Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme
First Peoples Disability Network opposes the introduction of independent assessments as outlined by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). These proposals are causing a great deal of distress in our communities. We believe the current reforms need to stop immediately, and that the NDIA needs to urgently work to repair trust with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
We make the following recommendations that the NDIA:
- immediately cease the implementation plan for independent functional assessments and outline a consultation process with people with disability and their representative organisation around the implications of the proposed changes.
- consult specifically with First People with disability and their representative organisations about the risk for our community in relation to independent assessments, the specific considerations needed and the parameters for tailored pilots with First Peoples with disability prior to any broader implementation.
- address the broader issues about access to the NDIS for First Peoples with disability through a genuine co-design process with First Peoples with disability.
We thank the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme for examining this issue, and would be happy to discuss the matter further with you.
FPDN’s CEO Damian Griffis gave evidence to a Parliamentary Committee that is looking at this. He said:
“The specific needs of our people with disability require direct consultation with us, not a mainstream one-size-fits-all process. As you would know, many of our people with disability live in remote communities and they have a very different set of needs than many other Australians with disabilities.”
“Do they really understand the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in regional and remote Australia? Do they know, for example, that some of our people with disability live in unsafe housing, don’t have access to clean and consistent water supply, have no means of moving around their communities and don’t speak English as a first language? Do they have that understanding? Do they know that there is often—as many committee members would know—a deep distrust between government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when people engage? That’s based on historical realities.”
“You have to understand the lived experience. You have to understand that, in regional and remote parts of Australia, as many committee members would know, a lot of our people face challenges that are non-existent in other parts of the country. So I don’t have any confidence whatsoever.”Read more
Have your say
The NDIS wants to change how people with disability get access to the essential supports we need. Instead of getting reports from your doctor or specialist, people with disability will have a person they don’t know put them through some tests that will say how disabled they are.
FPDN believes that this is going to make access to the NDIS harder for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability than it already is.
We want the NDIS to:
- Stop the independent assessments trial
- consult specifically with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability about the risk for our community
- address the broader issues about access to the NDIS for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability through a genuine co-design process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.
Get involved and have your say through the Every Australian Counts website.