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WA junks state-run NDIS to join national scheme

The Labor government in Western Australia has struck a deal with the Commonwealth for the state to join the National Disability Insurance Scheme from 1 July next year.

The new bilateral agreement announced this week replaces the agreement signed in January 2017 by the former Liberal state government for a locally administered scheme.

Participants already taking part in the WA NDIS will transfer in a staged approach to the federally-run scheme between April and December 2018.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the decision provided certainty about the future of the NDIS in the state.

“After careful deliberation, we have concluded that joining the national scheme will provide the best foundation for Western Australians to benefit from the NDIS, now and into the future,” he said.

“This decision demonstrates my government’s commitment to being part of a once in a generation change that can only be truly successful as a national endeavour.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the signing of the agreement was the final step towards making the NDIS “a truly national scheme.”

Under the agreement until 2020 the Commonwealth will meet all administration costs of the National Disability Insurance Agency and cost overruns from higher participant numbers or higher average package costs.

Providers registered only with the WA NDIS will need to register as an NDIA provider to deliver supports under the federal scheme.

The NDIS will be fully rolled out across WA by mid 2020 with 39,000 participants.

Julie Waylen, WA state manager of disability peak body National Disability Services, said while the certainty was welcomed there were significant implementation and transition challenges ahead.

“The NDIS will bring increased demand for services in more locations and disability services must be supported to build a knowledge base, build capacity and capability of providers, strengthen the regions and address potential market failure issues.”

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