Record responses for national disability inquiry

By Rob O'Brien

Community interest in the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into a National Disability Care and Support Scheme has been broad with a record number of submissions, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities Bill Shorten has said.

The Productivity Commission's inquiry into national disability care, which began this month, has already received a record 930 expressions of interest.

Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin, the Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry and Mr Shorten welcomed the start of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into a National Disability Care and Support scheme.

The inquiry will examine a range of options, and consider whether a no-fault social insurance approach to disability is appropriate in Australia.

It will also examine the implications of such a scheme for Australia's health, aged care, and income support systems, and potential interactions with injury insurance schemes.

Ms Macklin said the inquiry forms part of the Australian Government's ten year National Disability Strategy being developed with State and Territory Governments and in consultation with the National People with Disabilities and Carer Council.

"The inquiry is an important opportunity to rethink how we support people with disability, their families and carers, so that they can participate in their community, get a job where possible, and live a happy and meaningful life" Ms Macklin said.

"This is fundamental to the Rudd Government's vision of a fairer, more inclusive, Australia."

Parliamentary Secretary Shorten said the inquiry had generated a lot of interest, not just among people with disability, but across the wider community.

"An insurance scheme has wide support amongst disability groups, but it is a complex idea that will require rigorous analysis before it can be implemented," Mr Shorten said.

"I would urge all people interested in an insurance scheme, or who have views on how we best tackle the challenges of disability in this country, to make a submission to the Productivity Commission."

The Assistant Treasurer said: "The inquiry has already received an unprecedented level of interest and the Productivity Commission is seeking further submissions."

The Inquiry will also hold consultations across Australia and report to the Government in July 2011.

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