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Will Disability Care work for regional Australia?

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Will Disability Care work for regional Australia?

Disability Care has been lauded as a revolutionary scheme that will change the lives of close to half a million Australians.

It is designed to put the power in the hands of the people who are living with permanent and significant disabilities.

But how will the scheme ensure people living with a disability in remote areas don't fall through the gaps?

The scheme, launched in selected sites on July 1st, has bipartisan support but differences in its implementation and how it will be funded still exist.

Both major political parties say Disability Care, also called the National Disability Insurance Scheme or NDIS, will ensure that it's rural and remote participants will be able to use their funds to attract services to their local area.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Amanda Rishworth, says the scheme will factor in a participants' location.

"Individuals in rural or regional areas, Disability Care will take that into consideration when they are working out what level of funding to give, so for example if it takes extra money to attract a physiotherapist than that may be included in an individual's plan to make it attractive to that physiotherapist to go out there," she said.

The Opposition Disability Spokesman Senator Mitch Fifield says that whoever gets into government needs to closely watch the outcomes of a remote trial for the NDIS in the Northern Territory's Barkly region that begins in July next year.

Under the new scheme participants will work with a local Disability Care Australia planner to map out an individualised funding plan tailored specifically for the participant's needs.

The Productivity Commission estimates that the scheme could cost over $15 billion annually once in full swing in 2019.

The major point of difference between the Labor and Liberal Parties is how long the increase in the Medicare Levy by 0.5 per cent to fund the scheme will be in place.

Labor's Parliamentary Secretary Amanda Rishworth says the increase should be permanent to secure the scheme into the future.

But the Opposition's Senator Fifield says that the levy increase shouldn't have been necessary in the first place.

He says that it should be temporary, but only removed when the budget is repaired to a position which will enable it to fully support the cost of the scheme.

References and further information

This article was originally produced by ABC News. 

 

To read the rest of the article, visit the ABC News website  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-28/disability-care-rural-australia-tasmania/4918114

 

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