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The lack of NDIS services for First Nations people with disability ‘a national crisis’

Today the Disability Royal Commission published a commissioned research report by Deloitte titled Options to improve service availability and accessibility for First Nations people with disability. The report finds, while demand is growing for First Nations disability services, First Nations NDIS participants are 28% less likely to receive care via the NDIS than their non-Indigenous counterparts. The research finds some of these disability services could be described as ‘unsafe, traumatising and inequitable.’ It concludes that the lack of available, accessible and culturally appropriate services for First Nations people with disability is ‘a time sensitive national crisis.’ The report points to a growing demand for NDIS services from First Nations people and finds:

  • The number of First Nations people participating in the NDIS is expected to grow twice as fast as the number of non-indigenous participants over the next decade.

  • Approximately 13,000 NDIS workers are needed in the First Nations disability sector by 2031 to meet growth in demand.

  • There’s an urgent need for the whole disability workforce to better deliver and understand culturally-safe and trauma-informed approach to care.

  • First nations people are underrepresented in the care workforce across the country, and particularly in remote communities.

The following recurring themes are identified in consultations connected to the report:

  • Aboriginal Community Controlled and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations frequently deliver disability services with inadequate funding and resourcing.

  • Allied health providers often aren’t disability specialists and provide inadequate and culturally inappropriate services.

The report makes 22 recommendations, aimed at improving the cultural competency of the First Nations disability sector, building the First Nations workforce and the capacity of the First Nations community-controlled sector.

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