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UnitingCare Australia welcomes disability legislation

UnitingCare Australia has welcomed the passage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) through Federal Parliament on March 21, and has called on the states and territories to fund their share of the scheme.

National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said the NDIS promises to provide tailored support to meet the individual needs and aspirations of people with disability and, critically, to double the current levels of funding to meet those needs.

She emphasised that the scheme needs to be fully funded to give all Australians the support they need to live an ordinary life.

"We know that almost half of all people living with disability in Australia live on or close to the poverty line, which means it is beyond the reach of people with a disability to purchase support if they are not provided through an entitlement-based scheme such as the NDIS," she said.

The passage of the legislation enables the launch of the scheme in July this year in South Australia, Tasmania, the Barwon region of Victoria and the Hunter in New South Wales.

The ACT launch will start in July 2014.

It also establishes the NDIS Launch Transition Agency, which will work with people with disability to identify their goals and aspirations.

Ms Hatfield Dodds said that some vulnerable people will need additional support.

"A number of people with disability live isolated, vulnerable lives on the fringes of society.

"These include people who are homeless, Indigenous people, people who use alcohol and other drugs, and people who are living with mental health issues which cause or complicate their disability.

"People in these cohorts often lack the skills to advocate for themselves, or the connections with family, service providers or other supports to advocate for them."