Reid Sexton July 19, 2012
GEELONG is likely to be a key testing ground for the Commonwealth's multibillion-dollar new disability insurance scheme in a move welcomed by locals.
The Baillieu government yesterday said it would ask the Gillard government to choose the Barwon region as one of the program's launch sites, a move that means disabled locals will be among the first to reap its benefits.
The national disability insurance scheme is set to cost about $6 billion a year once fully operational.
Its supporters claim it will be the largest social reform since Medicare and will see disabled people paired with a local co-ordinator to develop a unique care and support plan.
The aim is to guarantee an adequate level of support for disabled people nationwide and slash waiting times for services and equipment.
The Gillard government will next year launch the program in up to four sites across the country for 10,000 people, with that to increase to 20,000 in 2014 before expanding to more people in more regions.
Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge made the announcement to applause from Geelong locals at a forum yesterday.
The opposition accused the state government of trying to steal credit for Labor's scheme and said it should instead be focusing on a jobs plan for Geelong.