The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has launched the national disability insurance scheme named DisabilityCare Australia to assist people suffering with permanent and significant disabilities.

Funded by the Commonwealth and state governments, the scheme will be initially available in Newcastle and is expected to be rolled out in Lake Macquarie and Maitland at later stages.

Full roll out is expected in 2019, while funding for the scheme will be provided by enhancing the Medicare Levy by 0.5%.

Around 26,000 people are expected to be benefitted by the first stage of the scheme’s roll-out, which is expected to cover about 10% of Australians with mental illness.

Rudd was quoted by as saying, "We understand the need to keep the economy strong, but we also understand that to be authentically Australian is to have an open heart to all Australians."