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Time to overhaul "outdated" National Disability Agreement

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The peak body for disability providers has welcomed calls by the Productivity Commission for a “new and reinvigorated” National Disability Agreement (NDA) to guide national disability policy.

The NDA sets out the roles and responsibilities of the commonwealth and states for how support services will be provided and funded for people with disability.

National Disability Services (NDS) CEO Chris Tanti said the Commission’s report recommend more clarity around the roles and responsibilities of governments and more accountability.

“We are really pleased that this Productivity Commission Review calls out state governments and confirms what disability service providers, people with disability and their families and carers have been telling us,” Mr Tanti said.

“Since the NDA was signed in 2008 we have seen unprecedented change in the sector with the rollout of the NDIS. A new NDA is long overdue.

“Indicators of outcomes for people with disability across health, employment, housing, education and skills haven’t improved since the Disability Strategy was agreed, and in some cases for example, employment have worsened. 

“More frequent monitoring and evaluation of the agreement will raise its profile during a critical time for disability policy reform.

“We also clearly support the reorienting of the NDA as a person-centred document that reflects the shift already underway to put people with disability, their families and carers at the centre of services and support.” 

Mr Tanti said more clarity about the roles and responsibilities will be welcomed by service providers who often find themselves supporting people dealing with the gaps, cracks and overlaps between specialist disability services and mainstream services.

“Only 10 per cent of people with disability are likely to be eligible for an individual NDIS package but there are more than 4 million Australians with disability who are not eligible for NDIS support that are needing to be acknowledged,” Mr Tanti said. 

“The NDA is the most appropriate mechanism for linking the National Disability Strategy, core elements of the NDIS bilateral agreements and other government commitments directed at creating an inclusive society for people with disability. 

“For Australia to be truly inclusive, supportive and fair for everyone, we must make sure no-one with disability is excluded from appropriate services because they are not eligible for an NDIS package or because supports are inconsistent across states and territories.”

Mr Tanti said NDS particularly welcomed the recommendation asking for governments to articulate and publish which programs are rolling into the NDIS and how they will support people with disability who are not covered. 

“In addition, we agree with a comprehensive gap analysis through the COAG Disability Reform Council and the new NDA outlining responsibilities for addressing any gaps,” he said. 

Disability community advocacy groups – Every Australian Counts and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (ADFO) have also supported the findings of the Productivity Commission Review findings.

NDS is the peak body for non-government disability service organisations and is the only organisation that represents the full spectrum of disability service providers across Australia.

Contact information
Annette Glenister, Head of Government Relations and Communications, 03 8341 4394, submit enquiry/feedback