NDIS must have full, bipartisan support

12th Nov 2013

The Australian Lawyers Alliance is today stressing the importance of the National Disability Insurance Scheme being given full affordable and sustainable support from both sides of government to ensure it delivers the expectations of the community.

“Something as important as the NDIS must not just be implemented, but be implemented in such a way as to guarantee that it successfully and dramatically improves the health outcomes and quality of life for those with a disability,” ALA National President, Geraldine Collins, said today.

“This is the rightful demand from the community that continues to echo throughout public debate, but doesn’t appear to be given adequate attention from those in power when it comes to the detail of delivery,” Ms Collins said.

“Ultimate questions still exist on affordability of the scheme and hence its sustainability as well as the processes of good government by the National Disability Agency that will be overseeing the scheme.

The last thing anyone wants is for the rights of those with a disability to, through bad governance, be unwittingly undermined in some way.

Continuing vigilance over, and willingness to analyse scheme design is essential to good policy outcomes,” she said.

Ms Collins said haste for political purposes generally ran counter to good policy, and the ALA had long expressed concerns about the ambitious Productivity Commission time frame being accelerated ahead a year by the previous government.

“That the ‘trial’ sites became ‘launch’ sites points to the former government seeking to lock in scheme design without proof of concept.

We have much to learn from the trial sites, and those lessons should be learned in a measured way, and should inform future directions on scheme design.

The ALA remains worried about the NDIS spawning a huge bureaucracy, overlapping with Centrelink, Medicare and several state and territory systems.

Federal governments have poor track records of delivering services at the coalface, and many states rightly fear that ceding power in the disability sector will be ‘throwing the baby out with bathwater’,” she said.

Ms Collins said profound difficulties existed with workforce infrastructure. This was about delivering services to those with disabilities, but even the early indications out of the trial sites were that there was a lack of skilled people with the appropriate experience to service needs.

“This problem was inadequately addressed by the Productivity Commission and is a generational issue incapable of remediation in the next few years.

ALA believes in investing in good outcomes, and anything which improves outcome sustainably is welcomed, including shining a light on where we’re at now,” Ms Collins said.

What the community is entitled to, and what good sense demands, is that those with a disability are guaranteed delivery of better services and quality of life through a scheme that is sustainable, has strong accountability and transparency of its processes and that ultimately delivers expectations,” she said.

Tags: Disability NDIS