News | 2 November 2023

Big Changes Revealed by the NDIS Review – But any Changes Must Be Codesigned

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Reasonable and Necessary podcast cover photo

BREAKING NEWS! BIG CHANGES REVEALED in this exclusive interview with NDIS Review co-chairs Bruce and Lisa. Read on to find out more.

Dr George Taleporos
Independent Chair of Every Australian Counts

It is a really stressful time for people with disabilities and our families as we await the recommendations of the NDIS Review. Many people in our community put a great deal of time and effort to contribute to the Review and we are keen to know what will be recommended. 

I met with co-chairs Bruce and Lisa, who kindly agreed to a final interview before handing in their report to the government. They were especially keen to speak with the Every Australian Counts community. A lot was revealed during the interview and it is clear that the NDIS review will be recommending major changes to the NDIS.

You can view the full interview by clicking on the Youtube link below or listen to the podcast on your preferred platform here:

Here is a quick summary:

The Review will be saying that the NDIS should not be as concerned about a person’s primary medical diagnosis. They want the focus to be on functional capacity instead. We have heard many reports that for people with rare or multiple diagnoses, the focus on a primary diagnosis can be a real problem, so this could be a welcome change. On the other hand, this change might slow down access to the scheme and force people to undergo lengthy functional assessments. So we will have to keep a close eye on that.

And this is the big news:..Assessments are back on the table

The Review will be recommending assessments and they won’t be “independent”. They will be performed by government staff or government contractors, so there will be some serious conflicts of interest that will need to be managed. The focus will be on support needs rather than functional impairment, which is important, especially for people with intellectual disability.

The assessment will result in a budget allocation that will be determined to be “reasonable and necessary as a whole”. Capacity building funding will be part of your for core budget, so NDIS funding will be more flexible.

Planning as we know it will be very different as it will come after an assessment that will determine your budget. So you will go into planning knowing your budget. There will be no more line by line claims for additional supports

The Review will also be calling on mainstream services to meet the needs of people with disabilities and have introduced a new jargon word, “foundational supports”. Foundational supports are mainstream services that everyone with a disability should be able to access, including people who are not on the NDIS. This is clearly an attempt to address the “only life boat in the ocean” and “oasis in the desert” scenario that Prof Bruce blames for the increased number of participants on the NDIS.

How these foundational supports will magically appear is worth asking (so I did in my podcast). We have been calling for accessible and inclusive mainstream services for years and very little has changed. What will be different this time? We are worried that people with disabilities will again fall through the cracks if NDIS supports are taken away before mainstream services become inclusive and accessible.

If you are feeling concerned, then you are not alone

Having experienced the 2021 independent assessment trial myself, I’m worried about what this version of assessments will look like. We shouldn’t have to repeatedly prove that we have a disability. We don’t want intrusive and ineffective tests imposed on us by so-called “experts” who don’t know us. However, I take some comfort knowing that Bruce was a strong advocate against independent assessments in 2021 and the government has repeatedly committed to codesign any changes to the NDIS. In fact Every Australian Counts is actively involved in the co-design work.

The government needs to stand by its promise

The government needs to uphold this commitment when considering these recommendations and remember its promise to rebuild trust with the disability community. The NDIS will only work when it is codesigned by people with disabilities, so our message to the government is clear – nothing about us without us! The government needs to make the NDIS Review recommendations public as soon as possible and ask us what we think before making any decisions.

There’s a lot to discuss so let’s get together!

We are excited to let you know that we will be hosting regular online forums to bring together our Every Australian Counts community, share the latest NDIS and here directly you about your concerns and needs. We will have NDIS staff on hand to explain how NDIS participants will be affected by the new system and answer your questions. I hope to see you there.

Register here

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