The Genesis of the NDIS: Bringing Competing Agendas Together – Pro Bono Australia

Extract from an article by Rhonda Galbally

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is undoubtedly one of the biggest social policy reforms Australia has ever seen – a once-in-a-generation reform alongside Medicare and national superannuation.

In delivering the Sambell Oration, I’m going to explore where we have come from to achieve this profound change and the journey it took to get here. I hope that this reflection will make it possible to understand the genesis of competing agendas that still impact on the NDIS to this day.

Disability – a part of life like getting sick and growing old

People become disabled from many causes: from accidents – road, sporting, working, playing – and going about day-to-day living in a house, on a footpath, in a hospital. And people become disabled from being born… So like being born, getting old and dying, disability is part of life.

Disability, like sickness, is universal – and like Medicare, the NDIS is a universal scheme that covers every Australian under 65 no matter what the cause of their disability. For those like me, who were over 65 before the NDIS commenced, the aged care system takes over.

But for those aged 13 months – the age I was when I became disabled – only 4 per cent are disabled. I became disabled in 1949 – just toddling enough to fly down the footpath into my dad’s arms as soon as I heard the gate creak signaling his return from work. I had only a couple of words at that age and one of them was ‘Daddy’: a word I would shriek with excitement at the sound of him out the front.

Polio was stalking our neighbourhood: a couple of other kids in the street were struck down with what was then seen as a precursor to the grim reaper. Later, the image in my mind was of a skull-like figure haphazardly knocking down first the Hope children down the road and then, some weeks later, me..(continues)

SOURCE: Rhonda Galbally, “The Genesis of the NDIS: Bringing Competing Agendas Together”, Pro Bono Australia, 06 Dec 2016

Link to full article

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