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Speaker: Australia's NDIS: Great ideas, political whim and faith

15 Responses

  • Hilary Stace,

    Here is a positive story about the NDIS from the website Every Australian counts

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Already received a response from Australia saying it is still very early days for the NDIS and some of my conclusions - from my Sydney informants - are unfair. Awaiting more information.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    and some of my conclusions – from my Sydney informants – are unfair.

    Tell Australia to harden the fudge up, Hilary.

    I recall the the jubilation from various DPOs here in Godzone when NDIS was floated, and I also recall being castigated for advising that the 'envy' was put on hold until we all saw how it was implemented.

    What you describe here is exactly what I have heard from various Aussies travelling here. ( A lot of 'em hire camper vans . ) For those not covered by the Motor Vehicle Insurance scheme, NDIS offered real hope for many struggling to get even the most basic of supports in their own homes. (The residential care providers were going gangbusters, however, warehousing of disabled being so much more cost effective.)

    The reality has been bitterly disappointing. Where NDIS has been rolled out, the bureaucracy has been punishing and the support allocation has been largely laughable.The so called competition that would lead to better care provision has not eventuated...and one woman told me that some providers choose to decline to enter into support contracts if they perceive the client to be too challenging.

    All sounds depressingly familiar.

    As you say, Hilary, here in NZ it would not be too great a challenge to extend ACC to cover all disabilities regardless of cause.

    One administration, one set of assessment guidelines and equal, legislated entitlements.

    One could. perhaps, retain the lump sum payments for those injured through accidents caused by others....

    However....it's a pipe dream. In my experience, your average ACC client under the NSIS would feel most aggrieved if their privileged positions were undermined. In the Spinal Cord Impairment community, the average ACC tetra cares not a damn that others not on ACC are on such a shitty wicket. They really do have a huge ignorance of the situation for their non ACC peers.

    Great post, Hilary.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    And this from the inimitable Kirsty Johnston...http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11478936

    Need for special education going up....and the spend on special education going paradoxically down.

    Dear, oh, dear.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Just saw that story. How dare these clowns mismanage so badly that they can't even spend what's allocated to them. And if you are struggling to recruit specialists like psychologists, how about offering them better pay or conditions - or are their colleagues warning them off working for a dysfunctional department?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    If Kirsty's numbers are correct...and I doubt her not....this is a national bleeding disgrace.

    Hilary's post says "political whim and faith"...for heaven's sake...what are these people on???

    It's about time we did an exercise to clearly show just how much was budgeted in some happy clappy press release and how much exactly was spent.

    Special ed, Funded Family Care.....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1346 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    As I mentioned I was very enthusiastic about the idea of the NDIS and surprised at the cynicism about it that I heard at the disability symposium I went to. I am open to other perspectives so was pleased to receive a response to this post from a very knowledgeable New Zealander who works in the disability sector in Australia and who thinks some of my claims are a wee bit unfair. The following is from an email to me responding to my dot points:

    * Only 10% of disabled people are currently considered to be eligible. Eligibility criteria and assessment is very tight and age restricted to under 65 (which also means certain impairments such as those with post polio syndrome which mainly affect older people are not covered). There is a tier hierarchical system of funding.

    1) There is an issue for people currently over 65 or whom acquire and impairment over 65 – but if you are a participant in the NDIS you can remain a participant after turning 65 – i.e. you stay eligible unless you would prefer the aged care support system in Australia – which you can choose. The policy argument is that people who acquire impairments over 65 have significantly different circumstances than most younger disabled people – they have often acquired some wealth etc – plus there is a superannuation and aged care system that already caters for many support needs for older people – There are plans to improve the aged care system to be more similar to the NDIS.

    2) The NDIS Act is clear that it provides support for ALL people with disability – – but the ‘tier 2’ component now known as ILC has not be rolled out in the trial sites – it will begin rolling out in July 2016. The 10% you are referring to is all people who require individualised support of some form whether it be personal support, equipment or ‘early intervention’ therapy – there is an entitlement for everyone who requires individualised support which happens to be about 10% – it is expected to be about 450,000 people which is significantly more than the 330,000 people who currently receive some support – PLUS it is more support – the budget has doubled (will be more than 20 billion)!

    * Disability and support are apparently not defined in the Act so decisions are largely left to the all powerful NDIA about who is eligible and what supports are needed.

