By Raveena Grover
NSW Labor have put the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) on their agenda, making it an election issue.
The scheme aims to individualise funding packages and ensure individuals have autonomy.
The coalition government established the NDIS in 2013 after the issue of disability services was brought into the spotlight by the 2010 Labor government.
Labor candidate for Newtown, Penny Sharpe, said her party will have a dedicated Minister to “bring disability inclusion into the centre of government”.
“Their job will be to deliver a disabilty employment package, and policies that are coordinated… across departments – better health, education, transport and public housing.”
22 year old Newtown resident Daniel Keyzer is affected by Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, and said funding is very important for disabled youth.
“There is nowhere near enough accommodation support for young disabled people…” He said.
“Someone like me needs 24 hour care for basic things, and at the moment we can only access up to 35 hours a week. This means I have to rely heavily on family.”
Labor’s plan for the scheme includes disability jobs packages, increased funding for disability and a new Office of Disability Inclusion to coordinate policies in health, education, transport and social housing.
While the NDIS has bilateral support, Liberal candidate for Newtown Rachael Wheldall said outcomes are more important than ministerial titles.
“Mike Baird and the government believe in delivering outcomes for people disability, rather than just changing nameplates on Minister’s doors, which is why they were the first state to sign up to the NDIS,” Ms Wheldall said.
“The Baird Government also delivered the Disability Inclusion Act, which includes protections for people with disability and preserves their inclusion in the community.”
Mr Keyzer is on the disability support pension and hopes the scheme will allow him to live independently, find a job and be able to take part in activities other people his age enjoy.
Ms Sharpe said she hopes her party reflects in their candidates “the diversity that exists in the community.”
Ms Wheldall said the Baird government will spend $9.9 million on disability advocates in 2015-2016, and that $6 million was spent on the Employment Enabling Startegy over three years in the last budget to help people with intellectual disabilities into the workforce.