The Australian Greens said today that further amendments would be needed to the NDIS legislation following the tabling of a Senate Inquiry report.
"The Australian Greens have supported the majority report of the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee Inquiry, but have also provided important additional comments and recommendations," disabilities spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said this afternoon.
"The Government should adopt the recommendations made in the committee's majority report, along with the additional recommendations made by the Greens.
"The Greens have long supported a scheme which provides greater choice and control for people living with a disability and it is our desire to see the NDIS be as effective as possible.
"For that reason we have made additional recommendations to address lingering areas of concern we have with the legislation. Age restrictions, services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the capacity of the National Disability Insurance Agency to promote systemic change are areas addressed by the Greens in our additional comments.
"The issue of age restrictions has been much discussed during this inquiry. The Australian Greens believe that we need to address the remaining issues relating to the age barrier of 65.
"We need to ensure that people aged over 65 with a disability are able to access quality care and support. This cannot be the case under the current aged care system. Therefore we either need to completely remove the age restriction and include over-65s in the existing launch sites, or the Government need to puts in place specialist support services for those over 65 who have a non-age related disability that will not be picked up by the early intervention component.
"To ensure that this scheme adequately provides for the need of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we are recommending that the Government creates an additional launch site which focuses on NDIS delivery to one or more rural and remote Aboriginal communities.
"Community participation and full integration for people living with a disability is a fundamental aim of the NDIS and the Greens are recommending that the National Disability Insurance Agency be empowered to push for systemic change in all areas of service delivery. This aspect needs to be firmly embedded in the objectives and principles of the Bill and given operational effect within its relevant sections.
"We also recommend that that Government increase the funding for available for legal assistance and advocacy that is conducted on behalf of a person living with a disability.
"The Greens are eager to see the launch sites begin operation from 1 July 2013, so I encourage the Government to take on board our recommendations and those of the majority report as soon as possible," Senator Siewert concluded.
The Report & Greens Additional Comments will be available online shortly: http://www.aph.gov.au/