Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme Participant Experience in Rural, Regional and Remote Australia and commends the Australian Government on its commitment to improving participant experiences of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). As the Committee is aware, the experiences of participants in rural, regional, and remote areas are significantly impacted by issues relating to the availability, responsiveness, consistency, and effectiveness of both the NDIS and providers in the market.

For participants of the NDIS, access to quality supports and services underpins the realisation of several fundamental human rights, including the right to full and effective participation and inclusion in the community, as set out in Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Article 9 of the CRPD also provides for the right of people with disabilities to have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications, and other facilities and services – both in urban and in rural areas.

The NDIS has a critical role in providing funded, individualised support and services to people with disabilities across Australia. The NDIS aims to enhance quality of life, independence, and access to community – yet it is failing distinct cohorts of people, including those living in rural, regional, and remote areas. Geographical barriers, thin markets and a lack of infrastructure often result in limited access to essential services and support, posing significant challenges in relation to the availability, accessibility, diversity, quality, and safety of supports and services.