Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has sought to up the ante on the stand-off with the Commonwealth over the National Disability Insurance Scheme, demanding that Prime Minister Julia Gillard confirm whether she is still committed to a trial of the scheme in Victoria.
Officials from the state and federal governments have been locked in talks this week, wrangling over details of a $42 million trial proposal from Victoria.
The Victorian trial would cover 5000 people living with a disability in the Barwon region and Geelong, and start mid-next year.
At a press conference this afternoon Mr Baillieu said it was unclear why Ms Gillard had still not committed to announcing a Barwon trial. He said Victoria had put more than enough money on the table and there was no reason for the delay.
He said Victoria's offer had met all the condition set down by the Commonwealth, and also suggested the federal government was delaying because it did not want a Barwon trial to start mid-next year.
"If the Prime Minister has changed her mind and does not want a trial in the Barwon region she should say so now," Mr Baillieu said.
"If the PM does not want a trial in the Barwon region to commence from July 2013 then again, she should say so now," he said.
"The PM is seeking to delay and delay and delay on this issue. If she thinks Victoria and Barwon region people with a disability, and families, and their carers, and all others with an interest in this issue, will forget her commitment for a trial in the Barwon region, then I simply say to the Prime Minister she is wrong."
Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said she wanted people in Barwon region to begin benefiting from the insurance scheme as soon as possible.
"Over the past weeks we have been working closely with the Victorian government to agree a launch site in Victoria," she said.
"Yesterday Australian government officials requested some additional information from the Victorian government. This afternoon Victoria provided a response to Australian government officials just before Premier Baillieu held a press conference.
"Australian government officials will immediately consider this additional information and assess whether the Victorian offer meets requirements for an agreement," she said.
"I am hopeful that we will launch a National Disability Insurance Scheme in the Barwon region now that Victoria has come to the table.”
It is understood talks between the two governments had been stuck on details including how much Victoria now spends for each person with a disability in the region.
The Commonwealth is demanding the state funds $20,779 for individual care and support packages for each person with a disability under the trial, with both sides still debating whether the $42 million deal put on the table from Victoria meets that threshold.
Mr Baillieu said this afternoon that Victoria had been asked to provide far more details than New South Wales, which was formally given acceptance for an insurance scheme trial last week.
The Commonwealth also appears reluctant to agree on Geelong as the site for a National Disability Transition Agency as part of the insurance scheme, a component of Victoria's trial offer.