PEOPLE with a disability and their carers are both excited and uncertain about what the National Disability Insurance Scheme will mean for them.
Last Wednesday, locals with a disability, their carers and families met federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Jan McLucas at a forum in Bayswater North to discuss how the scheme would benefit them.
"As part of the NDIS, we will ask people with disabilities questions they haven't been asked before," Senator McLucas said.
"It won't be about 'how do we keep you alive'; it's about treating you as a person who wants to be included in society."
The NDIS is a new healthcare program introduced by the federal government that will change the way people with a disability and their carers are treated. It is one of few policies on which the two sides of politics are unified in how they'll implement it.
Heathmont resident Woody Marriott, who at 18 months old was diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia, a nervous system disorder that affects balance and co-ordination, said years of broken promises had taken its toll. "I just want to be assured it will happen. It's very political at the moment," he said.
"It should have been in years ago. It will take away the stigma of the person who has a disability."
Mr Marriott, co-founder of the Disability Action Group Eastern Region, said the NDIS was something everyone should be aware of.
"We want the person in the street who is 'normal' to say, 'Yes, I support it'."
National campaign director for Every Australian Counts, John Della Bosca, told the Weekly the timeframe for the NDIS to be rolled out in areas like Maroondah was dependent on the co-operation of the state and federal governments.
"It could be a couple of years or it could be a very long time," he said.
Mr Della Bosca said last week's resignation of Ted Baillieu may work in its favour.
"We're very hopeful the new Premier is proactive in implementing the NDIS.
"I know Premier Napthine is very focused on disability reform so I hope that's the case."
In Victoria, the NDIS will be first launched in the Barwon area in July.
From there, the government will rely on feedback to refine the scheme for other areas in the state.