The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides a significant opportunity to improve the lives of people with disability by providing them with greater control over the services they require and choice of service provider. However, it is a major change in the way services are currently provided and people with disability and disability service organisations need support to manage the change.
VCOSS is pleased the 2016 Victorian Budget includes funds to close the state’s last disability institution and provide additional support for the transition to the NDIS.
Initiatives at a glance
- $27.0m in 2016-17 to assist in the first stage of the NDIS rollout. This includes funding to support the closure of the last disability institution (Colanda Residential Services) and provides additional investment for maintaining supported accommodation facilities.
- $21.3m from 2015-16 to 2018-19 for NDIS workforce development and service innovation.
- A total of $45.3m over three years has been allocated for an additional four hundred individual support packages for young people. This will provide young people with disability support during the day, skills development, and support to access the community after they leave school.
- $3.3m in 2016-17 for the development of a State Disability Plan for 2017-20.
The plan will include:
- An economic participation strategy
- Scholarships to participate in leadership courses
- Support for Changing Places, a program for accessible public toilets.
Future policy directions
- This budget does not address the ongoing question of how community mental health services will continue to support people as the NDIS is rolled out. Unlike in other states, all of Victoria’s mental health community support funds have been committed to the NDIS. VCOSS is concerned that if people currently using community mental health services are ineligible for an NDIS package, they will no longer be able to rely on this support. In future budgets, the government can help support people’s recovery by providing community mental health support services outside the NDIS.
- The state government can support the health and wellbeing of carers, and support them to continue in their caring role, by ensuring they receive continued respite and carer support under the NDIS. It can also improve carers’ access to information, support and early referrals to specialist services by expanding the Carers ID pilot program and continuing to invest in the Victorian carer portal.
- The state government can help people with disability protect their rights and have a stronger voice, by investing further in a strong and independent disability advocacy. Independent advocacy enables people with disability to communicate their needs and have them met, and is particularly important at times of great change
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