Disability advocates have pleaded with Federal Parliament to ensure the National Disability Insurance Scheme is fully transparent and backs people with disability, in a submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry into funding of the national scheme.
National peak disability representative organisation People with Disability Australia (PWDA) has told the Inquiry into the Current Scheme Implementation and Forecasting for the NDIS that the agency running the national scheme – the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) – has not been forthcoming with key data on the scheme from the public.
“In the past eighteen months it was reported that NDIS sustainability was ‘on track’ and then potentially unviable, but the complete data set has not been released and is not available for full probity under national freedom of information laws,” PWDA CEO Sebastian Zagarella wrote in the organisation’s submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme inquiry.
In Friday’s letter to the inquiry, Mr Zagarella argued “NDIS modelling and forecasting data seems locked away and inaccessible and therefore unclear.”
PWDA understands the NDIA and other agencies using its data, such as the Parliamentary Budget Office, are reportedly basing their funding models and decisions on modelling undertaken by an actuary engaged on a contract basis whose assumptions have been withheld from the public under Australian freedom of information laws.
In the submission, PWDA argues that visionary plans for a national fund to ensure NDIS financial sustainability are being ignored.
Mr Zagarella: “The NDIS needs to be a strong scheme for people with disability that respects their international human rights to access the scheme.
“PWDA along with other disability organisations campaigned long and hard for a viable, fully funded NDIS. We want to see the NDIS be a strong scheme into the future, so that people with disability can live their lives with dignity and confidence as full Australian citizens.”
The Joint Standing Committee (JSC) on the NDIS is conducting a federal parliamentary inquiry into the implementation of the NDIS and forecasting around its funding and future. (See its Terms of Reference.)
Advocates expect the inquiry will also look at the expected NDIS participation rates of people with disability.
Submissions received by the closing date will be considered in an interim report.
Members of the public can make further submissions by 28 February 2022, to be assessed in a final report.
The operation of the NDIS and Centrelink’s Disability Support Pension are key concerns for federal parliament, which is currently looking at a number of proposed reforms. For PWDA’s take on these reforms, see our media releases below.
People with Disability Australia
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