Social Services Minister Christian Porter assured those in the WA NDIS industry that whether they operated under the state or federal scheme both would have good outcomes.
Porter was addressing providers at the CCI organised WA NDIS ‘Commercialising with Compassion’ Conference on Friday.
“Obviously, there is a lot of interest and concern about the future of the NDIS in WA,” Porter said.
“This is sometimes missed or not properly understood; any consideration of the future of the NDIS in WA should start from recognising that both the national trial and the WA My Way trial were both successful.”
“Either system could represent improved outcomes for WA for people with disability. The only real enemy of West Australians who have a disability is uncertainly or lack of preparation.”
Porter said it remained the Commonwealth Government’s position that WA join the national system, but confirmed the State would not be penalised if it remained a WA Government-run NDIS.
“However, to give certainty to the people of WA we agreed to a nationally consistent WA-delivered model pursuant to a bilateral agreement signed with the previous government,” he told industry members.
“The reason we as a Commonwealth Government did this is because the then government were insisting on that course and the then opposition seem to support that path.
“We remain supportive of the WA Labor Government, whether they pursue the bilateral or wish to come back into the national scheme.”
He said the Federal Government had provided all information to the WA Government for it to make a decision on whether to join the national scheme.
“We’re open to a range of proposals to help WA make a decision as soon as possible about the future delivery of NDIS but really all that matters is that WA people with a disability, their families and their carers have certainty.
“I cannot deliver that certainty at the moment, that has to be delivered by the WA Government.”
Porter said none of the discussions with the WA government “gave rise to any fatal concerns” that they would not agree on WA joining the national system.
He said the only public comment that caused him concern was that if WA did not join the national scheme, money from the DisabilityCare Australia Fund would be denied to WA.
“There is nothing further from the truth. That proposition is so wrong and so likely to cause anxiety and yet further uncertainty for West Australians, who just want a better system, that I want to be clear … any suggestion that if WA did not sign up to the national NDIS that the state would end up subsidising the NDIS in the rest of Australia is completely and utterly 100 per cent wrong.”
WA rollout remains on track
Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson met with CCI on Tuesday and confirmed the WA rollout was proceeding in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Mandurah and Rockingham.
Dawson told CCI and NDS representatives he would like to work with CCI Members on a workforce development plan to ensure the 9000 to 10,000 additional jobs over the next decade can be filled with properly qualified workers.
He said the State Government was getting closer to a decision on whether to remain WA NDIS or join the national system.
CCI CEO Deidre Willmott said CCI had previously supported a locally administered scheme and remained concerned that while the costs needed to be fully understood, the State Government also needed to ensure WA retain its effective delivery of services and the successful market structures.
On Saturday, he released a video message on Facebook to say that July 1 marked the statewide rollout of the national disability scheme, which was a step closer to all West Australians having access to the services.
In a media statement on Monday Dawson said the NDIS rollout had started in additional areas including the Perth Hills, South-West and Pilbara on Monday with Disability Services now supporting 25,000 people.
He said people joining the scheme from July 1 ‘could be confident they were joining a nationally consistent scheme’ and a decision about who administers it should not get in the way of accessing services.
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