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Roll-out of the NDIS has commenced in Tasmania and will continue until July 2019 when around 10,600 Tasmanians will have joined the new scheme. This is an exciting opportunity for people with disability. The NDIS will help people achieve their goals. This may include greater independence, community involvement, employment and improved wellbeing.
This is likely to mean that more people with disability can participate in community activities, enrol in education and training, seek employment and work. There will be more reason for community organisations, sports clubs, education and training providers and employers to get better at providing facilities and services that meet the needs of people with disability.
The NDIS will deliver many services that the Tasmanian Government currently delivers, such as support with transport and some services in schools. This is likely to present some challenges as people and services adapt to the change.
The NDIS is not the only area of government service delivery where there will be big changes. Reforms in aged care, mental health services and carer support services are also likely to affect people with disability.
At a national level, aged care, mental health services and the NDIS have a focus on increasing choice and control for people who use services. This means that people will be personally funded to choose their support services and providers, rather than community service organisations receiving the funding. This is an opportunity for people to choose the support that is right for them, but also brings the pressure of finding the right option and managing their own funding.
The Australian Government is also changing the way in which it delivers services to carers. It is looking to streamline and better coordinate carer support services. The first step has been to develop the Carer Gateway, including a national phone service, website and service finder. The second stage is to develop an integrated carer support service. The new service will have a focus on raising awareness and delivering of services that are proven to have longer term outcomes for carers.
New ways of delivering services are happening internationally, and new passenger transport and accommodation services have arrived in Tasmania. It is challenging for governments to keep up with these rapid changes and to make sure that the new services work well for all members of the community, including people with disability.
The Tasmanian Government is implementing a number of key reforms and initiatives that may be important for people with disability, including: