Last week the New South Wales Legislative Council released the findings of an inquiry they held earlier in the year into how the the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolling out across NSW.
And how’s it going? The short answer – not well.
To no one’s surprise, many of the recommendations made in the final report are EXACTLY what people have been suggesting at the NDIS Make it Work forums we’ve been holding across Australia.
So what did the report say and what action did the committee suggest?
Let’s find out.
The inquiry came up with two major findings:
- The NDIS is a huge, transformative change that aims to put people with disability in the drivers seat and provide choice and control. But right now, it’s not working for everyone.
- Many people will and are benefitting from the NDIS, but there also lots of people who aren’t eligible that also need support.
These findings seem may seem pretty obvious to us – after all we’re the ones that are experiencing the NDIS on the ground.
But it’s important that they are also put down in writing by a government body. That way we can be absolutely sure that our leaders know something needs to be done.
And then we can keep the pressure on them to do something about it.
The Legislative Council came up with 20 recommendations about what needs to be done to fix the NDIS in NSW.
And while it seems like a lot it doesn’t come close to the number of ideas people have come up with in the forums. In fact many of the Council’s recommendations are the same solutions we’ve suggested!
Here are a few of their key recommendations:
- Eligibility for the NDIS is made clear, the scheme should be easier to navigate, and staff who work for National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) need to receive better training.
- The NDIS planning process needs to be strengthened and streamlined, including better training for Planners and Local Area Coordinators, and timeframes for when to expect responses from the NDIA.
- Services and supports must be made available for young children regardless of eligibility for the NDIS. For those that are eligible, response times for supports and plans needs to be much quicker, and there should be more support for early childhood providers.
- An integrated early intervention model needs to be introduced to make sure no child who needs early intervention misses out on support even if they aren’t eligible for the NDIS.
- An investigation into how well carers are supported and have access to respite services.
- Carer needs should be acknowledged as a mandatory part of the NDIS planning process.
- The lines between the NDIS and the healthcare system need to be made clear to people with disability, their families, carers, and service providers.
- More investment must be made into services and supports for people who are not eligible for the NDIS.
- A bigger focus on disability services in regional, rural and remote areas.
- Advocacy organisations should receive ongoing funding and support beyond 2020.
We’re glad to see that the Council seems to be on the same page as us when it comes to what needs to be done. But while we welcome these recommendations, the biggest challenge still lies ahead.
The NSW Government needs to take these recommendations on board and then take action to roll them out (and it would be great if other state governments took the hint too).
This will be the most important part of the process, so we’ll be keeping the pressure on to make sure it does happen, and it happens in a way that benefits all of us.
And we hope you’ll join us.