The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council (the Council) – March 2020
Summary -18 March 2020
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Disability Reform Council (the Council) met by telepresence today.
The meeting discussed a national response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, particularly its potential impact on people with disability and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The Council acknowledged that COVID-19 presents a significant and unprecedented challenge for people with disability, the people who care for them and the disability sector as a whole. The Council noted many concerns in the full communique here.
The Council considered the steps being taken jointly by the Department of Social Services, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission), working with the Department of Health and states and territories, to respond to COVID-19.
The Council agreed on the following priorities:
- Ensure appropriate consideration is given to people with disability and the disability services sector in the health response, including access to telehealth, infection control training and personal protective equipment.
- Ensure the ongoing delivery of core NDIA service delivery as part of the NDIA’s Pandemic Plan, including the shift from face-to-face planning to telephone planning, and the redirecting of NDIA staff and partners to priority service delivery roles that support participants in response to COVID-19.
- Ensure the continuation of services to NDIS participants through the extension and increased flexibility of NDIS plans where necessary so that the NDIA can focus on reviewing plans that may require amendment in response to the impact of COVID-19.
- Ensure appropriate plans are in place to respond to any workforce shortages that may arise as a result of COVID-19.
- Ensure providers are supported to remain viable during the period of impact of COVID-19 and beyond.
The Council noted specific measures to respond to these priorities will be finalised in coming days
and communicated directly to NDIS participants, their carers and providers.
The Council noted the importance of regular and consistent communication with NDIS participants, their carers and providers.
The Council agreed this communication would be led by the NDIA through its website at www.ndis.gov.au and via Facebook and Twitter, and through regular alerts, information and training resources to NDIS providers from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission through its website at www.ndiscommission.gov.au .
If NDIS participants or their carers have questions or require advice, they can also contact the NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110.