Major report backs calls to deliver on inclusion for all people with disability

1 February 2019

Today’s release of the Productivity Commission’s review of the National Disability Agreement (NDA) is an opportunity for all levels of government to take action to deliver on inclusion for the 4.3 million Australians with disability.

“We warmly welcome the Productivity Commission’s finding that a new National Disability Agreement is needed now to make sure that every person with disability can have access to an equal, ordinary life,” said Therese Sands, Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia (PWDA).

“People with disability are sick of the gaps in services, programs and infrastructure delivered by different levels of government and a new NDA will work to end the blame game. We call on the Federal Government to lead the implementation of all the recommendations in this report.”

The Productivity Commission report found that the current NDA, which covers the way local, state, territory and federal governments provide disability services and support, is outdated and does not reflect the current policy landscape.

“This report found that there is a lack of clarity about who is responsible for advocacy services, community access and inclusion programs, carer services and services to people with psychosocial disability,” said Ms Sands.

“People with disability tell us every day about how this is impacting on their lives – they are missing out on essential services, facing barriers to employment, transport, housing, education and health and getting stuck between different levels of governments who are passing the buck.”

The key gaps that the report identified are: services being discontinued and rolled into the NDIS so that people with disability who are not eligible for the NDIS can no longer access them, boundary issues with mainstream services and the NDIS, the move away from block funding particularly with advocacy services and areas of ‘thin-markets’, and pre-existing gaps such as in housing and transport.

“Critically, the Commission listened closely to people with disability who told them about the importance of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). We welcome the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that a new NDA should link directly to the goals of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) which outlines how Australia will meet its obligations under the CRPD. The Productivity Commission says that a new NDA should include strong accountability measures that will make our rights real.”

“We argued strongly to the Productivity Commission that the new NDA needs to have clear responsibilities and performance reporting, and accountability for all levels of government and agencies to deliver for people with disability. We look forward to seeing how this evolves.”

“Many of the emerging issues with the NDIS are because of the lack of clarity around the relationship and interface between mainstream services, state-based disability supports and the NDIS,” said Ms Sands.

“A new and significantly redeveloped NDA can ensure that all people with disability in Australia can access and participate fully in all aspects of community life.”

“We also strongly support the calls for a new report to be presented to Federal Parliament every two years that details how governments are measuring up and delivering on the rights of people with disability across Australia,” said Ms Sands.