Comments on the NDIS Review and Participant Service Guarantee

PWDA welcomes this morning’s announcement of the review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) legislation and rules which will lead to the development of the NDIS Participant Service Guarantee.

We welcome the focus on improving plans and waiting times for people with disability. Our members, people with disability, have told us over and over that they are waiting too long for access to supports and essential equipment, and to get their plans finalised.

People with disability are also finding their plans don’t reflect the support they need, that the plans can be inadequate and can show a lack of understanding about disability. When our circumstances change, reviews and new plans are far too slow to be developed and implemented with potentially dangerous consequences.

However, we are concerned about any moves towards standardisation of plans, or to implementing generic plans, that will undermine the whole aim of the NDIS, which was to provide individualised supports that meet the specific needs of people with disability. We need to see the quality of plans lifted, in addition to shorter timeframes for access and plan development being met.

The old disability support system was rightly criticised for being too inflexible and having rigid support criteria – the NDIS can’t replicate the old outdated system.

Any review of the NDIS rules must centre people with disability, and what we want and need. People with disability need the NDIS to be easier to access, easier to deal with and more focused on us.

To achieve these goals, it is essential that the Government removes the staffing cap and improves the training of NDIA planners, so that we get better access to the scheme and better quality.

Better quality plans would mean less of us are forced into lengthy review processes and help us realise our goals for better access to employment and improved housing.

We also want to see planners trained to focus more on functional assessments rather than medical diagnosis. This review also needs to ensure all people with disability across Australia who should be eligible can access the scheme. This includes people from marginalised groups and communities.