The NSW and Victorian Governments have joined forces in a partnership designed to move Australia towards a full National Disability Insurance Scheme, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu announced today.
A joint expression of interest from NSW and Victoria has been submitted to the Commonwealth which would see the NDIS launched in the NSW Hunter region and the Barwon region of Victoria.
Under the joint proposal about 10,000 people would be involved in a launch in the Hunter and about 5,000 in Barwon.
This would give people with a disability and their carers in the two regions more power to decide what support and services they require.
"The NDIS will provide Australians with an assurance that if they, or a member of their family, have or acquire a significant disability there will be a properly financed, comprehensive and cohesive system to support them," Mr O'Farrell said.
"Both governments are committed to the implementation of the NDIS in accordance with the recommendations of the Productivity Commission.
"With 57 per cent of the Australian population in NSW and Victoria, our States are established reform leaders.
"This means we are both well placed to successfully undertake the launch of the NDIS and then play a significant part in a national roll out."
Mr Baillieu said the joint approach from Victoria and NSW means the two States can share expertise and information which will maximise the chances for the success of the launch.
"The partnership between Victoria and NSW will ensure the resources of both States are used to build on the best of our current systems and share learnings during the launch stage," Mr Baillieu said.
"Premier O'Farrell and I agree with the Productivity Commission's recommendation that the Commonwealth Government is best placed to provide the additional funding required for the NDIS launch," Mr Baillieu said.
"Victoria and NSW are doing all we can to ensure the NDIS gets off the ground, but we need the Commonwealth to be fully committed," Mr Baillieu said.
"It is essential the Commonwealth partners in this commitment to people with a disability in NSW and Victoria," Mr Baillieu said.
News of the joint expression of interest from NSW and Victoria has been welcomed by National Disability Services - the peak body for non-government disability services.
"This is a tremendous opportunity to have the two states which run the biggest disability service systems proposing to work collaboratively with the Commonwealth," its Chief Operating Officer Patrick Maher said.
"It is going to be essential to find synergies across state systems and learn to work together in an integrated disability sector environment," Mr Maher said.
"The collaborative approach will help address the significant cross jurisdictional challenges that the NDIS will present us with us with.
"National Disability Services also looks forward to seeing what proposals other states bring forward for consideration."