Left in the lurch on disabilty scheme, Steven calls on budget cash for trial programs

KEPT IN THE DARK: Carewest CEO Tim Curran and Orange father Steven Vandenbergh say the government is leaving people with disabilities in the dark by delaying the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Photo: NICOLE KUTER 0501nkcarer

KEPT IN THE DARK: Carewest CEO Tim Curran and Orange father Steven Vandenbergh say the government is leaving people with disabilities in the dark by delaying the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Photo: NICOLE KUTER 0501nkcarer

STEVEN Vandenbergh is calling on the government to be clear about its intentions for a disability insurance scheme and to stop leaving families in uncertainty. 

Unlike most people caring for a person with a disability, Mr Vandenbergh has complete control over his son’s disability funding, which means he can match his son’s personality to the carer of his choice, he can hire the staff he wants and he can pick and choose exactly where his son’s funding goes. 

“Scotty has such a zest for life ... I wanted to match a carer with him who could appreciate his sense of humour,” he said. 

He filled out kilos of paperwork and competed with up to 40 applicants for the three packages available in the central west for the self-managed funding.

With the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) 460,000 Australians living with a severe or profound disability would have that choice too.

Mr Vandenbergh’s son Scott, suffers a genetic degenerative condition and he will eventually need more funding. 

“The NDIS would mean my wife and I could stay at work ... the NDIS is about creating opportunities for people with disabilities to enter the community,” he said. 

Carewest chief executive officer Tim Curran said he was worried the rollout would be delayed because of the rhetoric coming from the government about the country not being able to afford it. 

He had every reason to be worried as yesterday the commission of audit recommended a slower roll-out of the system because of cost blowouts at the early trial sites.

“The Productivity Commission recommended that if you establish an NDIS it won’t cost the economy, it would add to it,” he said.

“It would add to the Australian GDP, new positions, new jobs.” 

Mr Curran said delays would mean even more confusion for families and the most vulnerable people in the community would suffer.

“I would like to see a commitment in the May budget of some dollars for further trial sites,” he said. 

The NDIS is scheduled to be fully operational in 2018-2019.

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