The NDIS in 2016: A tough year in disability – Fundraising & Philanthropy Australia

ndisExtract from an article by Fran Connelley delves into the difficulties involved in implementing the fraught National Disability Insurance Scheme – for all stakeholders.

In the 11 months since I released my book, How to Thrive under the NDIS, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has become a political minefield.

To say it’s been a tough year for everyone in the sector is an understatement. Earlier this year providers were left unpaid by the new MyPlace portal. People were unable to access services. Some parents were harassed by debt collectors.

In October, founding Chair Bruce Bonyhady was replaced and the Minister, Christian Porter, announced a shakeup of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) board. New headlines concerning implementation ‘glitches’, payment delays and the surge in new autism participants are appearing weekly.

This week, a Geelong family represented by Victoria Legal Aid, is taking the NDIA to court to challenge its decision to only partially fund their son’s transport costs. It’s the first time a package will be tested in the federal court.

So it’s time to step back and take stock of things.

The scale of the NDIS

The NDIS is the most significant social reform since the introduction of Medicare. Decades of block funding had created an unfair, inefficient and outdated sector characterised by lengthy delays in essential equipment and heavy administrative costs. The system wasn’t working.

The NDIS redirects funding away from the organisation and distributes it directly to people with disabilities. Sector spending is planned to increase from $7 billion to $22 billion by 2020 while the number of people supported will increase from 220,000 to 460,000.

This is visionary stuff. The NDIS is a universal insurance scheme framed around the rights of people with disability to exercise ‘choice and control’ over their supports.

A tough year

By September 2016, the NDIA had committed $3.3 billion and 37,721 people had received approved packages.

In its first two months, the NDIA received over 2,000 complaints about the ICT system and within a few months the Federal Government had initiated independent reviews into the viability of the scheme. One review by PwC Australia found the NDIS was: under resourced and under prepared.

SOURCE: Connelley, Fran. “The NDIS in 2016: a tough year in disability.” Fundraising & Philanthropy Australia, 12 December 2016.

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