the biggest reform to the disability sector that Australia had ever seen, describing its passage through parliament last month as a historic moment.

"It was a really good turnout today to hear about the scheme and I was pleased with the discussion and the questions," Ms Rishworth said.

"It was also great for me to hear from local people on the ground about where the current system has let them down, and where we might go in the future in terms of care and support for people with a disability."

Long-time advocate of the scheme, Page MP Janelle Saffin described the current system as "unfair, underfunded, fragmented and inefficient.

"The Federal Labor Government knows that disability doesn't discriminate. Anyone can slip in the shower, have an accident or have a child with disability," Ms Saffin said.

"We want to make sure we get this reform right so we can build a system that is sustainable over time.

"That's why the Federal Labor Government is delivering $1 billion for the first stage of DisabilityCare Australia, and that's why we are working hard to roll out the scheme across NSW, including here on the North Coast."

Lismore mother of two disabled children and disability advocate, Katherine McLellan, was cautiously optimistic.

"I think it has some way to go but it's great they're keeping us informed on the progress," she said.

Nationals Page candidate Kevin Hogan said he was personally in favour of the scheme and the coalition was offering it bipartisan support.



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