The National Disability Insurance Scheme will allow 2000 people living with disabilities in the Loddon-Mallee region greater control over their care, according to Victorian Minister for Housing, Disabilities and Ageing Martin Foley.
Speaking at a forum about the NDIS in Bendigo on Wednesday, Mr Foley said the roll out of the scheme, scheduled to begin locally in May 2017, would allow people with disabilities and their carers to re-engage with society.
“(The NDIS) will unlock the potential of so many people with disabilities and their carers who’ve been prevented from engaging with the wider society,” he said.
“We want to do that not just to make their lives better but to make the community and the wider society we’re part of a disability-friendly and inclusive place.”
Mr Foley said support for housing was one of the “key pillars” of the NDIS. The federal government has set aside $700 million annually for housing and accommodation projects but has yet to reach an agreement with the states about how that money will be distributed.
“A missing part of the equation at the moment is the promised $700 million from the federal government for disability housing around Australia,” Mr Foley said.
“We’re hoping the Prime Minister and the Social Services Minister will come to the table later this month on delivering the promised extra resources for housing.”
Mr Foley said the state government was working with the housing and disability sectors to provide stopgap measures to help meet increasing demand for disability housing services.
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said there was “no doubt” there was a shortage of suitable disability housing options in Bendigo and across Victoria.
Mr Foley warned the transition to the NDIS wouldn’t be without teething problems, with a national system of quality standards and safeguards yet to be developed for the scheme.
“Not every problem can be forecasted and not every issue can be prevented,” he said.
“What we need to make sure is we all work together in a co-operative manner to make sure no one falls through those transitional gaps.”