News | 13 November 2022

In case you missed it: EAC and the NDIS Review’s online Q&A

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A laptop, showing Jean's view while hosting the NDIS Review webinar. The screen isn't clear but you can see Dougie speaking next to an Auslan interpreter, some text, and our host Jean in a little video box, as well as questions viewers were submitting.

What even is this NDIS Review?

What’s the deal? What’s it all about? Who’s involved? Why another review/inquiry/whatever? How is this different? Who’s involved? And please – tell us we don’t have to write even more submissions saying the same things we’ve all been saying to other inquiries for years….?

We didn’t get much time to put that all together – so if you missed it you can catch it all below in the video recording or transcript.

So if you’d like to hear the questions people asked, and what the NDIS Minister Bill Shorten, and Bruce, Lisa, Dougie and Kirsten from the NDIS Review panel said you can watch or listen to the video below or check out the transcript.

So how can you make sure the NDIS Review hears from you?

There are a couple of different ways, and many more in the works.

But for now, to keep it simple:

You can check out the NDIS Review website to:

  • Get the latest news and info
  • join their email list
  • use their contact form

Or, if you’d like to get involved right here via EAC there are also a few options:




Hi, everybody, welcome.

I think I’ll just wait a few more seconds before we get started to make sure that we’ve given people time to connect.

I can see we’ve already got people have joined us and it’s growing very quickly.

Thanks, everyone.

Thank you very much for joining us today, especially because we haven’t given you very much notice.

It’s really encouraging and pleasing to see so many people, you know, really keen to engage in this very exciting new process that will make a really big difference to the future of the NDIS.

With that being said, I’ll – we should be good to go now.

Thank you.

Before we get started, I would like to acknowledge that I am on the lands of the Ngunnawal people today here in Canberra and in the spirit of recognition, we acknowledge the traditional custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community and I’d also like to pay respects to elders past and present and extend that to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are with us here virtually today.

I’d also like to acknowledge all of the people with disability, family members and supporters who have worked really, really hard over very many years and decades to bring us to this exact moment in time.

We’re almost years in and this review is going to give us a really important … it’s just a really important moment.

As you’ll hear this afternoon, it won’t work and it cannot happen without all of you.

So thank you.

Before we get into it much more, I just wanted to let everybody know that we have two AUSLAN interpreters here with us today and for those of you watching online, you should see that we have one-at-a-time pinned to the screen so they’re visible at all time, but will take it in turns so they get to have a rest.

I also need to remind myself not to speak too quickly and also for our other speakers to not speak too quickly, because it’s hard work, AUSLAN interpreting.

We also have captioners.

So if you would like to have captions open, there are two options.

There should be a button in the bottom left corner of your screen that says “CC” and that will open them up and you can change the appearance of them.

But we also have the link in the Q&A section which is a bit like chat which allows you to open the captions up in a separate browser window.

If you have any tech or accessibility problems, please use that Q&A function similar to chat and the good people here, who are helping with this at the NDIS Review team with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will do what they can to help you out.

So hopefully I have covered all of the housekeeping.

So the purpose of today is to put as many people with disability, family members, workers, advocates, stakeholders in the same virtual space as the minister for the NDIS and the new NDIS Review chairs and panel.

As well as the people involved behind the scenes so that they can explain things to all of you and so that you can ask some questions and find out more, and this is … we’re really pleased that every Australian has been invited to help with this part, this very first step.

It’s a demonstration, I think, of the sincere commitment to make sure that people with disability and families and supporters are genuine partners in this review.

If you haven’t already, there has been a form on the Every Australian Counts website where we have received questions and comments from very many people in our community, also on social media.

But we are also inviting you to use the question and answer function in this Webex to send through your questions and we will do our best this afternoon to get through as many as we can from the pre-submitted questions, but also the questions that are coming through from you now.

Don’t worry that once you put your question in, you won’t be able to see it in the same way that you can in a Zoom, but it will be visible to those of us behind the scenes.

Please don’t let that discourage you.

That’s probably enough from me.

I think you’re all keen to hear from our new-ish minister for the NDIS Minister Bill Shorten.

Over to you, Minister.


Thank you, Jean.

Let me just say to everyone that I am really excited about the process of change that we’re on.

I’m going to talk a little bit more about that and then hand over to the chairs and the panellists and answer questions.

But first of all I’d just like to acknowledge that wherever we are, we meet on Aboriginal land and I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.

