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ACT to roll out Disabilty Insurance Scheme first

The ACT has signed an agreement on Friday  that will lead to the full implementation of the national disability insurance scheme in the territory first.

The ACT is already a launch site for the pilot, to start in July next year.

The full introduction of the scheme will be achieved in the territory in 2016-17, supporting about 5000 people. The scheme will extend support to people with disabilities and their families, allowing them to better access funds to meet the cost of their needs.

By 2019-20, the ACT government will provide about $167million to the cost of care  for people with disability, supplemented by  $175million from the federal government.

‘‘We have now signed up to the full scheme, so we’re saying, we’re in,’’ ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said after the signing ceremony with Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the sidelines of the COAG summit.

‘‘Ultimately, it means more people with a disability will get the care requirements that they actually have, not what money we’re got to support them, but what they need to live a good life. The agreement provides certainty to all those living with a disability and to those who care for them. We look forward to continuing our work with the Commonwealth in preparation for the launch in July next year of the NDIS, which will be life changing for thousands of Canberrans.’’

Ms Gillard said introducing DisabilityCare Australia across the ACT meant all territory residents could have peace of mind. ‘‘If they have or acquire a disability or have a child with disability that leaves them needing daily care and support, they will get the support they need, when they need it,’’ she said.

National Disability Services chief executive Ken Baker said it was a historic moment. ‘‘Anyone at any time may acquire a disability or have a child born with a disability,’’ he said. ‘‘This week has seen South Australia and the ACT join NSW in providing certainty to people with a disability and their families.’’