A parliamentary report has found that the NDIS has failed to realise its potential in NSW, leaving many people with disability, as well as their families and carers, frustrated and overwhelmed.
“Evidence suggested that, for many other people with disability, the potential of the Scheme has not been realised,” the Implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the provision of disability services in NSW report, tabled on Thursday, said.
“While the Scheme has clearly worked for certain people with disability the committee received evidence that for others the experience has not been as positive.
“In fact, most inquiry participants contended that the NDIS has, more often than not, fallen short of meeting the expectations of people with disability, and their families and carers.”
The NSW Upper House inquiry was established in June to examine disability services in the state, including the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
NSW became the first state in Australia to sign up to the NDIS in 2013 and the scheme is now fully operational across the state.
There are currently more than 97,000 people with disability under the NDIS in NSW and that number is expected to increase to up to 150,000 by the time the scheme is fully rolled out nationally.
Problems with the NDIS
The committee heard evidence of untrained and inexperienced staff, inadequate eligibility criteria and lengthy delays in getting plans approved.
It also heard the scheme was designed for people who were able to work around complex bureaucratic systems, disadvantaging many participants.
The report made 23 recommendations including the establishment of a public advocate, setting up a workforce strategy and continuing funding for advocacy groups beyond 2020.
Carer needs should be an “explicit and mandatory requirement of NDIS planning,” the report said.
It also said it was “imperative” the government continue its funding of advocacy groups beyond 2020 “to ensure people with a disability can exercise their rights and be included members of the community”.
And it noted the need for the state government to be established as a “provider of last resort” saying it was “troubled by evidence … suggesting that people with disability are ending up in hospitals or jails” because of a lack of support in crisis situations.
The Physical Disability Council of NSW said some 1.2 million people with a disability remained ineligible for the NDIS.
“It seems there’s still a lot to be done to facilitate its effective implementation,” PDCN CEO Serena Ovens said in a statement.
However she said the organisation was pleased the parliamentary inquiry committee had backed continued funding for disability advocacy groups and called on the state government to commit to long term funding.
Findings of the Committee at a glance
The NSW government needs to advocate through its role on the Council of Australian Governments Disability Reform Council to:
- Improve engagement with the scheme
- Enhance the skills of NDIA staff
- Address eligibility issues
- Ensure children have access to early childhood services regardless of NDIS
- Review of NDIA funding structure for workers and service providers
- Strengthen oversight mechanisms
Recommendations for NSW:
- Establish a public advocate
- Develop a workforce strategy
- Investigate carer support including respite services
- Promote and fund NDIS transitional arrangements
- Be a “service provider of last resort”
- Continue funding for advocacy organisations
You can access the report here.
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