I also want to thank everyone who’s made the effort to be here and I know I got one email saying that we need to be on Zoom as well as Webex.

We will make sure we do everything we possibly can to engage people.

Thanks to Frank who sent me that message this morning.

Well, it’s years on almost since the foundation of the NDIS and their first trial areas.

The scheme was due to be reviewed at the -year mark as part of our election policies before the last election, we said we would bring forward that review.

That’s really what’s triggered today’s session or discussion.

I won’t try and summarise years in seconds, suffice to say that for some people, for many people hopefully, the development of the scheme has been a positive proposition and experience.

At the very least, the fact that with so much unmet need has emerged in the last nine-plus years shows the need for this scheme.

But there has been too many negative experiences, in my opinion.

Too much red tape, too much where the NDIS participating in it, doing the forms becomes like a second full-time job.

There was the terribly shocking proposal by my predecessors in government to introduce just rampant unfair cuts to the scheme and cuts to people’s packages and the vehicle, the trojan horse, of independent assessments.

So there has been lots of negatives as well and we want to rebuild trust.

Part of rebuilding trust we have already started to do in the last three -plus months.

We’ve got a new chair of the scheme, the first person with lived experience, with disability, Kurt Fearnley, a remarkable Australian.

We’ve got a new CEO of the scheme, Rebecca Forkingham, new board members.

What we’re also doing is tackling some of the hard issues, getting people with disability who are stuck in hospitals, even though they’re eligible for discharge, because the system hasn’t been quick enough to try and help out their plans and hopes and dreams.

We’re also tackling the legacy court cases, all those people who had to go to the AAT, many of whom for decisions which they should never have had to go to court to maintain what they had.

So we’re tackling those legacy cases.

Part of rebuilding trust isn’t just that.

Part of rebuilding trust has also been making sure that we passed on the payments, the increased payments, for disability support workers in the beginning of July with the price increases to the NDIS.

We know the scheme can’t survive without making sure that the people who work in it are appropriately and fairly remunerated.

So we’ve been doing a fair bit, but this review is another step towards us rebuilding trust.

This review is incredibly important.

You see, even in the business media today and yesterday a lot of discussion about the scheme and its sustainability, but sometimes by people who don’t look … they perhaps look at the scheme through too narrow a lens.

We want to use the review to change how we view the scheme.

Of course we want to stop waste and stupidity and, you know, inappropriate invoicing and all of that.

I think we can and should.

But what we want to do is change the view of the scheme from being a series of line items to viewing it as an investment.

I grind every time I get asked in the media about cost when they never ask about benefits.

It’s a legitimate discussion to make sure taxpayer money is being used appropriately and no-one disagrees with that.

But I think we also need to use this review to look at how we use the scheme to invest in people.

That’s an important part of what’s motivating me.

Now, with the review I just want to say to people who have gone, “Oh my Lord, not another review. We’ve submitted to this and been consulted on that and nothing ever happens. We know what needs to be done. Why do you need to review it?”

I just want to say to people who might have those views that we’re not starting from scratch.

It’s not a blank sheet of paper.

I, and the government, appreciate that a lot of the solutions have already been identified, they just haven’t been acted on.

So we want to look at what’s been done in the past.

That should also mean for people who want to contribute to the review that you don’t have to write lengthy, viable length submissions.

I don’t want people to have fatigue about it.

I want them to have a sense of positivity.

Not only is that an important part of the view, but I think the most fundamental part of the review is co design.

I think too much of what’s happened in disability in recent years has been the re-emergence of, for want of a better term, paternalism, we will do things to people, not with people and not allow people to be empowered to make decisions.

The whole spirit of the scheme is about empowering people, giving them agency in their own lives.

The whole point of the scheme is to provide hope and to look at the outcomes that people want, the right to an ordinary life, for example so co design is a fundamental part of this review process.

No doubt we will talk more about what that means.

We’ve got months, but obviously there’s things which we note that are known by the disability community and the disability world now and where the review and myself and the state ministers seek see consensus emerge, we don’t have to wait months to change some of the things which really frustrate people in the scheme.

There will be a massive engagement process and I will let others doing the review talk more about it.

But in summary, this is how we get the scheme back on track.

This is how we deal with the challenges of, you know, the growth trajectory.

But fundamentally it is about reorienting how we run the scheme to being a co-designed scheme, an optimistic experience for participants where we focus on investing in people to give them their best outcomes in life.

So, Jean, you know I thank you for what you’re doing.

