More Australians Accessing NDIS But Concerns Remain
Wednesday, 22nd November 2017 at 12:07 pm
Almost 120,000 Australians now have access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) according to the latest quarterly report, but disability advocates warn that South Australia is falling behind in the roll-out and “getting a raw deal”.
The National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) NDIS Quarterly Report for 1 July to 30 September 2017, showed that 119,501 Australians are receiving support under the scheme.
NDIS recipients are heavily concentrated in New South Wales, with 58,367 people on approved plans across the state
The next best performing state is Victoria with 18,826 recipients, followed by Queensland with 9,237 participants.
New survey data included in the report found that 84 per cent of participants in the quarter rated their experience either good or very good.
NDIA CEO Robert De Luca said the data demonstrated the national roll-out of the NDIS was on-track and performing well.
“The NDIS is now delivering support to almost 120,000 Australians and is making steady progress in delivering this significant national reform,” De Luca said.
“These results demonstrate the NDIS is supporting Australians with disability to participate in the community, increase their independence and exercise greater choice and control.”
But disability advocates in South Australia have said thousands of people across the state have been approved for NDIS access, but are going without vital services.
The leader of the Dignity Party, MLC Kelly Vincent, said the roll-out in South Australia had not been ideal.
“While I am a strong supporter of the NDIS, it is clear that South Australians are getting a raw deal when it comes to responsible management and collaboration between the state and federal governments,” Vincent said.
“The complaints to my office about sub-par planning processes, delays in planning and approvals and extensive waits for equipment and home modifications continue.
“The new figures show that South Australia is nearly 800 people short of our bilateral target for expected participants. Additionally, there’s more than 4,000 people either still waiting for a plan, plan review or with other complications. We wanted the NDIS to make waiting lists a thing of the past.”
Vincent said the state government must use the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to get better outcomes for South Australia.
“Forums such as COAG often result in substantive action taken by our leaders on other issues that are considered high priority in this state. I’m calling on premier Jay Weatherill and disability minister Katrine Hildyard to finally prioritise disability, or be prepared to explain why they have not,” Vincent said.
“While we were early adopters of the NDIS, as a small state, the government needs to constantly assert our rights to access our fair share of funding and timely service now that disability supports are federally coordinated rather than provided at state level.
“I have had only a couple of days to process these figures, but I would like to think that minister Hildyard read the report three weeks ago when it was lodged with COAG, and is ready to announce the government’s plan to remedy this situation. South Australians know only too well what can happen when reports aren’t heeded by the responsible minister, as we have seen in recent times.”
This comes as the NDIA announced the initial pilot of a new NDIS pathway “to significantly improve the experience people and providers have with the NDIS”.
De Luca said the pilot would test key parts of the new pathway through a mix of new and existing NDIS sites and partner networks.
“The pilot will start in Victoria North and Victoria East in partnership with Brotherhood of St Laurence and Latrobe Community Health Services… who are well positioned to help us test and refine the changes we’re making,” he said.
“The pilot will focus on the following stages of the new pathway – learning about the NDIS and how it fits in the broader system of supports, understanding current supports and preparing for planning, creating a plan to achieve goals and receiving an approved plan.
“Having learned from the past, elements of the new pathway will be progressively piloted and tested over the coming months before being rolled out nationally. We will continue to engage with stakeholders as we refine and implement the new pathway.”