What is Every Australian Counts?
Every Australian Counts is the grassroots campaign that fought for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and won. EAC is made up of hundreds of thousands of people with disability, families, carers, and those who work to support them who have come together to fight for a fair go for people with disability in Australia.
The campaign was officially launched in 2011. Just two years later in July 2013 the National Disability Insurance Scheme started in a small number of locations. It has now been rolled out across Australia. By the end of 2023, 573,342 people with disability are now getting the support they need to live the life they choose.
Every Australian Counts didn’t end with the introduction of the NDIS. The campaign continues to fight to make sure the NDIS delivers on its promise to people with disability.
Who is behind the campaign?
Hundreds of thousands of Australians, made up of people with disability, families, carers, people who work in the disability sector, friends and supporters.
The National Disability & Carer Alliance
Formed in 2009, the National Disability & Carer Alliance was the group behind Every Australian Counts up until early 2022. The “Alliance” was made up of:
- National Disability Services (NDS) – the peak body for specialist disability service providers;
- Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) – the peak body for organisations representing people with disability;
- Carers Australia – the peak body for families and carers;
- Mental Health Australia – the peak body for people with mental illness.
The EAC Steering Committee
Over 2021 and into 2022, the “Alliance” worked towards developing a strategy for EAC to become an independent entity in its own right. This would mean that the EAC could ultimately maintain its own Board or Committee of Management and continue to independently ensure that the NDIS continues to deliver on its promise for people with disability, their families, and supporters. In addition to this, EAC would operate financially independently, able to raise and spend its own funds. This will not be achieved without EAC retaining its strong commitment to and input from its “grass-roots” supporters, just like you!
The ”Alliance” established agreed Terms of Reference for the initial operation of an EAC Steering Committee. This will work towards the development, formation, and establishment of an independent EAC entity.
The first part of the Steering Committee has been completed with the appointment of an independent chair and representatives from members from the “Alliance”, being National Disability Services and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, remaining to oversee the work and to continue involvement once the independent entity is established over 2023/2024.
Our independent chair
Dr George Taleporos is well known to the disability sector. He has a PhD in psychology with honours in sociology and over 20 years’ experience advocating for disability rights and self-directed supports. He has been actively involved in the Every Australian Counts campaign since it was established, and was recently appointed as the independent chair. He is an NDIS participant, a member of the NDIS Independent Advisory Council, a non-Executive Director of a registered NDIS provider InLife, chair of the Mabel Independent Advisory Council and secretary for the Self Manager Hub. He currently works as a Senior NDIS analyst and communications producer at the Summer Foundation, where he hosts and produces a fortnightly podcast series about the NDIS, called ‘Reasonable and Necessary’.
In 2018, seven spokespeople became our Every Australian Counts Champions. Lynne Foreman, Peter and Linda Tully, Ben Paior-Smith, Carleeta Manser, Chris Riordan, and Terri Warner are people with disability from all over Australia, who represent our community to whoever they meet – members of parliament, community leaders, or the media.
The journey so far
For years people with disability struggled with little or no support. We had to rely on family, friends, or charity, or go without. It was hard to get a good education or find a job or just be included. And for a long time it looked like things would never change.
The big idea that changed everything
In 2008 people started talking about an idea that would change everything: the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The idea was simple – create a national system with enough funding to provide tailored, individual support. No more missing out, no more waiting lists, no more “one size fits all”.
What we did
We all knew the NDIS was the way to go, but we had to convince Australia. So in 2011 Every Australian Counts was born. In just two short years we amassed hundreds of thousands of supporters from our community and beyond. Together we showed Australia why we needed the NDIS.
Where we are now
The NDIS opened its doors in 2013 with trials in a few areas. In 2016 the rest of the country started rolling in. But we didn’t stop – because we didn’t think the job was finished yet. We kept building our community and kept pushing to make sure the NDIS delivered on its promise to people with disability.
The NDIS is making a big difference to lots of lives. People are finally getting the support they need. But the NDIS isn’t working well for everyone – that needs to change. We also need to make sure funding for the NDIS is secure – now and into the future.
We still need your help to make sure the NDIS is the best it can be. You can sign up for updates or take action now and join the fight.