I look forward to the collaboration.

Together we can make this the best scheme in the world.

We’re certainly not at that point yet.

But this is something we do together.

To be honest, I’m pretty excited.


Thanks, Minister.

I’m excited too.

It’s a relief to hear many of the things that both yourself and members of the review team have been saying.

I think particularly that people don’t have to tell their whole stories all over again, but I will not say too much more and let the panel members speak for themselves directly to you about it.

Just before that, for anybody who missed it, this review was announced by the Minister on Tuesday this week.

Basically it’s an independent panel, a group, for lack of a better word, of … it has two co-chairs.

We have Professor Bruce Bonyhady who many of you will be familiar with as the inaugural chair of the NDIA and one of the original architects of the scheme and Ms Lisa Paul who some of you will not know very well, but you will soon, and we’ve got five other panel members, Ms Judy Brewer, Dr Stephen King, who unfortunately can’t be with us here today for personal reasons, Mr Kevin Cox, who I think maybe we don’t have online.

And a couple of very familiar faces I imagine, especially to the Every Australian Counts community, Dougie Herd and Kirstin Deane, our excellent former campaign director, so welcome to you all.

Thank you very much for being here and being ready to hear from people and hopefully get to say something too.

For now, I would like to introduce co-chair Ms Lisa Paul.

Over to you, Lisa.


Thank you very much, Jean.

I just wanted to say, Jean, that this occasion, this webinar, through Every Australian Counts, is actually the first kind of formal gig we’ve done as a review panel.

So this goes to show, you know, that we really, really, really want people with a disability and their carers and families to be the centre of the review.

So I do feel really honoured that the Minister has asked me to co-chair this review.

He’s been a champion of people with disability for longer than I can remember.

I feel really quite humbled to work with you, Bruce.

Without Bruce, the scheme wouldn’t even exist.

As the first chair of the agency, you know, I think you can take a lot of pride in a lot of the early achievements.

We do know that the scheme needs to improve.

So the review will make people with disability, their carers and families the centre of the review.

You know, this amazing panel, they know, like you do, what needs to change in the NDIS because they’ve been saying so for years and years and years.

Like the Minister said, we will not be reinventing the wheel.

We will look carefully at everything that’s been said before and everything you’ve said before and then build on that with you.

So we hope that by working with you we can make the scheme simpler, fairer, more predictable.

You know, I really hope, in my heart, that we can get the scheme to a point where a person with a disability, or the parent or carer, can have absolute confidence that everything will be absolutely fine when the carer or parent is no longer around.

I would love us dearly to rebuild trust in the scheme and confidence and pride.

You know, not just amongst participants, but for all Australians.

Now, we are going to work … we’ve committed to work closely with people who are poorly served by the scheme.

So we’re going to work really closely, for example, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their representative organisations and with people whose first language isn’t English and their organisations.

And also work closely with rural and regional and remote communities.

We want to get back to the original intent of the scheme, which is about independence, you know.

Whether that means getting the supports that the scheme offers or getting a job or getting accommodation, you know, we want to focus on what outcomes the scheme is getting as well.

We actually want to sit down with workers in the scheme and their employers because, you know, let’s face it, they need to be responsible for services that are safe, services that are consistent and appropriate and affordable.

We do feel a great sense of responsibility, don’t we?

I will hand over to you, Bruce.

Maybe I’m handing back to Jean, I’m not sure.


Thanks, Lisa.

Thank you so much.

I’m very happy for us to jump over to Bruce now.

Thanks, Bruce.


Thank you, Jean.

Can I just say how delighted I am to be here today with you.

You are the group of people who have been at the forefront in recent years of defending the NDIS.

Now what I hope is that you will be at the forefront of people who are going to help us ensure that the scheme lives up to its original intent.

So you’ll make the shift from playing defence to playing offence, you know.

So we can make this scheme the best disability scheme in the world We really want to know your thoughts, your ideas about what’s going to work, what has worked in the past, what hasn’t worked in the past, but most importantly what’s going to work for the future.

So Lisa and I are in Perth today because we’re going to attend the Disability Reform Minister’s meeting that’s being held tomorrow.

We’ve begun today in exactly the way we are going to continue, which is we have been meeting with the disability community, particularly people with disability here in Perth, because we want to know from them what issues they’ve faced and their ideas about what needs to happen now to ensure that the scheme delivers for all people with disability.

