COAG drops the ball on National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that all Australians with a disability, and their families and carers, have been severely let down by a lack of leadership and cooperation at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra.
Dr Hambleton said that self-interest, petty bickering and political point scoring by the bigger States have dampened the hopes and wants of some of the nation’s most disadvantaged people.
“Some of our political leaders should be hanging their heads in shame. Surely nobody could suggest that the ‘system’ we have now is appropriate,” Dr Hambleton said.
“Today was a rare opportunity for all our Governments to work together to deliver something very important for all Australians – but they blew it,” Dr Hambleton said.
“The Federal Government presented COAG with a workable proposal to establish the first stage of an NDIS from next year, but the bigger States, for their own reasons, have decided not to participate at this stage.
“What we saw today was an old-fashioned COAG blame game. There was a sad lack of genuine goodwill towards building a scheme to improve the lives of people with a disability and their carers.
“The AMA welcomes the decisions of the South Australian, Tasmanian, and ACT Governments to get on board with the NDIS immediately.
“It is commendable that the three jurisdictions who have agreed to take the first important steps are those that are currently dealing with broader issues around resource allocation for health care services.
“This demonstrates their understanding of the challenges faced by disabled people and their families, and a commitment to inclusive social policy.
“The AMA urges the other State Governments to overcome their opposition to the NDIS that is on offer, and put the interests of people with a disability ahead of political squabbling.
“The NDIS is an investment in the future and in the quality of the lives of people with disabilities. It will allow people to participate in daily life and in the community in a more productive and positive way.”
The AMA has established a taskforce to ensure medical profession input to the NDIS and the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS), which is for people who are severely injured and require the same levels of support. The taskforce had its first meeting today.
25 July 2012
CONTACT: John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761