Last week Every Australian Counts launched a social media action triggered by the announcement that the Federal Social Services Minister is ready to move ahead with a new Board of the NDIA.
The Board is an important part of the NDIS as decisions about the scheme’s design and transition continue. We agree with the Minister’s intent of securing a strong Board so that there is certainty and continuity for NDIS participants and providers.
In many ways the NDIS is a huge scheme, including its finance, administration and governance. It is therefore completely reasonable to expect a level of business and financial acumen to assume their place at the Board table – but not at the expense of disability representation.
We believe a strong Board must include lived experience of disability as well as service expertise and it’s our intention that message be heard. As the agreements between the states and the Commonwealth allow all states and territories a say in Board appointments, we went to them to make our voices heard. And already many thousands of our supporters have acted. We now await the final appointment.
It would be remiss of me to pen a reflection on Board changes without paying tribute to the work, dedication and energy of Bruce Bonyhady. It appears that Bruce is not likely to be reappointed as NDIA chair. We accept that this is the call of the political decision makers but we, like many others, must recognise Bruce’s role in bringing about the NDIS and thank him for his foresight and determination.
In the implementation of massive reform there are bound to be hurdles and roadblocks. However I for one would much rather be here, playing a role in navigating the path, than back in a reality where certainty, choice and control was merely a pipedream. The NDIS belongs to the disability community – a community which Bruce Bonyhady has been a leading member of for many years now. Bruce has been and will continue to be an important and potent reminder of the principles embodied in the original struggle for an NDIS.