How we reach out to those people who haven’t been heard in those remote communities, those people with very complex support needs, people with intellectual disability, people with communication challenges, we really need to design the scheme to the people with the most complex needs because I think if we design for the most complex, not in all cases, but in many cases, we will also find the solutions for those with less complex support needs.

I’m delighted to be working with Lisa, with the expert panel, with the secretariat that’s based in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

We’re all committed to ensuring that this review really achieves great impact.

But ultimately what we can do is limited.

This review needs to belong to you, just as the scheme belongs to the people with disability and the Australian community.

This review also belongs to you.

We’re going to look at all of the issues you’ve been telling us about, particularly in relation to the participant experience, the participant journey and how we can move to a more rational relationship between the NDIA and participants and their families, how we can put people with disability back into the centre of the scheme We’re also going to look at the supports available for people who are not NDIS participants, because as many of you know, the NDIS today is an oasis in the dessert.

We’re also going to look at the scheme sustainability, but as the minister has said, we want to shift the debate to one which focuses on the scheme as an investment scheme, as an insurance scheme and one which builds and contributes to great outcomes for participants, that supports their social and economic participation and helps them to build independence.

We’re going to look at the interfaces with mainstream services and we know these are issues that you’ve raised in relation to previous reviews.

We’ve got an enormous amount of information about what’s not working.

We’re going to address these issues, but we’ve got also an enormous amount of data and evidence, and that’s what we’re going to build the review on.

We’re in a far better position than we were a decade ago when the scheme began, when we had none of this information.

So let’s use that information together to build the best disability system in the world.

So back to you, Jean, and I am really looking forward to your questions and being part of this discussion, not just today, but over the whole of the next months.

Thanks, Jean.


Thank you, Bruce.

I hope that helps give people hearing about this for the first time some hope in the same way that it’s given me some hope.

I know that everyone has just had a really utterly awful few years and it’s going to be … it’s going to take a big leap of faith from people in our community to dare to feel hopeful again, but I personally feel confident that this review is going to get us there.

Thank you for sharing all of that.

I’m going to give Dougie a couple of minutes to share with us.

Hi, Dougie, nice to see you.

If you wouldn’t mind just telling us how you feel about being part of this panel and what you hope it can do.

Over to you, Dougie, thank you.


Thank you very much, Jean.

Good afternoon, everyone.

My name is Dougie Herd.

First of all, I’m super happy to be with everyone here online, super, super happy.

I’m in Canberra, so I want to pay my respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples on whose land I’m sitting.

I want to thank Minister Shorten for asking me to contribute to the review panel and its work, to say how much I’m looking forward to working with Bruce, Lisa and the fellow panel members and also how much I am looking forward to working with all of you because I gather there dreads of us on this big meeting today.

I think this is like the Every Australian Counts campaign says, it’s our NDIS, so let’s make it work.

But here’s the true thought that I have – that’s a very scary thought and it’s an enormous responsibility and, to be honest, all I can think of is this – don’t screw it up, Dougie.

Do not screw it up.

Except if I’m being honest, the word I really thought of starts with an “F”.

For goodness, sake, Dougie, don’t screw it up.

The only way I know to contribute to this panel and to not screw it up and make a mess of it is to do this sort of stuff.

Together we review this megabillion dollar -person National Disability Insurance Scheme in all of our mix, beauty and diversity of humanity, we do it honestly, frankly, respectfully.

We all say what we believe to help get back on track the NDIS, or in some areas to get it on track for the very first time.

I think this is going to be really hard and I also think a year isn’t very long, although it seems like a long time.

But if we get it right, and for me what I mean when I say “Get it right” is we put people with disability be genuinely at the centre of decision making, with real choice and greater control over their reasonable and necessary supports that are funded in a sustainable way by the whole Australian community investing in everyone’s future.

If we get all that right, this period of review will be hugely rewarding.

I think that to get it right every single voice needs to be heard.

All the communities of Australia, in all of their diversity, need to speak to one another about our different experiences.

All points of view, even those I disagree with, perhaps especially those I disagree with need to be heard, and my job as a review member is to sit and listen.

Whoever I am, you are, participant, carer, family member, trade union member working for an organisation like I’m the Chief Executive officer of, provider, advocacy organisation, we all need to join in this big conversation.

Why? Because I think we want to get things right.

As people have said, the NDIS is a really good idea.

It was when it was set up.

It now supports over half a million people and my guess is if you’re joining this webinar today, you fundamentally support the idea of the NDIS.

