News | 17 October 2016

Doors must not be closed for people with disability

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What’s happened?

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has said that because the previously agreed target of 5075 NDIS participants was reached on September 30, no new participants will be accepted until a further agreement between the Commonwealth and ACT governments is reached after the ACT election (on October 15).

It appears the ACT Government and the Federal Government are arguing about who will fund the extra participants.

What do the governments say?

The Federal Government says the ACT underestimated the number of participants that would be eligible for the NDIS when the bilateral agreement was signed by the ACT and Commonwealth in 2012.

Federal Social Services Minister Christian told the ABC that participant planning sessions are continuing while we await the outcome of the ACT election [Saturday, October 15].

And he told The Australian newspaper:

“The NDIS is not a capped program and so, following the ACT election, governments will agree arrangements for bringing in additional participants. The financial impacts of any additional entrants will need to be negotiated with the ACT after their election.”

However, Director-general of the ACT Community Services Directorate Michael De’Ath told the ABC the ACT NDIS bilateral agreement outlines a target of 5,075 ACT participants “with the clear understanding that the Commonwealth Government accepts the full cost for any participants beyond this figure”.

What does every Australian Counts say?

Every Australian Counts Campaign Director John Della Bosca said both governments have had three years to address the issue and the situation must be resolved immediately.

“The NDIS is a promise of better supports and more certainty for people with disability and their families.”

“This news strikes fear for those living in the ACT who have not yet transitioned to the NDIS as they face a wait without an end in sight.”

“Until new funding arrangements are agreed, new NDIS participants will only be approved as others exit the scheme with priority then given to people living in crisis.

“The NDIS was to end the waiting lists and allow people services and supports to avoid crises. This result is simply not good enough.

“The NDIS has now been operational in the ACT for over three years. There has been time for governments to better understand the number of NDIS eligible people living in the ACT and for supplementary agreements to be arranged.”

“Our decision makers must resolve this immediately. The needs of many people with disability are counting on them.”

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