A final report by the Productivity Commission on the National Disability Agreement (NDA) has found the agreement is outdated, fails to reflect current policy landscapes and lacks clarity of who is responsible for a number of disability services and supports.
The agreement between local, state, territory and federal governments aims to enhance the quality of life for people with disability, their families and carers by promoting cooperation, clarifying roles and responsibilities and enhancing accountability.
However, if the Productivity Commission’s final report is anything to go by, a new National Disability Agreement is required.
The report recognises a lack of clarity about who is responsible for advocacy services, community and inclusion programs, carer services and psychosocial disability support.
Recommendations outlined in the report include a new National Disability Agreement that covers all people with disability, their families and carers, meets the needs, rights and aspirations of people with disability and unifies and guides all aspects of Australia’s disability policy while reflecting the role of the National Disability Strategy and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The report also highlights a need for the government to commit to accessible and inclusive mainstream and specialised services, clarification of responsibilities, strengthening of performance reporting, evaluation of what works and the publication of a National Disability Report every two years.
Co-Chief Executive Officer of People with Disability Australia (PWDA), Therese Sands says the report signifies an opportunity for all levels of government to take action.
“We warmly welcome the Productivity Commission's findings that a new National Disability Agreement is needed now to make sure that every person with disability can have access to an equal, ordinary life.”
“People with disability are sick of the gaps in services, programs and infrastructure delivered by different levels of government and a new NDA will work to end the blame game.”
Ms Sands says PWDA also welcome calls to link the new NDA directly to the goals of the National Disability Strategy and NDIS.
“A new and significantly redeveloped NDA can ensure that all people with disability in Australia can access and fully in all aspects of community life.”
Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher says he recognises the changes in the disability policy landscape since the NDA was first signed in 2008 and the findings from the report will inform the design of a new NDA beyond 2020.
“The Australian Government will continue to work with all governments, people with disability and the disability sector to consider the findings and recommendations of the Report as we develop a new strategy,” he says.
“With one-in-five Australians living with disability, it is crucial for governments to work together to help people with disability take control of their lives and have equal access and opportunity.”
Public consultation for a new NDA will begin later this year.
You can read the full Productivity Commission’s review of the NDA here.