    3) They have taken an approach somewhat consistent with the world health classification system and the UN [which] I think is very positive. It is true that the NDIA make the judgements (under rules etc) – but they can be held to account by the administrative tribunal or in court just like the ACC as there is an entitlement to “Reasonable and Necessary” support – Also we are not aware of anyone with actual support needs who has been turned away – There were a few glitches in the first few months of some trial sites that grew legendary status – but the statistics speak for themselves.

    4) To be fair it is a bit more complicated with children - especially very young children – and they are still working their way through that – Which is why it is great they are taking a leanr and build TRIAL approach in the first two years – the scheme will not start full implementation until July 2016.

    * The state government of NSW agreed to give all its budget to the federal scheme so has nothing left for monitoring or evaluation or other disability provision.

    5) This issue is still being worked through – the quality and safeguarding framework –along with a disability advocacy framework and research components are all still being negotiated by COAG – there will still be disability responsibilities lying within the State and Territory governments.

    * Housing support is provided but not housing itself – so shortages of suitable housing cause problems (like in NZ).

    6) This issue is also still being worked through – have a look at the draft housing paper which was released under the freedom of information Act/


    * There is limited success in working across sectors/silos. For example, it is still unclear how things like adaptive technology such as for children with autism who need it at home and at school, will be funded or provided.

    7) True – to an extent – I think the flexibility of the scheme will enable the most sensible approach – but I predict it will be five years at least before the NDIS and related markets and systems are working how they are supposed to – I know of some really happy customers who now have the equipment they wanted for their kids through the NDIA and take it home and to school – – I recommend this progress report – http://www.ndis.gov.au/progress-report-2015 – It is a bit of propaganda – but also shows the data about how satisfied clients are so far – also propaganda is necessary to stop the Lib govt stepping back – currently there is still a lot of public support [so/as?] the government has not touched the NDIS budget.

    * Remoteness and racism mean much of the Aboriginal population and other minority groups have minimal access to the scheme.

    8) It has only been implemented in a couple of remote sites – and they are having BIG problems –i.e. they have approved quite a few plans –but they have not been spent – possibly market failure – a lot more work is needed here -I think they need to take a community development approach and individualised funding may not be effective – but they are trialling this - this effort underway - but yeah remoteness and racism is A HUGE challenge in Australia for some aboriginal communities.

    * Advocacy and political participation which were part of the original alignment with human rights principles are contentious and not funded.

    9) As noted there is a review of advocacy funding underway.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Some problems in South Australia. There are probably several sides to this story and as Kelly Vincent says the mess needs to be sorted out http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/botched-sa-ndis-pilot-leaves-children-in-limbo/story-fn59nokw-1227439294030?sv=a0971ab52bef7ae59cf3e34ed13a0e1c

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    subscriber-only article

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    That's weird because I'm not a subscriber and it was on the DPA Facebook page in full. It was about South Australia underestimating the number of disabled children and resourcing required so they are only about half way through the initial assessment and about 2 years behind schedule.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Martin, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Nikki Kaye's response to reserves of $32b and a $2b operating surplus for the year for ACC was to announce cuts to employer and car registration levies. When Andrew Little responded by saying that the cuts should have been sooner and deeper, I emailed him suggesting that rather than cuts to levies, this was an opportune time for converting ACC into an NDIS type scheme for all disabled NZers.

    Sue Moroney, opp ACC spokesperson, eventually responded that Labour intended to hold an independent inquiry into ACC when next in Office to ensure it was fair and sustainable. This was not really addressing my point; its time for Labour Party activists with an interest in disability to get the TOR of any such inquiry extended.

    Kevin Hague, who I copied my message to, provided a far more satisfactory response saying he was on record supporting a return to the original Woodhouse Commission's vision of ACC covering all NZers and that the Greens supported an NDIS type system for NZ.

    Palmerston North • Since Mar 2015 • 25 posts Report

  • Sacha, in reply to Martin,

    My impression from a couple of conversations is that Kevin grasps the issue well, drawing on his professional health sector background as well as ACC portfolio work. Now if only he were a Minister ..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes Kevin Hague certainly gets a lot of the issues and knows about disability stuff too.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    The NDIS in financial political strife according to Australian Financial Review

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

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