Ten Point Plan for NDIS in Aboriginal Communities
16 May 2013 at 12:11 pm
Indigenous Not for Profit, the First Peoples Disability Network and the Federal Government have launched a 10 point plan for the implementation for the NDIS in Aboriginal communities.
The First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) is the national peak disability organisation representing Aboriginal people. The organisation joined with the Minister for Families, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs and Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin in Canberra to launch the plan.
“The prevalence of disability amongst Aboriginal and Torres Islanders is significantly higher than of the general population,” the FPDN said.
A recent report by the Commonwealth Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision found that the proportion of the indigenous population 15 years and over, reporting a disability or long-term health condition was 37 per cent (102 900 people).
The proportions were similar in remote and non-remote areas.
“The advent of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) presents an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to engage for many for the first time with the disability service system in a substantive way,” the FPDN said.
“Currently most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities remain at the periphery of the disability service system. This continues to occur for a range of reasons some of which are well established however one factor that remains little understood is the reluctance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to identify as people with disability. This preference to not identify presents a fundamental barrier for the successful implementation of the NDIS.”
The First Peoples Disability Network says that it has a central role in addressing not only this fundamental barrier but also in facilitating the roll out of the NDIS more broadly into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands communities.
The FPDN argues that for positive change to happen in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities the change must be driven by community itself.
“It cannot be imposed, implied, intervened or developed with well meaning intention from an external service system that the vast majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities have little or no experience of in the first place.”
The FPDN says it has has developed a 10-point plan for the implementation of the NDIS based upon extensive consultation as well as drawing upon the decade long experience of the FPDN in advocating for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people with disabilities.
Ten Point Plan
1. Recognise that the starting point is that the vast majority of Aboriginal people with disability do not self-identify as people with disability. This occurs for a range of reasons including the fact that in traditional language there was no comparable word for disability. Also that many Aboriginal people with disability are reluctant to take on the label of disability particularly if they may already experience discrimination based on their Aboriginality. In many ways, disability is a new conversation in many communities therefore with regard to the NDIS we are starting from an absolute baseline position. And as a consequence, change in this area may evolve on a different timeline to that of the main part of the NDIS.
2. Awareness raising via a concerted outreach approach informing Aboriginal people with disabilities, their families and communities about their rights and entitlements. As well as informing Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities about the NDIS itself and how to work this new system effectively. There is simply no other way to raise awareness then by direct face-to-face consultation. Brochures and pamphlets will not do the job in this instance, a new conversation in many communities is needed.
3. Establish NDIS Expert Working Group on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People with disability and the NDIS. In recognition of the fact that there is a stand alone building block for the NDIS focused upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities, the FPDN views it not only as critical but logical that a new Expert Working Group be established focused upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities. The new working group would operate in the same way the four current working groups do, that is, it would be chaired by two members of the National People with Disability and Carers Council.
4. Build the capacity of the Non-Indigenous disability service system to meet the needs of Aboriginal people with disability in a culturally appropriate way. Legislate an additional standard into the Disability Services Act focused upon culturally appropriate service delivery and require disability services to demonstrate their cultural competencies.
5. Research into the prevalence of disability and into a range other relevant matters. Critically, this work must be undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to ensure a culturally appropriate methodology. There remains very little reference material about disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities this needs to rectified to ensure that we are getting a true picture of the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities.
6. Recognise that a workforce already exists in many Aboriginal communities that continues to do important work, often informally. This work needs to valued and recognised with the potential being the creation of employment opportunities in some communities.
7. Recognise that it’s not always about services. Many communities just need more resources so that they can continue to meet the needs of their own people with disabilities. There may be perfectly appropriate ways of supporting people already in place, however what is often lacking is access to current technologies or appropriate technical aids or sufficient training for family and community members to provide the optimum level of support.
8. Recruitment of more Aboriginal people into the disability service sector.
9. Build the capacity of the social movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with disabilities by supporting existing networks and building new ones in addition to fostering Aboriginal leaders with disabilities. These networks play a critical role in breaking down stigma that may exist in some communities but are also the conduits for change and will be integral to the successful implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
10. Aboriginal ‘Launch’ sites focused upon remote, very remote, regional and urban settings. It is critical that this major reform be done right. Therefore it is appropriate to effectively trial its implementation. To this end the FPDN can readily identify key communities that would be appropriate as trial sites.
For the full report visit: