Greens spokesperson for disability the Hon Alison Xamon MLC has welcomed the release today of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Bulletin on Disability support services: services provided under the National Disability Agreement 2017-18.
“The Bulletin is a salient reminder that while the NDIS is an enormous social and economic reform, it by no means is intended to replace all disability services required to effectively support people with disability and their families and carers in our communities,” Ms Xamon said.
“The report found that of the 280 000 people who used services under the National Disability Agreement in 2017-18, over half used services that are expected to move to the NDIS as it rolls out.
“This of course means that just under half of services currently being funding under the NDA will not be covered by the NDIS even after transition is complete.
“We must not lose sight of the broader context. The NDIS was never intended to be the be all and end all when it comes to disability services.
“The state government must also uphold its responsibilities in ensuring access to mainstream services, promoting an inclusive approach to all policies and programs and enabling all people with disability (even those not eligible for the NDIS) to fully participate in our communities.
“Further, the transition to the NDIS has broader impacts than the individual person with a disability applying for assistance, it also has implications in terms of affecting existing support for families and carers as well.
“Because the NDIS operates as an insurance model for the person with disability, carers cannot apply for support funding through the scheme.
“The problem with that is that a large portion of existing funding for carers under the Carers’ Respite Program is now being rolled into the NDIS funding bucket, to be replaced by a newer, but much smaller, carer support program.
“This means that the people who are often the most instrumental in caring for their loved ones will have less capacity to do so because they will no longer have access to the same level of carer support they had prior to the NDIS.
“There is no doubt that the NDIS represents an enormous opportunity but we must also continue to invest in the whole spectrum of services needed to ensure our society is truly equitable for people with disability and their families.