People with a mental illness or episodic disability who are unable to properly manage their relationships, home and work lives will get access to support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
In a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra, Families Minister Jenny Macklin said that the legislation for the NDIS would be put to parliament within weeks, as the government tries to shore up the scheme before its launch sites are due to start from July 1 next year.
Ms Macklin said the legislation would be introduced in the last sitting week of this year, which starts on November 26.
It would be referred to a committee before returning to the parliament early next year for debate.
Ms Macklin confirmed that people deemed to have a psychosocial disability, such as a mental illness, would be given access to the NDIS. “We heard clearly that this is necessary to properly recognise the impact of mental illness on a person’s social abilities and need for support,” she said.
“That a person’s condition might be psychiatric, but their disability is psychosocial, and what they need is support to function in society to manage their relationships, their home life and work life.”
Ms Macklin’s office said those accessing the NDIS would still get access to all other mental health initiatives. They would be given additional support from NDIS.
Access to the scheme would not be defined on what type of mental illness a person had. Rather, participants would be subject to an assessment by an accredited professional.
Mental health advocate and former Australian of the Year Patrick McGorry said he supported the inclusion of mental illness in the NDIS, but would like to know more: “It sounds good, but the devil will be in the detail.”
As first appeared in The Australian, 1 November 2012