Critical forum on disability

Critical forum on disability

04 Apr 2011

On Tuesday April 12 the La Trobe University Ideas & Society Program, convened by Professor Robert Manne, is holding an important forum on the question of disability insurance, the new challenge confronting Australia’s welfare state.

Professor Chris Bigby The forum follows the Productivity Commission’s release of its draft report on Disability Care and Support which recommended the establishment of a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The draft report - Disability Care and Support - says an ‘entirely new model’ for providing supports and services for people with a disability is needed, identifying the current disability support system as underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient.

Two schemes are proposed to address these flaws – the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and a smaller scheme to cover people’s lifetime care and support if they acquired a catastrophic injury from an accident.

The report says the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would be like Medicare in that all Australians would know that they or their families would get long-term care and support if the acquired a significant disability. The report recommends the rollout of the schemes to begin in 2013-14.

Professor Robert Manne said: ‘This discussion is timely as it will feed into the public forums happening across Australia during April about what shape the proposed disability insurance scheme should take.

Disability Insurance – the next frontier of Australia’s welfare state will be chaired by Professor Christine Bigby, Social Work at La Trobe University.

Speakers include John Della Bosca, Campaign Director for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and former Minister in the NSW Government, Rhonda Galbally, Chair of the National People with Disabilities And Carers Council and long time disability activist, Bruce Bonyhady, President, Philanthropy Australia, Chair of Yooralla and instigator of the idea of disability Insurance and Jim Mansell, Emeritus Professor of Learning Disability in the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent.

Professor Bigby said: ‘Although the idea of disability insurance has broad bipartisan support there are many questions about philosophy, design and implementation still open which will require detailed community discussion and debate.’

‘This forum will discuss the most appropriate model for the insurance scheme, what the most important political and policy difficulties the scheme now faces and how far are the interests of the disabled and carers fully congruent.’

The final report will be delivered to the Government in July 2011.

Disability Insurance – the next frontier of Australia’s welfare state
WHERE:  John Scott Meeting House, La Trobe University, Melbourne campus
WHEN: Tuesday April 12, 12.30—2.00

For more information contact:

Lisa Prowling
La Trobe University Media and Communications Officer
T: 03 9479 5517 M: 0401 044 784 E:

Name: Penny Underwood
Phone: 03 9818 8540




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