You may, like me, have an NDIS plan.

You may, like me, be a provider of NDIS-registered services.

But my guess is you also believe that there’s tonnes of room for improvement and that we can make this NDIS better and that we can do that together.

Why do I care about all this? Well, some people might think it’s because I’ve got a vested interest.

I’m an NDIS-registered provider.

I worked for the National Disability Insurance Agency over years ago to help set up and launch the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

But my vested interest is super, super personal.

Years ago, I went swimming with my mates in Scotland.

I broke my neck in three places.

I’ve used a wheelchair ever since and the one I’m sitting in here today was funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Every single day of the last years of my life, a human being has come into my house, helped me to shower, helped me to get dressed, get into my wheelchair, with the purpose of helping me to get on with my life.

My vested interest in all of this is that I am an NDIS participant and the quality of my life depends on the quality of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

It has to be the best scheme it can be, and I think you can repeat different versions of my story times in all their different ways.

So I think if we cooperate, if we work together, share ideas, if we agree furiously and disagree respectfully, if we look for solutions, and as the Minister said at the upfront and then we implement those solutions, because we all know what they are, I think then we’ll succeed.

I think that’s what this review is about.

Better lives.

Your life, because you’re all here, and my life because I’m selfish.

I want a good life.

That’s the only reason I’m here today and I’m grateful to be given the opportunity.

I hope I’m part of building a better future.

I want to work with everyone who’s here and I want to thank Jean and the Every Australian Counts campaign for helping all of us to get us to this point today.


Thank you, Dougie.

Very well said.

I think we will get started now with questions from people who are not us.

We’ve kind of got … we have a handful which are sort of match-ups of questions we received a lot of very similar versions in the Every Australian Counts website before today and also up to a couple of hours ago.

There’s many, many excellent questions coming through on the chat as well.

So I will have some people helping me work out which questions to ask.

And I will start with this one for the Minister.

It is quite a common one that we got a lot.

So, Minister Shorten, what can you say to people about why is this review different than any other sort of enquiry about the NDIS and being run out of … so the review team are supported by staff from secretariat support, is the fancy way of saying it, from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and one person asks us being run out of Prime Minister and Cabinet means, to me, that you are looking to cut costs or cost savings.

That one’s for you, Minister.


Thanks, Jean.

Can I just thank Dougie? Whenever you talk, I feel like storming the barricades, then I realise we’re in Government now, so I’ve got to just have a cup of tea.

Listen, the reason why the review secretariat is being run out of Prime Minister and Cabinet isn’t a bad one, it’s a good one.

First of all, look who else could do it.

We could have run it out of the NDIA and the Department of Social Services, but that’s a bit like being asked to mark your own homework, isn’t it? So it’s got to be independent of that.

If it had been run out of the Productivity Commission, people, I think plenty of the people in the sector when I consulted them said that would have looked like a cost-cutting exercise.

So by a process of elimination, the beauty of the prime minister’s, for that department is that when you do reviews, then you’ve got to explain to the central government agencies like prime ministers and Treasurers what the review means.

So that invariably builds in delay.

It means that some good ideas just by the process of attrition get burnt off the proposals, whereas if we’ve got the central government people involved with ourselves from the get-go, it means you don’t have to say everything twice and it means that there’s a lot better chance that the process of the review educates other people.

Let’s not kid ourselves.

A lot of people don’t know about disability.

A lot of people don’t know about the NDIS and when they do talk about the NDIS, it’s just in terms of, you know, a perceived cost.

So, if you like, the review educates people who need to know better what they need to know.

So it’s very strategic and, you know, all of the people … there will be people in this webinar, most of you will know at least one of the panellists, or indeed not more of us.

What unites this panel, in my opinion, and myself, and all of you, is we just want the best for the scheme.

We’re not interested in, you know, other interests.

We want the very best for the scheme.

So that’s why we’re doing it there.

The other thing is states and territories have a crucial role to play here.

We all know that not everyone is on the NDIS.

It wasn’t designed to have everyone, but we need to make sure that states and territories don’t skimp on their responsibilities to a national disability strategy and to services outside the NDIS.

So they’re involved in all of this too.

I remember what it was like to build the first NDIS and it was building a coalition, not just the people who were most committed, but educating other people to come with us.

So the structure of this review is a key part of where it’s based as part of that educative process for everyone else to realise how good the NDIS can be.


Thanks, Minister, I’m sure that was helpful.

I didn’t really understand myself much about how important the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is in this process too.

