Here is where you can find the Productivity Commission report recommending an overhaul of disability care and support.
Just to give you a quick taste from the executive summary:
“The current disability support system is underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient. It gives people with a disability little choice, no certainty of access to appropriate supports and little scope to participate in the community. People with disabilities, their carers, service providers, workers in the industry and governments all want change.
Most people know little about Australia’s current disability system and do not know how poorly they would be served were they to need it — this is a system marked by invisible deprivation and lost opportunities. Yet major disability can happen to anyone and at anytime — a simple fall can lead to quadriplegia, and an illness to severe brain damage. Most families and individuals cannot adequately prepare for the large costs of lifetime care and support. The costs of lifetime care and support can be so high that the risks and costs need to be pooled.
It was against that background that the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to look at the costs, cost effectiveness, benefits and feasibility of replacing the current arrangements with a properly funded and managed long-term disability scheme.
This short summary outlines the Commission’s ideas for a new way of meeting the care and support needs of people with a disability. The table below (download full summary or report to see this) provides a snapshot of the current system and what the Commission thinks it should look like. There is also a more detailed overview, which includes the 86 recommendations of the report.
The Commission has produced an additional 1200 pages of supporting material setting out how a new scheme could be implemented at a detailed level and providing in-depth evidence for the recommended approaches. The inquiry drew from 23 days of testimony in formal hearings held around Australia and extensive evidence from nearly 1100 submissions from people with disabilities, carers, service providers, governments and business.
You can find this material on the Commission’s webpage: http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/disability-support. The last page of the executive summary indicates what has changed since the draft report.
The bottom line of this report is that a new national scheme for disability — like Medicare — is feasible, that it would produce very large benefits for Australians and that a realistic and clear implementation pathway is available.
The Commission also recommends the establishment of a National Injury Insurance Scheme — run at the state and territory level — that would provide lifetime support for people acquiring a catastrophic injury from an accident. It would draw on existing arrangements in some states……”
For further reading, a ProBono News report, which includes the Government’s response. And The Conversation has an overview of the recommendations and issues for implementation from Christine Bigby, professor of social work and social policy at La Trobe University,
Update, 12 Aug: A Consumers Health Forum media statement
NO ROOM FOR POLITICS AND BUREAUCRATIC DELAYS IN DISABILITY REFORMS
It is time to end the bureaucratic delays and political grandstanding and press on with reform based on the recommendations of the Productivity Commission’s Disability Care and Support report released this week, the Chief Executive Officer of the Consumers Health Forum, Carol Bennett, said today.
“Like many others who made submissions to the Inquiry, CHF reflected the views that the current system of disability care is underfunded, unfair, difficult to navigate, inefficient and unresponsive to individual needs.
“We are pleased that the Government has acknowledged this and has indicated that it will support a National Disability Insurance Scheme that will offer increased funding, consumer choice, flexibility and ease of navigation.
“CHF believes that politicians of all political persuasions need to look at the shameful history of neglect in this area and avoid playing petty political games with the lives of some of Australia’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people,” Ms Bennett said.
“What we would not like to see is the whole process being stalled in government and public service committees.
“These vital reforms are long overdue and it would be disastrous if the inter-State rivalries that we often see in the health reform process cause delays,” she said.
Ms Bennett said CHF accepted that a lot of work needs to be done to finalise and implement the report’s recommendations which have been widely supported by disability and consumer groups, and many politicians.
“Implementation will require a larger workforce with appropriate skills and we believe that it is essential that the development and implementation of the scheme involves the continued inclusion of consumers with knowledge and experience in this area,” she said.