DisabilityCare to cover ‘most’ individuals with ASD
As the Barwon region gets ready to launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme (now DisabilityCare Australia) on 1 July, more detail about the scheme is gradually becoming available.
On 11 May, Minister for Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin, was reported in The Age confirming that DisabilityCare Australia will cover ‘most’ individuals with ASD and will cover the full cost of early intervention programs. In the article, Minister Macklin was quoted as saying, ”The important thing to emphasise is that no two people with autism are the same. People are very different, they have very different levels of disability, and very different levels of ability, so what they need from DisabilityCare Australia will really vary.”
The Age reported that Minister Macklin confirmed that where early intervention therapy was deemed ‘reasonable and necessary’, DisabilityCare would be able to fund its full cost. The Age reports that applied behaviour analysis therapy could cost the scheme more than $300 million a year once fully operational.
Ms Macklin said over time, DisabilityCare would replace the existing autism program, but no family would see their level of support reduced.
We are delighted that Minister Macklin has provided this reassurance, and it now looks like DisabilityCare will provide a legitimate opportunity for individuals with ASD. We are pleased that government is responding to the needs of the ASD community and we commend the work of all who have lobbied for individuals with ASD and who continue to do so.
Whilst the signs are good, we remain concerned for those individuals with ASD who will not be covered under DisabilityCare and we will continue to push to ensure those not covered have their needs provided for.
Overall, DisabilityCare is looking very promising for the ASD community and we will be keeping close watch on its roll out in the Barwon region over the next 18 months.
Murray Dawson-Smith, CEO, Amaze (Autism Victoria)