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Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Page: 6993

National Disability Insurance Scheme


Senator WILLIAMS (New South Wales) (14:29): My question is to the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Fifield. Will the minister update the Senate on the historic agreement signed today to ensure the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in New South Wales and Victoria?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (14:30): Thank you, Senator Williams. Today is a great day for Australians with disability, their families and also their carers.

Senator Cameron interjecting

Senator FIFIELD: Thank you, Senator Cameron. Today I had the great pleasure of joining the Prime Minister, Premier Baird and Premier Andrews for the signing of the intergovernmental agreements between New South Wales and Victoria for the full rollout of the NDIS through Victoria and through New South Wales. These agreements will see more than half of the eligible NDIS population nationwide covered by the scheme. It is important to emphasise at this point that I am working hard on concluding agreements with the other jurisdictions in relation to the NDIS in the other states and territories. This agreement delivers on the heads of agreement that was signed by the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments to implement the full scheme across New South Wales by July 2018 and in Victoria to implement the full scheme across that state by July 2019.

It is important to emphasise that the NDIS is the core business of government, helping people who face extra challenges for reasons beyond their control.

Opposition senators interjecting

Senator FIFIELD: Can I say, Mr President—and I hope Australians with disabilities and their families understand—that the continued interjecting by those opposite during an answer about the National Disability Insurance Scheme was appalling. (Time expired)




Senator WILLIAMS (New South Wales) (14:32): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Will the minister advise the Senate what these agreements mean for people with disability and their families?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (14:32): I will, if the opposition will be silent for a moment. The agreements signed today mean that from July next year the full state-wide rollout in New South Wales and Victoria will commence. The agreement gives certainty to around 140,000 people with disabilities and their families, who will receive support through the NDIS in New South Wales. By the end of the two-year rollout, the full NDIS will be operating across New South Wales and around 115,000 participants will have the services and supports that they need. The agreement also provides for up to 26,000 potential new entrants in the year after the transition period—people who have newly acquired disabilities do not have a current need or who are currently unknown to the disability support system. It means that the full NDIS will be operating across New South Wales by 2018 and, in time, around 140,000 participants will have what they need. Victoria—good news as well: 105,000 people across that state. (Time expired)


Senator WILLIAMS (New South Wales) (14:33): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Can the minister inform the Senate of the government's progress with delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme throughout Australia?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (14:33): This government is 100 per cent committed to delivering the NDIS in full. We have always been committed to it; we always will be. We will see this through to completion. We will deliver it within the existing funding envelope. We have supported the concept from day one. We supported the Productivity Commission work. We supported the legislation. We are helping Australians who face extra challenges for reasons beyond their control. Can I say, Mr President, despite what came from the other side in the answer to the first question, the NDIS is an example of this parliament working at its best. The NDIS is an example of Commonwealth-state relations at their best. This is the Australian parliaments and the Australian governments lifting themselves beyond partisanship to make sure that Australians with disability get the better deal that they deserve.