People with Disability Australia welcomes the news that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will ‘get a reboot’, as announced by Minister Bill Shorten at the National Press Club yesterday.
Mr Shorten’s six-point plan to overhaul the NDIS focuses on many of the key issues raised by disability advocacy groups, including PWDA, over the past decade.
PWDA President Nicole Lee said, “Minister Shorten’s address was a welcome change for people with disability, who for too long have had our lives limited, narrowed and capped by changes to the NDIS.
“The plan includes internal changes, including an increase in a number of staff working at the NDIS, a change to plan durations and making sure people don’t need to keep proving
that they have disability,” said Ms Lee.
External factors were incorporated including a crackdown on price gouging and unethical service provision as well as a ‘boost in community support from State Governments to free
up NDIS budgets’.
“Whatever changes are made to the NDIS,” said Ms Lee, “these must first and foremost come from a position of the principles of choice and control of people with disability which was one of the main intentions of the NDIS from the beginning.”
At present, NDIS bilateral agreements exist between States and Territories, and the Federal Government to determine who will pay for the ongoing support of people with disability. Other support should be delivered through Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031 and State and Territory initiatives where they exist.
“What we don’t want to see is a return to the early days of the NDIS, where the Federal and state and territory governments argued over who was responsible for paying for services and equipment which ultimately meant people with disability were left to languish without life-changing supports,” said Ms Lee.
“What we do want to see is all Governments at State, Territory and Local government levels work to ensure that all spaces, communities and services are accessible to people with disability.,” said PWDA Deputy CEO, Carolyn Hodge.
“For too long people with disability have been excluded or overly reliant on supports to do everyday activities like catch public transport, go to work, school or university because systems, spaces and buildings continue to be built that do not work for people with disability,” said Ms Hodge.
PWDA Vice-President Samantha Connor cautioned, “we hope that this measure does not herald a return to any version of block funding, or the fragmented circumstances that was the hallmark of the pre-NDIS State-based disability systems.”
“It is important that the NDIS remains individualised, with people with disability at the heart
of the scheme and in control of their funding and services,” said Ms Connor.
Journalists at the event asked about those missing from the NDIS included the low number of culturally and linguistically diverse participants and the estimated 60,000 Aboriginal Australians who have a disability and should be eligible for the NDIS. PWDA shares these concerns, and we are pleased to hear that they are on the radar of our government.
Lastly, the news that government is making a commitment to more in-home care for treatment outside of hospitals and care homes is welcome news for both people with disability and our families in the fight to end segregation.
We look forward to the outcomes of the NDIS Review and the Disability Royal Commission, as well as commitments to address public concerns about the use of algorithms in NDIS decision-making and action for those excluded from the scheme. We hope the 2023 Budget delivers on yesterday’s commitments.