The State Government may be heading for a clash with Canberra over its national disability insurance scheme, with a new WA pilot program announced today.
Disability Services Minister Helen Morton has called on Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin to back the State's program as a model for the planned national scheme to avoid wasting millions of dollars.
Despite a lack of response from Canberra to date, Ms Morton is pushing ahead with the WA scheme, which aims to give disabled people more freedom over how their funding is spent.
It will initially be offered in Cockburn and Kwinana, the Perth Hills, the Goldfields and the lower South West areas for people who are eligible for Disability Services Commission services.
Paraplegic mother of three, Joanne Woolhouse, who receives funding through the DSC and lives in the Perth Hills catchment area, said she hoped the program would be a "big improvement".
Ms Morton said the WA program incorporated "all of the flexibility, the individual funding, the choices, the personalised services" proposed by the Government's National Disability Insurance Scheme.
She said adopting the My Way program as a trial for an NDIS model would ensure that, instead of wasting funds on "establishing a national bureaucracy it can actually flow directly through to these people right now".
"Our position has always been that we don't want to waste the very precious resources of funding for people with disabilities and their families," she said. "We don't want to waste that on bureaucracy, we actually want it to flow through to people with a disability."
Ms Macklin told The West Australian she welcomed the WA Government's interest in disability care reform.
"We think people with disability have waited long enough - that's why we are launching the first stage of an NDIS a year ahead of the timetable set out by the Productivity Commission," she said.
"Our funding ($1 billion announced in the last Budget) is a sign of good faith to all the States and territories that we are serious about being partners in reform. While the Commonwealth is providing the lion's share of funding for a launch, we expect the States to show they are serious about reform by also contributing."I have already had productive initial discussions with some State disability ministers and look forward to holding constructive discussions with other State and territory colleagues so we can deliver this reform for people with disability, their families and carers."
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