Disability service providers welcome improvements to NDIS experience
Disability service providers and the tens of thousands of people they support will today be relieved to hear that action is being taken to improve the experience of the NDIS.
The National Disability Insurance Agency has just announced it will trial new ways of interacting with people with disability and with disability service providers. The changes include improving planning processes, better communication, less red tape and recognition that the diverse needs of participants in the NDIS require tailored responses.
Dr Ken Baker, Chief Executive of disability provider peak National Disability Services (NDS), said the news was welcome given the ongoing frustrations so many people with disability and disability service providers have been experiencing.
“The introduction of the NDIS was widely celebrated as a landmark reform which would finally give choice and control to people with disability and their families and allow our members to provide responsive, high-quality supports to more people,” Dr Baker said.
“Yet the roll out of the scheme has been mired in inefficient systems and confusion, resulting in frustration and uncertainty for too many people.
“NDS and our members have been advocating for urgent changes to fix the way the scheme is being implemented.
“Today’s announcement is a welcome acknowledgment by the NDIA that things need to improve.
“We commend the new CEO’s commitment to listen to the sector and ensure people with disability, families, carers and disability service providers are included in ongoing discussions. There is a high level of expertise, experience and commitment in the disability sector which must be utilised to help shape the design and implementation of the NDIS as it continues to roll out.”
The NDIA has also announced its intention to increase payments for short-term accommodation – respite services that enable family carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities. The new rates will be variable, reflecting the higher wages payable at weekends and public holidays and support levels required by some NDIS participants. The new rates will take effect from the end of October.
“The NDIA deserves credit for responding to the critical issue of short-term accommodation,” said Dr Baker. “The closure of respite services would have been disastrous for families and people with disability. Swift action was needed to avert this serious risk.”
Dr Baker concluded: “The NDIS is a critical reform and we need to get it right. We are optimistic that these changes are a positive move in the right direction to getting the NDIS on track.”