Posted in Feature Articles

Greater Choice for People with a Disability (Novita Children’s Services)


Date: 19 December 2011

Premier Jay Weatherill has announced a major revamp of disability services in South Australia that will ensure people with a disability have a greater choice in the services they use.

Speaking at Novita Children’s Services today, Premier Jay Weatherill, along with Federal Disability Reform Minister Jenny Macklin and State Disabilities Minister Ian Hunter discussed the reforms to the State Government’s disability blueprint Strong Voices.

The blueprint is set to radically reform the provision of support for people with disabilities, by allowing the individuals to choose the services that are most important to them for their needs and aspirations, rather than the system dictating how and when they use them.

People who receives six or more hours a week of disability services will receive a personalised budget and will be given the option of receiving direct payments to manage their support needs.

“For too long, people with disabilities have been told what services they will receive, when and how they will receive them,” Mr Weatherill says.

“They have been told what time they will eat their meals, what time they will go to bed.

“We want to provide greater opportunity for people with a disability to take control of their own lives and make decisions just as any other South Australian does.”

According to State Disabilities Minister Ian Hunter, the Government has been investing money into supporting people with disabilities and providing more services than ever before, but the current system is reaching the limits of its effectiveness.

“Money will be needed to fix this problem – but we first need a fundamental rethink of the way we provide disability services,” he says.

“One of the clear messages from the disability blueprint was the most authoritative voice in making these decisions should be the person with a disability.”

According to Mr Weathering the revamp “will ensure South Australia is well placed to implement the new National Disability Insurance Scheme.”

The revamp is set to introduce new measures which would include:

• DRAFTING a new Disability Act.
• PROVIDING $600,000 to support an extra 120 people with a disability to access training and gain employment.
• DEVELOPING a disability justice plan, which will improve protection for people with a disability in the criminal justice system.
• CREATING a new role for the Ministerial Disability Advisory Council to independently monitor disability reform and service standards and report their findings to Parliament.
• IMPROVING public transport access, including routine scheduling of wheelchair accessible buses, and better timetable information about wheelchair accessibility, such as a mobile phone application.
• COORDINATE the Commonwealth’s Better Start and Helping Children with Autism programs with South Australia’s early childhood intervention services.
• Develop tools to help parents of children with disability make informed choices about the early intervention services they receive.

Mr Hunter says that although the new measures are a considerable task to undertake the Governments first course of action will be working with the disability sector to consider this report further.

“This is a long-term plan that presents us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the disability sector.”

The Australian Government says they welcome the South Australian Government’s commitment to work to improve the lives and choices of South Australians with a disability, their families and carers.

 – Suzanna Parisi Novita Children’s Services


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