As always, we’re running a bit short on time.

I will stop blabbering on too much.

This next question is a word-for-word one we got but also repeated a lot.

The question is, “Do we really need a year-long review? I say no, we just need human beings to take back this organisation.” NDIA, I assume.

Let’s give that one to Lisa.

What do you think, Lisa?


Fabulous question, for starters.

Look, a year seems like a long time and then it seems, on the other hand to us, it seems like a short time.

The reason it seems like a short time is that if we came out and just said, “This needs to happen, that needs to happen, this needs to happen, just do this, here’s the solutions,” then we could take less time.

But what we actually want to do is say, “And this is how things should be done.” Like, the how things get implemented is so important.

We actually want to talk about that.

That makes a difference to all of you who are on this today, you know, how things are done.

Actually, it is to the question’s point about kind of putting humans back in charge.

You talked about relational.

The other thing too, though, is that we’re not going to wait … as the Minister said, we’re not going to do this review like other reviews.

So we’re not going to sit in a darkened room for a year thinking deep thoughts and then come out with a -page report that gets put on a shelf.

Nor are we going to do all the right things and come out with an actually really good report, with lots of sensible recommendations, but then get ignored because they’re not implementable, they’re not easy to work or whatever.

Then besides all that, we’ve already committed to putting you at the centre.

So the review is going to be done differently and probably that process means it will take longer too, and that’s just the way it is.

That’s a good thing.

Then the other thing is if we can see … and the Minister’s put this in the terms of reference.

If we can see things that are … that could be done sort of now, then we will say it, you know.

If disability ministers and Minister Shorten accepts that, then it will happen within that year.

So please be assured that if we can come to stuff that’s quicker, we’ll do it.

Thanks, Jean.


Thank you, Lisa.

This next one is a good one, very common, and I will give it to you, Kirsten.

How will people be able to have their say in this review? How can we assure that we will be heard including how will we be able to provide a written submission?


So lovely to be with everyone this afternoon.

Awesome question.

It is already answered by a couple of people this afternoon which is this is not going to be your bog standard government review.

My sincere apologies to all the lovely public servants that are on the call today, but we are not going to do this the way that other reviews have been done.

The first way that you’ll be able to have your say is by doing absolutely nothing at all.

As you’ve already heard this afternoon, what we’re doing to do to start off is we are going to look at all the submissions that people have made to the various inquiries and consultations over the last few years.

If you think about things like the Tune Review, the various inquiries that the Joint Standing Committee have done, the consultations around independent assessments, even some of the evidence that’s been given directly to the Royal Commission, we’re going to have a look at all of that.

We might even have a look at some of those submissions that that pesky group EAC made over the years to the various inquiries and consultations.

So we’re going to look at all of that and then we’re going to come back to you and say, “Did we get it right? Have we missed anything? Did we hear what you had to say? We’re going to say things like, “What’s changed since you last had your say? Are there other things that we need to consider?” So we’re going to ask those kinds of questions.

Then we’re going to come to you and say, “Okay, given that we know all of this, what are the solutions?” We’re going to be really solutions-focussed.

We’ve spent an awful lot of time in the last few years talking about what the problems are.

Actually what we want to know from everybody who’s on this call, everybody in the EAC community and all of the participants and their families and the organisations that support you is what’s going to work on the ground.

If this is the problem, what is going to work for you? So that is what we’re going to do.

But just as important and perhaps most important to me is the how we’re going to do it.

We’re still honestly working that out.

There will be standard ways to have your say, written submissions and things like that.

But we know that that really doesn’t work for everyone and so we want to have multiple ways for people to be able to engage with the review, have their say and make sure that they have their voices heard.

So there isn’t going to be one way, there’s going to be lots of ways.

In part, the reason we haven’t locked everything down by now is actually we want to hear from you.

How do you want this to work? What processes would work for you? How do you want to be able to have your say and contribute to the kind of solutions that we need? In particular, we really want to make sure that we hear from people that you don’t usually hear from when you hold government reviews.

We really want to hear from people who don’t usually turn up to, you know, all those workshops and round tables that we’ve all been to with the butcher’s paper and the sticky notes.

We know that doesn’t work for lots of people.

So we really want to do some hard thinking and talk to you about how we talk to people who don’t usually participate in these processes so that they have their voices heard.

The last thing I want to say is that this review has a really, really, really big job to do.

If it was just up to the panel, that would not be a good thing.

