By REBEKAH DEVLIN
The state of the NDIS became a key election issue for many individuals and families, with rallies taking place across the country to #DefendourNDIS. So what changes can we expect under the Albanese government?
“Two words summarise Labor’s approach – restore trust,” says new Minister for the NDIS, Bill Shorten. “You are going to get a lot more empathy and a lot more interest in your perspective.” In the week before the election, Source Kids hosted a Facebook Live Q+A with Mr Shorten and a range of panellists representing Autism Awareness Australia, Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Syndromes Without a Name (SWAN), Epilepsy Action Australia and Down Syndrome Australia.
In a broad-ranging discussion, Mr Shorten outlined what changes a Labor government would make to the NDIS, they include:
• Better access to NDIS: for First Nations peoples. • “Getting the plans right” – and ensuring the review processes are transparent.
• Longer NDIS plans for those who want them. • Offering Family Plans for those with multiple NDIS participants in the one family.
• Lifting the staff cap at the NDIA – “we want to have more humans in the system and less robo-planning”.
• Creating a National Disability Strategy. • Involving people with disability, and the people around them, in co-design. • Establishing a $15 million fund for research.
• $1million to fund a National Autism Strategy.
• $2 million to fund an Autism Cooperative Research Centre – “without research nothing else can really work effectively”.• Lifting the age cap for people seeking an autism assessment from 13 to 25-years-old – “so that young adults can receive a diagnosis and support”.
• Doubling advocacy funding.
• Tackling waiting lists in hospitals and aged care for those who have been approved for NDIS accommodation, but haven’t received it.
• “Triaging” the Administrative Appeals Tribunal backlog and looking to settle claims.
• Ensuring the states “lift their game in terms of education and other services that they’re meant to provide”.
• Rapidly dealing with the long list of requests for home modifications and assistive technology. • Dispensing with the “use it or lose it” aspect of plans.
• Examining the COVID-readiness response – “because we are not out of the shadow of the pandemic and I feel that people with disability, and the people who love them, were at the back of the queue and not at the front, where they belong.”
“These are all real things. We have a 100-day plan that we want to unveil,” Mr Shorten told the panellists and Source community watching live. “The NDIS has become a bureaucratic nightmare – people have either received unfair cuts to their packages, or if you haven’t, you worry that you will. “So either way, there’s a lot of anxiety in the system. “I think it’s insulting the way families are told that some matters are ‘parental responsibilities’. You don’t need me to ever tell you what your responsibilities are. “I promise to try and eliminate that sort of insulting response.”
MISSED THE BILL SHORTEN Q+A?
You can watch it now, click HERE