News | 13 May 2019

We really made some noise! Our National Day of Action to Make It Work

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On May 3rd we held our National Day of Action to Make It Work and thanks to all of your hard work we really made the pollies sit up and take notice!

Across the country people like you held their own events or attended a Make It Work forum in one our capital cities to make sure that the NDIS stayed at the top of the agenda this Federal Election.

We had so many MPs that got to hear directly from you about what was going wrong with the NDIS, and what they needed to do to fix it. Leaders from across politics like Labor Leader Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney, John Alexander MP, NSW Senator Kristina Keneally and WA Senator Rachel Siewert all attended forums to hear what you had to say and then take it back to their parties – and back to parliament. (There is a full list of all the MPs who attended at the end of this news item so you can see everyone who made it along.)

But we know not everyone could make it on the day, so if you missed out or want to know what went on at Melbourne’s Day of Action forum, watch the highlight video below to get a glimpse into some of the issues and ideas you shared with our pollies – and see just how powerful we can be when we work together.



Remember, this was just one of many events that were held across the country from people like you who are passionate about fixing the NDIS. There were rallies in Wollongong and Bega, protests in Macedon, a candidate forum in Moreton, and an online forum for families in Sydney. And they were just some of the awesome events people put on all around the country.

There were so many more, and if you’d like to check them all out, head over to #NDISMakeItWork on Twitter to see all the updates from the day!

(And a BIG thank you to everyone who shared on social media during the day – the #NDISMakeItWork trended nationally during the day!)

And because we know not everyone is on social media we’ve included a selection of photos from all the events below so you can see what people got up to.

And we have also included just a small sample of some of the media coverage of the day – there was so much we could not include it all!

We’d like to thank everyone who got involved for the Day of Action in any way they could, whether it be attending or holding an event, contacting their MP or signing our petition – everything you did on the day made a difference.

But our fight isn’t over yet – while we saw lots of commitments from our pollies on the day, the most important thing is that they actually take action.

So we’ll be making sure that this election our leaders know that the NDIS is staying at the top of the agenda, and keeping up the pressure to make sure that after the election we are delivered everything that was promised.

In the meantime, make sure your local candidates know that just because they came to a forum or attended an event, doesn’t mean they’re off the hook. Send them an email from our website and make sure that this election they commit to making the NDIS work for all of us.


MPs who attended Make it Work forums



Opposition Leader Bill Shorten

Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services Linda Burney

Senator Janet Rice

Victorian Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan



John Alexander

Senator Kristina Keneally



Shadow Minister for Disability and Carers Senator Carol Brown

Andrew Wilke

Ella Haddad

Staff member representing Tasmanian Minister for Disability Services and Community Development Jacqui Petrusma



Mark Butler

Senator Alex Gallacher

Senate Candidate Skye Kakoschke-Moore (representing Fiona Sharkie)

Senate Candidate Marielle Smith

South Australian Shadow Minister for Human Services Nat Cook



Queensland Shadow Minister for Disability Services and Seniors Dr Christian Rowan

Senator Claire Moore

Senate candidate Paul Larcombe

Staff member representing Terri Butler



Senator Jordon Steele-John

Senator Rachel Siewert

Josh Wilson

Cassie Rowe representing Western Australian Minister for Disability Services Stephen Dawson



Northern Territory Minister for Disabilities Natasha Fyles



And here is just some of the media coverage of the day:

NT News – Six months in a broken chair

Illawarra Mercury – Hundreds attend Wollongong rally as part of NDIS National Day of Action

Croakey – NDIS needs to be at top of #AusVotes agenda, fully spending, and headed by people with disability

The Australian – Unspent NDIS $1.6bn to bolster Shorten push

The Guardian – Labor to unveil NDIS future fund to ensure all money gets to disability services

About Regional – “The success or failure of our NDIS affects us all” – Chris Sparks


And a selection of photos from the day:

A montage of photos taken at National Day of Action events all over Australia on May 3 for Every Australian Counts.



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KIRSTEN: We believe it is the people in this room. It’s people with disability, their families, the people who work in the sector who not only know best what’s actually happening on the ground but they’re also in the best position to know how to fix it.

And so we don’t wanna lose all your good ideas.

So I encourage you, when you’re making comments to also make suggestions of solutions of what you think could be done about some of the issues facing the NDIS.

And what we will do is we will capture them upon the screen up the front so we don’t lose them.

And what we’ll do at the end of the forum is we will write those up, and we will send them to the MPs that we have here with us today, but we will also send it to the MPS that we don’t have here today.

We have Senator Janet Rice, a Greens senator representing Victoria, so a very warm welcome, Janet. We have the Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, Linda Burney, joining us here today. And we have the Victorian Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Mr Luke Donellan, so thank you very much, Minister.

We are incredibly grateful to all of you, for coming along today and listening to people with disability and their families about their experience of the NDIS.

I also want to let you know that we’re expecting one other special guest here this morning, and that is Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

CHRIS: Some people will think it’s the bee’s knees it’s what they’ve been waiting for all their lives, some of them have had a harrowing time with reviews, going round saying, “This isn’t right!”

