Labor and Liberal Governments commit to a better NDIS

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Posted 6 months ago by Nicole Pope

Labor and Liberal Government announced their plans to better support people with disability if elected [Source: Shutterstock]
Labor and Liberal Government announced their plans to better support people with disability if elected [Source: Shutterstock]

The Morrison Government has announced a plan to improve the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and continue to support its roll out if reelected at the Federal Election on 18 May.

In the plan the Government promises to work on, a fully funded NDIS, a single point of contact for people with disability with the NDIS, the option to extend an NDIS plan to up to 3 years if their disability is stable, expansion of the NDIS community connectors program to support and assist hard to reach communities and a shorter time frames to receive an NDIS plan.

By introducing a new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee from 1 July 2020, people with disability will experience shorter time frames in obtaining a NDIS plan and having it reviewed, with a strong focus on children as well as participants requiring specialist disability accommodation and assistive technology.

The Government will also…

  • commit $45 million to developing a national disability information gateway, including a website and 1800 number,

  • introduce a new 7 percent employment target for people with disability across the Australian Public Service (APS) by 2025

  • invest $2 million to support people with autism in finding and maintaining employment

  • provide $1.5 million to expand the successful Dandelion Program

Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher says it is important to get the NDIS right.

“The Morrison Government proudly supports the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which is transforming the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.

“We understand that people with disability want to participate fully in the social and economic life of our community.

“We recognise that such participation is good for them, good for their families and good for the nation.

“If people with disability want to work, we will support them to find and keep a job.

“Keeping the economy strong is vital. It is only by building a stronger economy that we can guarantee the essential services that people with disability, their families and carers rely on and deliver them the jobs they deserve.”

Mr Fletcher says the Government will be implementing these initiatives in close consultation with people with disability, their families, carers and supporters.

People with Disability Australia released a statement, welcoming the Coalition’s announcement but suggesting some further improvements.

The organisation welcomes the Government’s commitment to longer plans, a single point of contact for the NDIS and set employment target.

“We welcome the options for longer 3-year plans for those who need this, and specific service standards to ensure children with disability are provided with immediate support.

“The NDIA must be a leader in the employment of people with disability and we have called for a target of 51 percent across all levels, including in senior leadership roles.

“But targets are not enough without a comprehensive national jobs strategy to address the low employment rates of people with disability across the APS.

“We called for a National Jobs Plan that will provide practical tools for identifying and addressing systemic and structural barriers we face in finding and keeping a job and development of comprehensive strategies for increasing workforce participation in mainstream employment.

“We would like to have seen greater detail on what the Coalition plans to do to link the National Disability Strategy to a new National Disability Agreement as was recommended by the Productivity Commission,” the statement reads.

Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister Linda Burney unveiled how the Labor Government will go about improving the NDIS, as a priority if elected to Government, with ten policy positions:

  1. Putting people with disability first with a focus on an insurance approach which assumes that funding is provided early to support people not to have to rely on more expensive supports later in life

  2. Establishing an NDIS Reserve Fund with the intention of ensuring the Scheme’s funding is consistent, and any peaks or troughs in funding are smoothed out  

  3. More and better trained staff, and the removal of the head count cap on the NDIA

  4. Improvements to planning, identification and access to the right supports for people with disability

  5. Greater and more equitable access to the NDIS, with approaches that take account of local and cultural realities

  6. A promise to fix the gaps between the NDIS and mainstream services under a new National Disability Agreement

  7. A commitment to a skilled disability workforce, which NDS has called for, through a considered National Workforce Strategy

  8. A boost to advocacy and keeping people with disability safe.

  9. Achieving a strong disability services sector, a policy which will require significant new funding for the sector to support its future development and growth, to meet demand for quality, innovative services

  10. Improving research and evaluation support, a policy which NDS considers must be underpinning by data in a form that enables providers to make better business decisions.

Provider peak body National Disability Services (NDS) welcomes both Government’s support for people with disability.

“NDS looks forward to the release of the disability policy positions by the other major parties so we can consider them as a peak body and as a sector, prior to the Federal Election on 18 May,” Acting Chief Executive Officer of NDS David Moody says.

He says disability service providers remain 100 percent committed to making the Scheme work and believe it is the right reform for Australia.

“Our focus as the peak body for the not-for-profit, disability service providers has been to get the NDIS on track.

“We are calling on any future Federal Government to do this in a collaborative way; working with us, people with disability, disability advocacy groups, other Governments, and the National Disability Insurance Agency.

“Together we can make the NDIS deliver on its promise,” he says.

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