On Wednesday 19 May, Queenslanders with disability, their families, supporters and service providers came together to speak out about a number of proposed reforms to the NDIS. A key message from the 250 registered participants was that in their current form these changes will destroy the scheme’s fundamental foundation of support based on individual needs and choice and control around services and supports.
Hosted by a collaboration of sector peak bodies, advocacy and disability organisations, The Pause, Reset, Co-Design NDIS Reforms webinar was an opportunity for Queenslanders to give feedback to the Palaszczuk Government on NDIS Reforms, including Independent Assessments and changes to the definition of “reasonable and necessary” for supports. The forum also heard about other options for improving the scheme and ensuring its sustainability.
In opening the forum, Minister for Seniors and Disability Services, the Honourable Craig Crawford said that the Palaszczuk Government does not support mandatory independent assessments in their current form. He stated the Government has a continuing commitment to ensuring that the state’s investment in the scheme continues to deliver for Queenslanders with disability, families and the sector.
Byron Albury, current NDIS participant spoke of his concerns, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“It’s gut-wrenching to have to repeatedly tell your life story to strangers. This approach means people lose their dignity and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will just turn away from the NDIS,” Byron said.
Paige Armstrong, CEO of Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) and spokesperson for the forum organisers said that these reforms in their current form would mean poorer outcomes for people with disability.
“While it’s important that everyone can access assessments needed for entry to the NDIS, this ‘one size fits all’ approach is creating fear and concern. The NDIS covers a diverse range of disability and early trials of independent assessments have shown failures to account for the complexities of people’s disability and life.
Forum participants spoke about the impacts on people who are unable to communicate their needs in the short time allowed for independent assessments, with an assessor who may have little or no knowledge about the person or their disability,” Ms Armstrong said.
Another element of the proposed changes is also to review the governance relationship and roles between the State and Commonwealth Governments, which could see State Government having less oversight of the scheme.
The clear message from Queenslanders tonight was co-design, co-design, co-design. Any future reforms of the scheme must be informed by extensive consultation and designed and implemented with people with disability, families, carers and service providers to deliver clear alternatives which would help achieve greater equity in the scheme but without disadvantaging participants.
About NDIS Reforms, Pause, Reset, Co-Design Webinar
Wednesday 19 May
Queensland disability peaks and advocacy organisations have come together to host the Pause, Reset, Co-Design Webinar. The forum was opened by the Queensland Minister for Seniors and Disability Services, the Honourable Craig Crawford and speakers included NDIS participants, families and service provider representatives:
- Kirsten Deane (Melbourne Disability Institute)
- Jean Cotchin – Every Australian Counts
- Queensland participants, families and service providers – Byron Albury, Jennie Duke, Valmae Rose, Liz Sutton
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