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'Any one of us could be among that number': Comparing the Policy Narratives for Individualized Disability Funding in Australia and England

C. Needham, H. Dickinson,

Academic Literature

2017

In this article we compare the introduction of individualized budget policies for people with disabilities in Australia and England. Data is drawn from semi-structured interviews undertaken in Australia with politicians, policymakers, providers, disability rights groups and care planners, along with analysis of policy documents. This data is compared to the authors' earlier research from England on the personalization narrative. We argue that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) currently being introduced in Australia deploys an insurance storyline, emphasizing risk-pooling and the minimizing of future liabilities. This contrasts with the dominant storyline in England in which attention has focused on the right to choice and control for a minority of the population. This difference can be explained by the different financial context: the NDIS needed to build public and political support for a large increase in funding for disability services, whereas in England the reforms have been designed as cost-neutral. Tensions in the English narrative have been about the extent to which personalization reforms empower the individual as a consumer, with purchasing power, or as a citizen with democratic rights. Australia's approach can be characterized as a form of social investment, evoking tensions between the citizenship of people with disabilities now and the future worker-citizen. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Social Policy and Administration

Domain/s: Economic participation

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