I’ve had one guy, a large guy, he’s a great friend of mine. He lives in Lilydale in Melbourne. He needs a bath. Three times a week. He’s got the funding, no problem, but he can’t get the staff to go out to his house. These are the injustices we’re facing.

JESSICA: There needs to be better support for applicants, for their carers and for their team, in terms of their emotional wellbeing, in terms of, perhaps respite, helpline support, and guidance towards psychiatric support, if they need it. People’s safety needs to be put first and foremost, not just their physical safety, but their emotional and mental wellbeing as well.

JULIAN: The NDIS pays for Tess to help me do more to help me do more myself. I am in charge of my own life.

CATHERINE: I never guessed how hard it would be, how time-consuming the paperwork and meetings would be, and how hard it would be just for us to navigate the system.

We don’t need, how long was that piece of paper, 10-page documents, 20, 30-page documents to show that we need support.

ROSS: The participant said,”I want a job,” so they went with one goal,to get a job.

It was written down, translated, the phone call came back a bit later on, a couple of weeks later they said, “We’ve got your dog.”

They said, but, what do you mean?

Don’t you want a therapy dog? No.

By the time you get to your third plan you’d hope the planning process got more sophisticated, and that it didn’t force participants to feel like they could only ask for one thing.

You would think there’d be a continuous improvement cycle, that we’d all get better at this.

It seems to me it’s still very hit and miss.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I’m wondering what’s happening, with all of those people who have never received services before, who aren’t on any list, who don’t even know that the NDIS will provide them with the supports they need.

But I think we need a big campaign to say to people, you know, you’re entitled to this.

This isn’t something that’s special for us, it really is to give us an ordinary life.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: My daughter when I told her today I was coming here, she said, “Mum, I just need you too have less stress.”

I’ve been an advocate for my daughters for years, and my workload has tripled or quadrupled since NDIS. I haven’t actually worked for about 13 years. I have $6,000 in superannuation.

I was hoping that with NDIS I’d be able to go back to work and it’s actually the amount of stress that I’ve been put under is just unbelievable. So I reinforce everything that everybody has said here today.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: My solution is refunding the community mental health sector, but in terms of the NDIS working better I’d say psychosocial disability-specific line items that are recovery focused and provide flexibility to meet the episodic nature of mental health and an increase in pricing to ensure that all the work that’s required to provide a quality service training, supervision, good quality workplace and workforce to incorporate that into pricing.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We need a service that can help those families do their application. Actually, walk with them through the entire process.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Some people are capable but like, if I’m not capable what’s the chance of my daughter if NDIS is not going to fund the supports to help her to manage her plan.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Aren’t I meant to try and have a life as part of this, why should it become a part-time job?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I think we really need to have better consultation with our LBTIQA+ people and ensure that religious organisations are not able to discriminate,to turn us away just because of who we are.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We need to move towards family-centered planning rather than individualised planning.
Not to keep the person with disability still at the centre.

KIRSTEN: So the solution would be get more people with disability at all levels of the NDIA?


KIRSTEN: Cool. Yeah, plenty of applause for that.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I don’t think we’d be here if it wasn’t for Bill Shorten. And I want to say thank you, Bill. Thank you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The bureaucracy behind the scenes is so ridiculously enormous that it’s impossible for us to give that choice and control on a day-to-day basis and we need it fixed. It’s gotta stop. Get rid of the ratios, get rid of this community center-based you know, allow people to choose on a day-to-day basis fund it properly, base price and people will be starting to be happy and have a better life.

SENATOR JANET RICE: What is required to properly fund the NDIS is a fraction of that. It is a matter of priorities and in terms of those priorities The Greens are with you to make sure you get what you need.

OPPOSITION LEADER BILL SHORTEN:I am in a room full of people who have aspiration.

Chris has an aspiration, that living in the bush shouldn’t mean second-class health.

Other people here have an aspiration that being in the NDIS shouldn’t be a bureaucratic maze.

People have an aspiration their kids get a quality education,

People have an aspiration that their children can grow old knowing that there is comfort and support and love.

People have an aspiration that their houses should be accessible,

People have an aspiration they shouldn’t be victim of bullying because of their disability.

People who work in the sector should have an aspiration to get a fair wage.

People who work in disability have an aspiration that they just get a fair go.

KIRSTEN: I wanted to finish by saying one thing.

We’ve talked a lot about the problems in the NDIS here this morning but I don’t want you to go away thinking about the problems.

I want you to go away thinking about the solutions.

I want you to go away from here feeling hopeful that things can really turn around.

While there’re lots of problems, there’re also lots of solutions.

We’ve proved that this morning in a really short space of time we’ve come up with a whole raft of ideas that would work to get the NDIS back on track.

It was people with disabilities and families and people who worked in the sector who fought for the NDIS in the first place.

The people in this room made it happen and so you have all moved this mountain once, and I’m absolutely convinced that we can do it again if we all work together.

So I want to finish by saying thank you for coming out today, thank you for keeping on fighting, to get the NDIS that we all were promised.

We’re all working on the ground, trying to make the scheme work, what we really want from the people who are elected to represent us, is really for them to roll up their sleeves and do their bit, and get the scheme that we were all promised.

So thank you everyone for coming and keep up the fight. Thank you.

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