Posted on 22. Oct, 2010 in News

Ted Baillieu and his lazy Opposition have finally caught up with the Brumby Labor Government’s push for a National Disability Insurance Scheme, Community Services Minister Lisa Neville said today.

Ms Neville said two months after the Brumby Labor Government lodged its submission with the Productivity Commission supporting the development of the scheme, Mr Baillieu had been dragged into issuing a press release in an attempt to look as though his Opposition was calling for reform.        

“Mr Baillieu’s statement is not only behind the times, it is lazy and full of contempt for vulnerable Victorians with a disability,” Ms Neville said.

“After 11 years in Opposition, and after running down the work of people in the disability sector for years, Mr Baillieu has put out a statement with no mention of any investment. The lazy Opposition just cannot do the hard work required to stand up for Victorians.

“While the Brumby Labor Government prepared a thoroughly-researched submission to the Productivity Commission, which is investigating the scheme’s viability at the request of the Federal Government, Mr Baillieu’s only cynical effort was to issue a press release.

“The concept of a no-fault National Disability Insurance Scheme had been widely debated and welcomed by people with a disability, with more than 500 submissions so far made to the Productivity Commission’s investigation.

“And the lazy Victorian Opposition was not among those 500 individuals or organisations to have made the effort, despite the Federal Government asking the Productivity Commission to look at the concept in December last year.

“Mr Baillieu has also failed to show how he would fund any new services for people with a disability, or how he would fund improvements to the disability workforce like pay equity and portable long service leave.”

Ms Neville said Victoria had led the way with statutory protection mechanisms for people who are injured through a road accident or at work.

“But we understand more needs to be done to support those who are injured or disabled in other circumstances,” Ms Neville said.

“People with a disability can face life-long costs involving diagnosis, treatment, respite and equipment.

“That is why we will urge the Federal Government to develop a National Disability Insurance Scheme when the Productivity Commission completes its report on its viability early next year.

“We believe a landmark scheme like this would provide more peace-of-mind through an ongoing system of support to help Australians with a disability no matter where they live,” Ms Neville said.

“Following the release of the Productivity Commission’s report, a re-elected Brumby Labor Government will work with the Commonwealth, and the other States and Territories to develop a sustainable, national system of funding quality services for all Australians with a disability.

“We want to ensure we have a fair and equitable system that provides the appropriate protections for people with a disability. We also want a robust system that provides proper incentives in the workplace and the community for the prevention of injuries.

“Our Government is committed to improving the lives of our most vulnerable residents, which is why we have provided historic levels of investment in disability services across the state.

“We have provided historic levels of investment in disability services and this year’s Budget has delivered significant benefits to Victorians with a disability, with an additional $70.2 million allocated over four years.

“This is on top of historic levels of funding of more than $300 million in the last two budgets, and takes the total investment in disability services this year to almost $1.4 billion.  This figure represents a 140 per cent increase in the budget since 1999.”

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