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DANA has asked Dr Simon Duffy to provide an international perspective on Australia's NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the Australian system for funding disability supports for children and working age adults. The system was established in 2013 and put into full operation in 2020; it has introduced a series of progressive reforms and increased funding for people with disabilities.

However there have also been concerns that the model is financially unaffordable and in October 2022 the Hon Bill Shorten MP, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) announced a review of the NDIS “to improve the wellbeing of Australians with disability and the scheme’s sustainability.”

In order to support this review the Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA) has commissioned an international review, by global expert on self-directed support Dr Simon Duffy, to provide an international perspective on Australian progress with the NDIS. The purpose of this international review is to:

  • Put the NDIS in a wider global context and compare it to other existing and emerging systems of disability support

  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of the NDIS to enable improvements in the development and design of the NDIS

  • Provide useful tools and evidence for the wider disability movement in order to strengthen their ability to engage in debate on these systemic issues

  • Publish the report early enough to contribute to the review and to encourage further discussions with policy-makers and the disability and advocacy community

Dr Duffy is one of the founders of the global Self-Directed Support Network and the Director of Citizen Network Research. In 2008, he was awarded the Prince Albert Medal by the Royal Society for Arts and in 2011 he received the Social Policy Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to Social Policy for his work on the personalisation of support. He is currently the technical advisor to the EU funded UNIC Project on User-Centred Funding Models for Long-Term Care. He is also co-founder of Citizen Network, UBI Lab Network, and the Neighbourhood Democracy Movement. Simon has also created many other organisations and campaigns, including Inclusion Glasgow and In Control.

In 2013, Simon argued that:

“The NDIS could be one of the most important international developments in the advancement of the human rights of people with disabilities in recent years.” However, he also said that the scheme had several important design flaws. In particular, in his report,

Designing NDIS, he said:

“I cannot think of another system which will be so prone to inflationary pressure as this model. It exploits no natural incentive for good cost control, while inviting demand pressure from every possible source. It will inevitably lead to further erosion of every type of social capital and increase over reliance on the current human service system in Australia. It will reward communities that fail to invest in people with disabilities and the accessibility of their own local organisation, places and services.”

Commenting on this commission from DANA Simon said:

“I am honoured to have been asked by DANA to write this report and I hope to make a useful contribution to the further improvement and sustainability of the NDIS. The decision by the Australian government in 2013 to create the NDIS remains a world leading commitment to support disability rights for real. The NDIS needs to succeed and be the best it can be, not only for Australians but to provide an example for all of us.”

More information about the Self-Directed Support Network can be found by following the links below.

Find out more about DANA at:

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