A fairer future for all Australians

From left: Anthony Day, Bill Shorten, Chris Latham, Chris McHughThe Government has committed itself to the introduction of significant disability reform which brings an opportunity to drastically improve the quality of life for the 410 000 people living with a disability in Australia who would be eligible under the proposed reform.

The introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and complimentary National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) is an important initiative which will not only improve the quality of life for many Australians, it will also change the way disability support is perceived and managed in Australia.

The need for reform in Australia is great with the current disability support system described as “underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient” by the Productivity Commission in its report on the subject released in July last year.

About one in five Australians has a disability, making them one of the largest minority groups in Australia.

John Walsh AM, Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), addressing Suncorp’s Traumatic Injury and Disability Insurance Summit, adds that 45% of Australians with a disability live in or near poverty, more than double the OECD average.

Australia is also near the bottom in comparison to other OECD countries in terms of employment rates for people with a disability.

Mr Walsh outlined that the benefits of introducing a national disability support scheme would be greater than the costs, with an estimated $7.8 billion worth of gains in hardship alleviation.  

The estimated employment gains would benefit 370,000 people by 2050, resulting in an additional $50 billion in GDP.  In addition there will be an estimated saving in the Disability Support Pension of $2.7 billion per year.

Suncorp is taking an active role in supporting the development of disability reform, the only insurance company to do so. To assist in the responsible introduction of the NDIS and NIIS Suncorp, in conjunction with PwC, are hosting a series of summits to facilitate constructive and collaborative dialogue around the effective design and implementation of the schemes.

The summit series brings together key players who have a role in the development of disability reform and aims to illuminate critical issues that need to be explored and resolved. It seeks to facilitate the agreement of common principles that will influence a rational approach to disability reform.

The first Traumatic Injury and Disability Insurance Summit, held in Melbourne, addressed the challenges of managing the economic and social impacts of traumatic and acquired disability reform.  It focussed on the business case for reform and approached the issue from the perspectives of the government, insurer, economic and implementation.

Several other experts spoke at the event, including The Hon. Bill Shorten, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation; David Bowen, Chair of the NIIS Advisory Committee; Chris McHugh, Executive General Manager Statutory Portfolio with Suncorp Commercial Insurance; and Anthony Day, CEO Suncorp Commercial Insurance. They each spoke of the needs in the community for disability care and the potential for significant positive change.

The next summit will be held in Sydney in May.

For more information, please go to Traumatic Injury and Disability Insurance Summit, PwC and NDIS.