It’s not the job of the panel to work these things out.

I think it’s our and my job to work with you to get the recommendations that the review makes right.

This will only work if we all work together.

I’ve been in an enormously privileged spot in the last few years to see what awesome things that the disability community can do when it comes together and sets its mind on creating change.

I’ve seen what we’ve been able to do.

Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, a lot of that time has been spent pushing back on things that we didn’t think would work.

We’ve got an awesome opportunity at the moment to turn around and go what will work and how can we all work together and build it, so that’s what I’m most excited about.

I really encourage Jean … Jean will give everybody details I’m sure at the end of the webinar how you can sign up for updates so you can get involved.

But I really encourage Dougie, Bruce, Lisa, really encourage you to get involved and have your say because the only way this is going to work is if we all work together.


Thank you, Kirsten.

That’s good stuff to hear.

It sounds a bit familiar, some of it too, which is awesome.

Following on from that, just quickly, if you don’t mind, Bruce, because we’re very quickly running out of time, for people who have … who have already contributed to many other reviews, and Kirsten did kind of answer it, how can I share with you what I’d like to contribute to this review? Sorry, that one’s for you, Bruce.



Sorry, Jean, the question was? What I’d like to contribute to the review?


Yes, for people. … I have provided my views previously to other reviews and inquiries.

How can I make sure that you get that?


So if I’m someone who’s contributed before, how can I make sure that you will see that and I think …


Sorry, my hearing these days is not as good as it used to be.

So, look, the way we’re going to do this is we’re going to go through all the submissions that people have made, to the Tune Review, to the Joint Standing Committee, to the NDIA, to the Royal Commission, to make sure that we’ve heard what you’ve heard, what you’ve said, and then build the review on that.

I just want to pick up also the fact about the structure of this review.

I think it’s enormously significant that as an expert panel we’re reporting directly to ministers.

So we’ll be able to take our findings directly to the decision-makers.

Because when I look at what’s happened in the past and the gaps that have opened up between what you said and what’s been done, it’s often been because those views have not been taken directly to the decision-makers and then implemented through the NDIA and through the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

So I think there’s a whole lot of things here that we’re trying to set up to make sure that this review is highly impactful, really does make a difference and really does reflect what people want.

I think it’s also important to recognise that the challenges with the NDIS have not developed overnight.

Not all of them are going to be solved overnight.

So the year is actually quite important to us so that we can get to some of those more challenging problems, some of those more deeply entrenched issues and start to design with you solutions that are going to work.

In some cases, it will also give us an opportunity to trial some of those solutions.

So I think it’s an exciting time.

I’m just humbled by the fact that I’m now going to get an opportunity to work with Lisa and others, and with you above all, to try and work out the solutions to these problems.

Back to you, Jean.


Thank you, Bruce, and to everybody tuning in or who has submitted a question in advance, I sincerely apologise, we are rapidly running out of time again.

There’s so many excellent things being said.

I will do what I can to try and make sure that we can do more things like this.

Just for now, I think we might have time for one or two more questions.

This one I’ll give to you, Judy, because we haven’t given you any time yet.

How will this review change how our current systems are working in, like, the planning process? You know, we’ve heard very many things about that over the years, but especially sort of right now to make sure that, like, support is really truly individualised for all sorts of different people.


I will try to keep it short.

The question is how will this review overhaul the planning process? I can’t answer the how, but I can tell you it will.

It will.

So get rid of the ” How”, because you’re going to tell us how it’s going to overhaul the planning process and we’re going to go through what you’ve hold us before and we’re going to listen and we’re going to work out how to overhaul the planning process.

What I can tell you is we will.

As someone whose son was diagnosed with autism over years ago and who is in the NDIS … my son is an NDIS participant, I go through that planning process, I get a little bit sick of having to educate the planners every time I go in.

I get sick of saying I brought my file, “Here it is.”

And they ask for something I haven’t got in the file.

I say, “Can I bring the filing cabinet as well?” Then they still ask for something else.

So I get it.

Autism, our son, he has a complex life, as we all are, we are all complex individuals, and that’s the word.

He’s an individual and he needs an individual plan and he needs someone to understand him and his needs.

I’m looking forward to your contributions on the planning process because I think that’s really central to our work.

Thank you.


Thanks, Judy.

I will go back to Kirsten.

Sorry to put you on the spot.

Will the review look at all the complaints people have made about the scheme?


