Today is an important day in Australian history - particularly for people living with a disability.
And assuming that rural people continue to be properly consulted about DisabilityCare Australia, and that it becomes sensitive to their special needs and circumstances, it will be a welcome new beginning for people with a disability in rural and remote areas.
Years of hard work and advocacy by many people culminate today in the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with DisabilityCare Australia opening its doors in four areas and for the very first time.
The fundamental significance of this new approach is that the currently prevailing welfare model of disability will be replaced by a model based on human rights; and this has been enshrined in legislation.
The NRHA has been active in the year leading up to today's launch by advocating equity in the way the scheme will be delivered for people living with a disability in rural and remote areas. Consultation with a range of interested people from diverse backgrounds has resulted in agreement on some principles and recommendations on how the scheme should be implemented for country people.
This work has been supported by FaHCSIA, the Department responsible for implementing the scheme, including through the Alliance winning one of 70 practical design fund (PDF) project grants. The Alliance's project produced some practical recommendations to improve delivery of the NDIS to people with disability in rural and remote areas.
The recent DisabilityCare Australia Conference in Melbourne brought together recipients of PDF funding to discuss their findings. The Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin, gave the opening address. The conference was an opportunity for NRHA delegates to network with other people interested in disability support in rural and remote areas.
DisabilityCare Australia begins its work in a limited number of regional launch sites. The experience gained at these sites will be used to improve the way it is delivered when it goes live for the whole of Australia.
The NRHA intends to maintain its activity in this area for the long haul. The potential benefits for rural people are enormous and the new scheme will take many years to mature.
Contact: Gordon Gregory - Executive Director: 02 6285 4660