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January 2011



Recent Posts


 Parliament House, Canberra, Australia

Bill Shorten MP
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services
Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction 

On Monday night, in announcing that as the Government has commissioned a feasibility study into a national long-term care and support scheme for people with disability in Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made what I believe is one of the most exciting and significant announcements this Government has made on disability.

Ever since I took up my portfolio of Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, advocates have spoken to me about their support for some kind of whole-of-life support scheme, perhaps based on a national insurance model for people with disability.

This idea was raised at the 2020 Summit in 2008, and I know it has the support of many in the disability community who believe it is the best way of providing person-centred care and offering early intervention to people with disability.

The feasibility study will be conducted by the Productivity Commission, guided by an advisory panel. The Commission will consult widely and will be assisted by an associate commissioner with specialist disability expertise.

The Rudd Government is committed to finding new approaches to funding and delivering disability services, and the Productivity Commission’s report will be the first step towards a solution.

The inquiry will consider costs, implementation and design issues, governance arrangements and administrative issues, including for a social insurance model that reflects a shared risk of disability across the population.

I would like to thank my colleague, Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin, for her support on this proposal.

You will find further details on the inquiry included in this bulletin.

Kind regards,

Bill Shorten.

Australian Government To Consider New Approaches To Disability 

Media Release from the Prime Minister:
“The Productivity Commission will investigate the feasibility of new approaches for funding and delivering long-term disability care and support.”

Click here to read the Media Release in full

Opinion piece in The Australian newspaper:
This announcement has attracted plenty of media attention over the last couple of days. The Australian newspaper published an opinion piece which I wrote, outlining some of my thoughts on what we need to do for people with disability.

Click here to read the article

Read the full Terms of Reference:
“The Productivity Commission is requested to undertake an inquiry into a National Disability Long-term Care and Support Scheme. The inquiry should assess the costs, cost effectiveness, benefits, and feasibility of an approach which provides long-term essential care and support for eligible people with a severe or profound disability, on an entitlement basis and taking account the desired outcomes for each person over a lifetime.”

Click here to read the Terms of Reference in full

Other Featured News Items 

National Disability Awards

The Prime Minister’s announcement about the Productivity Commission inquiry was made at the National Disability Awards Dinner in Canberra on Monday night, and was one of the highlights of a fantastic evening. I’d like to congratulate all the award winners for the great work that they have done in fighting for better treatment for people with disability. Many of the recipients had been working in the field for many years, often without public recognition. These people have made a huge difference to the lives of many Australians and it was great to see them rewarded.

Click here for full details of the winners

National Dialogue Agrees to Improve Accessible Housing Options

One of the other exciting initiatives I have been working on in recent weeks is the National Dialogue on Universal Design. The dialogue was held at Kirribilli House in Sydney, with representatives from the building sector and disability organisations and it aimed to improve Australian homes to meet the changing needs of occupants across their lifetimes, as they age or acquire a disability. Participants unanimously agreed to work together towards a national approach to make Universally Designed homes more available and to educate the community about their benefits. I was heartened by the attitude of everyone present to work together and we agreed on an establishing an inspirational target for all new homes to be built to Universal Design standards by 2020.

There is a lot of work still to be done to promote Universal Design, but I think this dialogue was a great start.

Click here for more information and the full text and signatories of the statement 

Other News

Click a headline to read the full story:

Disability Awards recognise six high achievers
Australian Government to consider new approaches to Disability
Disability Parking Permit Goes National
Ron McCallum Elected United Nations Disabilities Committee Chair
National Dialogue Agrees to Improve Accessible Housing Options

Latest Disability Speeches

Click the headline to read the full text

 Nov 24: Transcript – SKY News, Disability Insurance Scheme and Kurt Fearnley
Nov 24: Transcript – Channel Nine Today Show, Kurt Fearnley and Disability
Nov 24: Transcript – Radio National Breakfast, Disability Insurance Scheme, Kurt Fearnley
Nov 24: Transcript – 2GB Alan Jones Program, Kingsdene School, Disability Insurance
Nov 23: Speech – Institute of Actuaries National Accident Compensation Conference
Nov 19: Speech – Swinburne Autism Bio-Research Initiative
Nov 18: Speech – ASSID Disability Support Workers Conference


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