SUPPORTERS pushing for the roll-out of a National Disability Scheme have slammed the petty political bickering that threatened to derail the scheme's trial.
Premier Ted Baillieu was forced into a back-down late on Friday after a ferocious backlash to his decision earlier in the week not to help fund a Victorian trial.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard refused to consider a Medicare-style levy to fund the scheme amid concerns opposition leader Tony Abbott could score points over the introduction of "another great big new tax".
Western suburbs resident Tina Polizzi, who cares for Adam and John, her two adult children with disability, expressed disappointment at the handling of the issue at last week's meeting between state and federal governments.
"I thought Victoria was going to be at the forefront in rolling out the NDIS. I thought we were well prepared and am disappointed that government negotiations have not progressed further," Ms Polizzi said.
"I trust our politicians will adopt the recommendations of the Productivity Commission when implementing the NDIS, because the current system is not working."
Estelle Fyffe, chief executive of Footscray-based association annecto, said there was growing frustration at lost opportunities resulting from any delay in a pilot trial.
"This doesn't just affect people with a disability; it affects their families as well," she said. "People have been through so much over all this, they just want to get on with it."
annecto supports many of the Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay families involved in disability care. Projections by annecto suggest that within the decade Melbourne's west will be home to close to 400,000 people living with a disability and more than 250,000 carers.
"Potentially, a scheme like the NDIS will move the current crisis-driven and broken system to one based on human rights and entitlements, where all Victorians will benefit," Ms Fyffe said.
Shadow minister for disability services Danielle Green said Premier Baillieu had put politics ahead of people when he joined with fellow Liberal Premiers to turn down a federal proposal to set up the first stages of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. But late Friday, Mr Baillieu committed $17million over three years and a one-off payment of $25million towards a National Disability Transition Agency.
He denied the move was a political backdown brought on by the outcry over the initial refusal to help fund the trial. "This proposal would ensure that around 5000 Victorians living with a disability, their family and their carers would receive better care and support, and trial an NDIS along the lines of the model proposed by the Productivity Commission," he said.
"This proposal would also ensure that the trial starts in Geelong in July 2013, which is an improvement on the 2014 start date proposed by the Commonwealth."
Rohan Braddy, chief executive of western suburbs disability services provider Mambourin Enterprises, said the
Productivity Commission had labelled the current disability support system as "underfunded, unfair, fragmented, and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports". He added: "The Mambourin community urges all our politicians to work together and make the NDIS a reality."