With all the focus last week on the announcement of the new CEO for the National Disability Insurance Agency, you may have missed some other big changes that were announced.
First of all the Minister announced the NDIA were going to employ 800 more staff.
These peeps will come on board between now and the middle of next year. And perhaps most importantly they will be NDIA staff – not more Local Area Coordinators (LACs) or contractors.
So finally some good news on staff. We certainly hope those new peeps get put through their paces and get some decent training which focuses on how to deal respectfully with people with disabilities and their families. Maybe even how to listen?
And then we hope they find their way to areas that make a real difference for people with disability – approving plans, approving equipment, clearing the backlog of reviews, helping people navigate the scheme would all be good places to start.
And who knows maybe giving a hand to the almost 160,000 people with disability who are still yet to come into the NDIS?
What else is news?
During an interview about the CEO announcement, the Minister also let it drop that he had come up with a plan to deal with the “last 20 per cent of the policy challenges” with the NDIS.
That plan has now been signed off by Cabinet and will be released “in the coming weeks”.
We hope that in addition to consulting his cabinet colleagues, the Minister took on board all the messages we have given him over recent months – first of all when he was appointed as Minister and then again last week during our visit to Parliament House.
We have now delivered thousands of messages from you – people all over the country telling the Minister what’s working, what’s not and what needs to change. And your great ideas for how to change it.
So stay tuned because as soon as the plan drops we will let you know.
And what did he say about reviews?
And just before this interview wrapped up (from 5:34), the Minister mentioned one more very important change.
“My legal advice is that if you want to have a small part of your plan relooked at, you have to get the entire plan relooked at. Now that clearly doesn’t make sense, it’s not flexible. I want to change this so people can say: hey I like 95 per cent of my plan, can I have a look at that? And I want flexibility and a commonsense approach to just fixing that. And that will take, I think, a lot of fear out that people have about – hey, I only want to fix this, I don’t want the whole thing being reviewed.”
As so many of you have pointed out, putting in for a review for one part of your plan means the whole plan is up for grabs. Many planners and LACs warn people that a review in one area can lead to cuts in another area – a warning which many people perceive as a threat.
People with disability and their families want to be able to have one part of their plan reviewed without putting the whole plan in jeopardy.
And it sounds like the Minister is considering just that. So again we will keep you posted – and keep the pressure on to make sure this change becomes a reality.
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