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Watering the NDIS desert – including all people with disability

A new investment of $1.7b per year is needed to fix the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) ‘oasis in the desert’ says a new paper released today from the Disability Advocacy Network Australia (DANA), written by leading academic Sue Olney.



‘For the last decade, services and supports outside the NDIS have been reduced to non-existent, leaving 90% of people with disability with no support, and public services inaccessible to people with disability,’ said El Gibbs, Director, Policy and Advocacy, DANA.


‘The NDIS has been described as an ‘oasis in the desert’ or a ‘lifeboat in the ocean’, so how to we make sure people with disability outside the NDIS don’t drown?’

Associate Professor Sue Olney has developed, with DANA, a three-part plan to address the lack of services and supports outside the NDIS.


‘The majority of Australians with disability rely on universal or ‘mainstream’ service systems, specialist and general community services and their own resources to stay well, study, find housing, work, move around, and participate in and contribute to their communities,’ said Dr Olney.


‘But these services aren’t working well. It isn’t ok that 20% of our population can’t access our public services’.


The plan, released today as part of DANA’s work for the current NDIS Review, calls for a significant increase in investment by the Australian Government, new governance to drive change, and a citizen science project to identify gaps in services. Currently, spending for all 90% of people with disability outside the NDIS is $177m per year1. The discussion paper calls for a ten-fold increase over the next ten years.


‘The original design of the NDIS included work to make sure the rest of our public services are fully accessible and inclusive, but this work hasn’t happened. Now is the time for ensuring people with disability can go to school, to work and spend time with their friends, just like other Australians,’ said Ms Gibbs.


‘This ten-fold increase in investment over the next decade, and the plan for new governance and research, will ensure that the NDIS isn’t the only place to get support, now and into the future.’


‘The evidence from many researchers is clear – people with disability are bearing the cost of this failure to deliver inclusive services, and this matters for all of us,’ said Dr Olney.


‘This plan will start to change this, putting people with disability at the heart of designing and delivering a better future.’


The paper can be accessed via the DANA website.

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