Which country expects a kid to wait more than two years for a wheelchair?
Which country expects someone to live with only two showers a week?
Which country abandons young people to life in a nursing home?
Which country ranks bottom (27th out of 27 OECD countries) for people with disabilities living in poverty?
Yep. That’s us. Aussie aussie aussie.
So I hosted a disabiliTEA (part of the Every Australian Counts campaign) last week with friends from church to talk about disability in Australia.
Every Australian Counts is pushing for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The problem is that at the moment disability support is a mess. It’s a lottery. If you acquired your disability at work you’re probably relatively well supported, but if you were born with a disability, good luck!
It also depends where you live. Regional or remote families struggle to get services, but also every state has different levels of support. Programs pop up and down with budget cycles, leaving people in the lurch.
At the moment we have a crisis. I think the worst are stories of parents who have to give their disabled child up to government care, not because they want to, but because they’re at breaking point and there’s no respite spaces available. Families break up over this sort of thing. More kids were given up this year than ever before.
The NDIS would be a national scheme, like Medicare, based on entitlement rather than welfare. It would give people with disabilities entitlement to support rather than the current system where people face the uncertainty of reapplying for support every few months, or worry about how they will manage once their ageing parents are no longer able to care for them.
Yes it’s obviously expensive.
But the research says that the cost of doing nothing would overtake the cost of an NDIS within 10 years.
- This is because of the growing number of people who will need hospital care because they had no access to early treatment or because they can’t go home because they lack the support.
- This is because of all the people with disabilities (they estimate 370,000 in 2050) who, with the right equipment, treatment and access to transport etc. will be able to work rather than depend on the disability pension. They’ll pay taxes too.
- This is because of the thousands of carers (we have some 800,000 full time carers in Australia) who will be freed up to work.
It pays for itself.
But it’s also a matter of justice and inclusion.