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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Worker Screening Database) Bill 2019

On 13 February 2019, the Australian Government introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Worker Screening Database) Bill 2019 (the Bill) into the House of Representatives. The Bill seeks to amend the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 (NDIS Act) to establish a database for nationally consistent worker screening for the purposes of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  Read more...

Personal Safety of People with Disability

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released further results from the 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) which focus on experiences of violence and personal safety of people with disability. This FlagPost provides a summary of these results. Read more...

’Fighting for funding’: where to next for the NDIS?

The Government has announced that it will not proceed with its proposed 0.5 percentage point increase to the Medicare levy. The increase in the levy was to have raised $8 billion over four years and to be used in part to assist with funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The Bill to introduce the increase was opposed by Labor, which said it would only support it for people earning over $87,000 per year. This FlagPost looks at the implications of the decision not to proceed with the Medicare levy increase for the funding of the NDIS.  Read more...

Voting online? Don’t count on it

In the 2013 Federal Election, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) lost 1,370 ballot papers. Subsequent inquiries examined the selection of polling locations, the transport and storage of completed ballot papers, and the recruitment and training of temporary staff in short timeframes. The logistics are challenging, but are they necessary? We already do our banking and shopping online – why not voting? Read more...

The 'mind-body problem' and proposed DSP reforms

The interim report of the Review of Australia’s Welfare System led by Patrick McClure was released on 29 June 2014. The report contains proposals for significant reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DSP). The reforms would see the DSP reserved for people with a permanent impairment and no capacity to work. Those people with a partial capacity to work would be placed on a lower tiered working age payment and provided with support to improve their employment capacity. The proposals represent an attempt to deal with the perverse incentive for income support claimants to apply for DSP, which has a higher rate of payment and reduced activity testing, rather than allowance payments l... Read more...

New restrictions on disability pensioners travelling overseas

In the midst of heated debate over the Budget’s welfare reforms some significant measures have escaped the headlines, including new restrictions on Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients travelling overseas. The measures, proposed by the Social Services and Other Legislation (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014, will reduce the time disability pensioners can spend overseas from six-weeks at a time to four weeks in a 12-month period. A number of submissions to the Senate committee inquiry into the Bill, from individual DSP recipients and from welfare groups, took issue with the changes suggesting that DSP was being unfairly targeted and that the measures would increase red tape. Read more...

Concerns raised over Government disability payments scheme

The Senate is scheduled this week to debate legislation establishing a payment scheme for around 10,000 workers with intellectual disability whose wages were determined using a tool found by the Full Court of the Federal Court to be discriminatory. The use of tool, the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT), has long been contentious and the Government’s proposed BSWAT payment scheme is equally so. Background In 2012 the Full Court of the Federal Court decided (Nojin v Commonwealth) that the employers of two men with intellectual disabilities, Mr Nojin and Mr Prior, had unlawfully discriminated against them by imposing a requirement or condition that, in order to secure a hi... Read more...

Parliamentary Library Lecture: Innovation and job targets the keys to disability employment

Craig Wallace, President of People with Disability Australia, has told a Parliamentary Library Lecture that poverty for people with disabilities in Australia will not be overcome by changes to the system of income support. Instead, he argued, Australia should commit to a national challenge to create jobs for people with disabilities over the next decade. Mr Wallace argued that ‘Australia has a troubling record on jobs on disability’: We rank 21st out of 29 OECD countries in employment participation rates for those with a disability. We rank 27th of the 27 in terms of the correlation between disability and poverty. 45 percent of people with a disability live in, or near, pov... Read more...

Future growth in DSP receipt—not all bad news

No doubt one of the priorities of the proposed review of income support payments will be the Disability Support Pension (DSP). DSP numbers have risen substantially in recent decades, despite numerous reforms designed to tighten eligibility and hence restrict growth. However a recent paper suggests that changes made to other income support payments have offset these reforms, and that the story is more positive than previous reports suggest.The factors behind DSP growthThe paper examines the factors behind the growth in DSP recipient numbers over the last 30 years, which rose from 216,600 in June 1982 to 827,500 in June 2012. Demography accounts for a significant amount, with an estimated 117,... Read more...

DisabilityCare Australia launches

DisabilityCare Australia, a new scheme for providing support for people with disability, has commenced in locations across Australia. The launch of the scheme, formerly known as the NDIS, is the culmination of years of advocacy from the disability and carers sectors. It builds on work undertaken through the National Disability Strategy, the Productivity Commission, COAG and agreements reached between the Australian and state and territory governments.This post provides a brief guide to some key aspects of the DisabilityCare Australia launch.What is DisabilityCare Australia?DisabilityCare Australia is a major and highly complex reform to the way in which disability support is funded, accessed... Read more...

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