DisabilityCare Australia (previously known as the National Disability Insurance Scheme) was launched today, 1 July 2013, and in this segment from ABC TV’s Lateline program, a spotlight was thrown on the inequity and discrimination of the scheme’s age 65 cut off.
Emma Alberici discusses the age 65 cut-off with Professor Gillian Triggs (1:30)
EMMA ALBERICI: On to DisabilityCare, which was launched today. Do you expect that scheme to elevate in some way the status of people with disabilities?
GILLIAN TRIGGS: I think it will and I think that’s a very interesting question. I think when we respect people’s rights and we accept that they have a place in the community and we will fund and support that place, you do elevate how they will be perceived in the community and I think that’s one of the consequences we’ll see over the years.
EMMA ALBERICI: DisabilityCare, we know, will only apply to those under 65 years old. Are you comfortable with that?
GILLIAN TRIGGS: I’m not entirely comfortable with it and certainly the Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan, who’s working on this area, would very much like to see that revised. I think – this is going to take a while to get into functioning order to see how it works, but I think there’ll be a very strong argument to say that we can’t have a gap here and it must be expanded. But these are very early days and I think we’ll have to see how it works out, but certainly we’d like to see it go to an older – into an age group beyond 65.
EMMA ALBERICI: Why do you think there was such an arbitrary age put on this?
GILLIAN TRIGGS: I really can’t explain that. I suspect it’s partly financial, partly historical. Classifications of age groups that we’ve done, I think in good faith, but it’s now become rather outdated and it’s been simply taken over when they were thinking about the new process.