Queensland Government backflips and joins NDIS
DISABILITY advocates have praised the Queensland Government's turn-around on the National Disability Insurance Scheme after Premier Campbell Newman announced he would follow in the footsteps of his southerly neighbour.
The LNP Government has pledged to increase its disability services funding by $868 million between 2014-2015 and 2018-2019.
As a result, Queensland will contribute $1.77 billion to rolling out the NDIS in Queensland.
But the Federal Government says Mr Newman's announcement is short of funding needed for the long-awaited scheme.
The Newman Government's backflip is in stark contrast to its earlier stance that the Federal Government should entirely fund the NDIS.
The reversal follows the NSW Government's announcement last week it too would sign up to the NDIS.
Mr Newman said in Brisbane on Wednesday his plan would be the biggest single increase in disability funding Australia had ever seen.
"I look forward to the Prime Minister agreeing to the plan so that we can get on with providing better services to people with a disability," he said.
While the NSW Government committed to a 50-50 funding split with the Gillard Government, Mr Newman wants a 56-44 split.
As it stands, Queensland currently spends $959 million per year on specialist disability services, and an additional $200 million per year on associated services.
Activists from the Every Australian Counts campaign said when the Federal Government matched the Queensland Government's funding, there was likely to be $3.5 billion in disability funding for 89,000 Queenslanders.
"While there are many steps to get the NDIS working the way it needs to, today Queenslanders with disability and their families and carers can be assured they will have the supports and service they urgently need," Every Australian Counts campaign director John Della Bosca said.
"We know the NDIS can't come fast enough for Queenslanders."
While Minister for Disability Reform Jenny Macklin recognised Mr Newman's change of tune, a spokesman said it still fell short.
"While today's announcement is a step in the right direction, it's still a long way short of funding for a National Disability Insurance Scheme," he said.
"Mr Newman and (Treasurer Tim) Nicholls did not explain how these numbers add up. Today's announcement falls far short of the funding needed for a full scheme across Queensland."