It will depend, to be honest, on whether you mean – sorry, I didn’t see the question, whether it’s the complaints that people made going through all the various inquiries and consultations and reviews that have been done or whether you specifically mean the complaints that have gone into the NDIA.

So that’s a really good question, actually.

It’s something that the panel members might be able to ask the NDIA to provide us some information.

I’d just be concerned about privacy and we might have to think about how we can get that information in a way that protects people’s privacy.

I’m sure that there must be a way to do it.

I reckon it’s a really good question, because where the complaints have come in will tell us about some of the problems, so it’s a really awesome idea.

And it is just proving why we want to talk to you guys and work with you guys, because this is the kind of information that we get.

It is awesome.

Can I take that one on notice and the panel will work out how we could get that information from the NDIA, making sure we respect everybody’s privacy.


Thanks, Kirsten.

Can I just add, I shouldn’t editorialise, but I’m really happy to hear when there aren’t solid answers to things yet because it means that there’s flexibility in this process, which I think is a good thing.

Dougie, how do you feel about, you know, family members who are providing a lot of support for people with disability who maybe really need some help from people close to them to be involved in this process? Are they able to be involved, Dougie? If so, how?


Me, Dougie.

Sorry, I heard Judy.

I think we need to do everything to help.

Everyone knows me or everyone who does know me, I talk too much, right.

It just never ends.

There’s a relationship between a service system and people with disability.

Many people with disability need informal and formal supports to help them articulate a case, to feel confident about having a conversation, and what I want us to be able to do is to ensure that people with disability feel whenever they engage with us, or the agency or the commission, whoever it might be, that they will have with them trusted supporters and advocates, whether they are formal and informal, both an individual and a systemic level who could articulate with them, support them to express their point of view, and have whatever it is they have to say in whatever way they choose or are able to say.

Understood, received and acted upon.

That’s really, really difficult, I think, because we have a history that says, “The guys in the wheelchairs, they can do all these things that they’re supposed to be able to do, we see them, that’s fine. We all get on with it, apparently we’ve got no problems in our lives.”

But that’s not the case for everybody that we want to hear from and involved in this process.

When I had my accident all those years ago in Edinburgh, there were no such things as individual or systemic advocacy organisations, so we made them ourselves.

I’m an unapologetic supporter of and advocate for advocacy organisations that will speak up with bravery and courage exactly to get the message across for the people that they represent and all of those voices need to be there, including the formal-funded organisations, but also the peer support and family supports that are around the individuals who have something to say and we need to make sure we’ve got processes going on in all kinds of places, in all kinds of ways to allow those different voices to be heard so that we can get this right.

You know, it is difficult and challenging, but it’s not rocket science.

It’s about treating human beings like human beings and saying, “Okay, let’s fix it.”


Thanks, Dougie.

My apologies, everyone, we’ve already gone a minute overtime.

Before we wrap up, if people can stick around for an extra few minutes, I would like to ask the Minister to make a few comments after hearing some of the questions from all of you.

Thank you.

Over to you, Minister.


There’s been a lot happening in the chat room.

I’m wrapped with the level of engagement.

I’m sure it’s only going to increase from here.

I just want to say thank you to everybody.

I am absolutely committed to the NDIS.

I know change is confronting.

I know that people need to see where they are place as a result of change and I know that it needs to be done through co design and empowerment.

If when the panel do something initially people say, hey, they’ve got to think of this or that, don’t get angry, just let us know.

We’re all in this together.

I know everyone here is equally committed to making the NDIS the best it can be.

We’re all on the same side and I really want to just do everything I can in my power along with this marvellous new leadership team we’re building in the agency, this marvellous panel and, most importantly, people with disability and the people who love them.

We will get this right and we’ll just get on with it.


Thanks, Minister.

Speaking of, you know, saying things to the review team, there’s a couple of different ways for all of you to do that.

It’s all sort of in the process of being built, so, for now, I would encourage people to go to the review’s website and that is and sign up for updates there.

But also as usual, if people feel more comfortable having a buffer between themselves and the government or for any other reason, Every Australian Counts will continue to ask for your feedback and help provide it back to the review team for you and you can do that right now using the form that we set up a few days ago to send in your questions, just write whatever you want in there, and we’ll keep you updated with other things in future.

But feel free to go back to that.

So that’s available from the home page at

Thank you all very much for your time, everybody.

I hope that we can do many more things like this in the future.

For now, I will let everyone go.

Yes, but thank you very much.

– End of transcript –

Join the conversation