Disability advocates today delivered new NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds a formal ‘terms of engagement’ in a bid to reset relations between the NDIA and people with disability, their families and community.
Australia’s major disability representative and disabled persons organisations have been increasingly concerned that the NDIS is changing in order to slash costs – rather than continue the investment in individualised services and supports for people with disability.
This is an opportunity for the new minister to build a new model of engagement with people with disability based on mutual respect and common sense of purpose. Without this commitment it is difficult to see how people with disability and the disability community can continue to work productively with the NDIA.
Mary Sayers, CEO of Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) on behalf of the group of disability advocates, said that this is a pivotal point in the development of the world-leading NDIS.
“This is a truly defining moment for Minister Linda Reynolds. It will determine how willing she is to engage in real consultation with us on behalf of over 430,000 people with disability who use the NDIS and their families.
“The NDIS is a critical piece of Australia’s social infrastructure, like Medicare. The success of the NDIS should be defined by how well it supports people with disability.
“People with disability, our families and community will continue to speak up against these changes, but we need a reset in this relationship. The flawed and widely criticised plan to introduce NDIS compulsory assessments shows what happens when people with disability and their representative organisations are not involved. We are deeply concerned that this is a giant leap backwards with processes in place that are unreliable and unethical.
“We are asking for the Minister to stop, rebuild trust and respond to our concerns. The time is now,” she said.
A way forward for the NDIS: Terms of Engagement with the disability community
This is the opportunity for the government and the disability community to reset the relationship to build a better National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for all Australians.
- The NDIS is a critical piece of Australia’s social infrastructure, like Medicare.
- Operating to its founding principles the NDIS saves costs to government and delivers social and economic dividends for Australia.
- We all share the risks and rewards of the NDIS so its ongoing development must be collaborative with people with disability, our families and our community.
Our 5 Terms of Engagement
1.People with disability must be at the centre of decision-making as partners in the NDIS.
2. People with disability must be represented in NDIS governance, in the leadership of the National Disability Insurance Agency, and in the delivery of the NDIS.
3.Engagement must be honest, transparent and respectful.
4. Changes to the NDIS need to be co-produced in collaboration with people with disability, our families and our representative organisations.
5. Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities underpin engagement.
What needs to happen next
- Stop all proposed changes to NDIS access and planning.
- Government commits to these Terms of Engagement and work with us to develop action plan to improve the NDIS for all Australians.
- Immediately review and strengthen the governance of the NDIS – including the accountability of the NDIA.