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PM tells of pride in disability scheme

Date

Henrietta Cook

Julia Gillard said few actions in public life had given her greater pleasure than introducing the disability scheme.

Julia Gillard said few actions in public life had given her greater pleasure than introducing the disability scheme. Photo: Peter Stoop

DISABLED Victorians will not be guaranteed the protection they need under draft laws for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Victorian government has warned.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard had said few actions in public life had given her greater pleasure than introducing the disability scheme on Thursday. ''The scheme is ambitious, and necessarily so,'' she said. ''More than 400,000 people are living with significant and permanent disabilities.''

The scheme, which overhauls national disability services, will cost about $15 billion a year by 2018, about $8 billion more than the states and territories combined spend on disability services.

But Victoria's Community Services Minister, Mary Wooldridge, said states needed greater certainty about who was eligible for the national disability scheme and what their rights would be. The Commonwealth had not done enough to protect the rights of people with disability, she said. ''The absolute heart and substance of the scheme is not yet on the table … it's critical, who's in and who's out and what they are going to get.''

She said the bill did not ensure people involved in the Barwon trial had access to Community Visitors, the volunteers who inspected accommodation facilities.

With JONATHAN SWAN

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