Politics — 27 July 2012

An Architect of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) says he remains optimistic it will go ahead, but warned having anyone but the Commonwealth fund it could lead to more changes from the original plan.

The NDIS appeared to hit a roadblock at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) yesterday when only Labor states agreed to part-fund a trial of the scheme as non-Labor states failed to reach a funding agreement with the Commonwealth.

Former AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce, an adviser to the Productivity Commission whose report has largely shaped the federal government’s NDIS plan, said he was unfazed by the “argy-bargy” between the states and Commonwealth.

“I don’t think that anybody has said they don’t think it should go ahead,” he said. “It’s just the usual, the states preserving their funding and asking the Commonwealth to pay the full cost. It was ever thus. I don’t think this is a death knell.”

But he said all governments must stick to the PC’s recommendations, which included having the Commonwealth fund the trial sites.

“The Productivity Commission put a lot of work in to make the recommendations and as far as I’m concerned they should be followed,” he said.

“The [recommendations] were that the control sites should be set up [and] the NDIS part of it should be paid for by the Commonwealth.

“The fact the Commonwealth is asking the states to chip in is a bit of a sore point. If this is something you can change, maybe we can change other parts of it as well.”

trials of the NDIS from 2013 or 2014. Queensland, NSW, Western Australia and Victoria have not reached deals.

As first appears in Medical Observer, 26 July 2012

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