TRANSCRIPT - Doorstop interview > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

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04-September-2015

TRANSCRIPT - Doorstop interview

Fairhaven Services

West Gosford, New South Wales

With the Federal Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks

25 August 2015
11am

 

 

E & OE

 

Subjects: Australian Disability Enterprises, National Disability Insurance Scheme

 

FIFIELD:

 

It is great to be on the Central Coast with Lucy Wicks to open the Fare Cravin’ coffee shop which is a terrific enterprise that provides employment for people with disability. 

 

There are around 20,000 people who receive employment through Disability Enterprises in about 200 ventures and we are very pleased to announce today that the Government is confirming there will be $650 million over the next three years to provide certainty to Disability Enterprises as they transition into the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The good news is that is about $6 million on the Central Coast to support Disability Enterprises that provide work for people who face extra challenges.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

And that money, over three years, what 2.1 every year, or broken up that way?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Well, it is money that will go to Disability Enterprises to help them support staff to get that extra help that they need.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

And how will the money be distributed?

 

FIFIELD:

 

It's given to given to the individual disability enterprises on the basis of the number of supported employees that they have.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Is this a tool to soften the blow of a potential delay in the roll-out of the NDIS?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Not at all. Disability Enterprises were always going to transition gradually into the National Disability Insurance Scheme and this is to provide certainty and continuity of support to people during that transition period. But we are determined to deliver the NDIS in full.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

If there is a cut to income tax, as suggested by the Treasurer, will that not complicate the potential roll-out?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Well, the funding for the NDIS is laid out over the forward estimates. We are determined to deliver the NDIS in full and to make the necessary funding available for that to happen.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

On time?

 

FIFIELD:

 

The Heads of Agreement that the Commonwealth has with the state jurisdictions has a target date of 2019 and that’s what we are working towards.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

What is the latest date for the rollout of the NDIS here?

 

FIFIELD:

 

I am in the middle of negotiations with jurisdictions as to how the NDIS will roll out beyond the current trial sites. And those negotiations go to the phasing of the scheme region by region.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Ok so I think by mid next year by the earliest still?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Well the middle of next year is the target to progressively roll out the NDIS beyond the current trial sites.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

A day like today, is that when it is a reality check? When you actually see a coffee shop opening, you said it was your first ever coffee shop opening, which is a big moment for you, but is that kind of the, I guess it makes you feel that what you’re doing is worthwhile? That you have seen the results of schemes in place?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Absolutely, what the National Disability Insurance Scheme will do for people really represents the core business of government. And that is providing extra support that is needed for the people who face challenges for reasons beyond their control. That’s why people pay their taxes, they are happy to pay their taxes for that. And I am very pleased that people with disabilities are starting to get the better deal that they deserve.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

The Opposition has questioned whether or not the Government fully supports and believes in the scheme. It has been suggested that you are crawling, crab crawling I think was the term, the phrase, by the Opposition Leader in terms of the support and the roll-out of the scheme. Why can't they just be a set date and an assurance to the people as to when it is going to happen?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Well, we have a target date which is embedded in the intergovernmental agreements between the Commonwealth and the jurisdictions of 2019. That’s the date that we are working towards. I wasn't put in the job of Minister for Disabilities for any other reason than to deliver the NDIS in full and that’s my absolute commitment to do that.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

But across the trials happening further north, what have we learned so far? They have been going for quite a few months now, any lessons learned?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Yes, there are some lessons that have been learnt. I think that one of them is that it is really important to make sure that NDIS participants are aware of the mainstream services that are available. There may be services in the health sector, the education sector. Firstly to make sure that they access those services, then to talk to someone about what are their goals and aspirations. And at that point to look at what other funded supports can help them achieve their goal. Rather than giving someone a menu of funded items, talk to them about what are their plans, what are their goals and then use the NDIS funded supports to help them achieve their goals. 

 

JOURNALIST:

 

[inaudible] as opposed to the state’s 18 per cent, is that a consideration in terms of the roll-out and available funds to the region?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Well, the NDIS will be rolled out throughout New South Wales. We are currently negotiating what will be the order, region by region, and one of the things we'll look at will be where you've got good service providers who are ready for the transition and this is an area that's got some great service providers.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

You’re going up to Central Coast Living Options tomorrow. I’ve got your agenda in my hand here. Last week, they had a visit by the State Disability Minister, it looks like they were going to be some funds available, but they weren't. Are we looking at some cheques being signed up there tomorrow? They’re quite desperate for some cash.

 

FIFIELD:

 

Well, I will listen to what their concerns are, I regularly talk to the New South Wales Minister and we try and work very closely together and we are doing that presently with the negotiations with the roll-out of the NDIS.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Certainly been promising the NDIS on the horizon. I guess the fear is that there will be people with cash in hand and there won't be any facilities for them to live or work. Are you confident that will be ready?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Well, we’ve got to make sure that we get the roll-out right. We’ve got to do whatever we can to make sure service providers are teady. There will need to be a significant increase in the workforce in the disability sector. We’ve got to work and plan with the sector to make sure that we roll-out the NDIS in areas that are ready and prepared.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Lucy, good to see I suppose some cash flowing in?

 

WICKS:

 

Look, this is fantastic for the Fairhaven community here. I think seeing the opening of Fare Cravin’, a fantastic coffee shop, beautiful coffee, and I want to encourage people to stop by and have a beautiful organic coffee. It’s wonderful to see additional employment opportunities for people on the Central Coast.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

And is this something that you would like to see more of, this sort of model?

 

WICKS:

 

I think this is an outstanding model here. I think Fairhaven Services do a wonderful job in our community they’ve been around for several decades. It’s a well-loved, well-established brand. I do encourage people to come along and to have a coffee. To enjoy this beautiful, beautiful coffee shop.

 

Media contact:

Vincent Tulley | 0409 244 865 | Vincent.tulley@dss.gov.au