The Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT (MHCC ACT) together with ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS), Advocacy for Inclusion, Carers ACT and ACT Disability Aged Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS), call on Disability Reform Ministers to oppose changes to the NDIS.
Bec Cody, MHCC ACT CEO, states “Next week Disability Ministers from across the States and Territories will meet with the Commonwealth Disability Minister to discuss proposed changes to the NDIS. The introduction of mandatory Independent Assessments is one of the key changes and presents significant concerns about the impacts these will have on participants.”
“Minister Reynolds will be trying to get an in-principle agreement on the changes to the NDIS. But there are still far too many unknowns and a lack of transparency in the decision-making process to agree at this stage.”
“MHCC ACT stands in support of Minister for Disability Emma Davidson seeking further consultation and much greater transparency on the Independent Assessments, as well as other possible changes.”
“Some of the primary concerns from the community sector around Independent Assessments are the lack of consultation with participants and the community sector and the potential for trauma and inaccurate results this proposed process may lead to” says Bec Cody.
The Head of Policy for ACTCOSS Craig Wallace said that “the Government needs to listen to people with disability and families, scrap these changes and start again. Using a crude, impersonal tool to determine access to the scheme will harm the people the scheme is meant to support and will also mean that people denied NDIS support will be forced to try and access stretched services in health, education, acute services, justice, housing, mental health, community transport and many other services and programs”
Advocacy for Inclusion CEO, Nicolas Lawler states “Proposed reforms to the NDIS have the potential to completely alter the intent of the NDIS and remove choice and control from people with disability. The continued push for these reforms to go ahead without adequately addressing widespread concerns and opposition, or engaging in true codesign with people with disabilities has resulted in mistrust towards the National Disability Insurance Agency and has caused significant distress to many people with disability, their families and supporters. These reforms cannot be allowed to progress without addressing the widespread concerns and providing a full commitment to transparent engagement and actual codesign with people with disability.”
ADACAS CEO, Wendy Prowse states, “The Australian public voted for a NDIS that was about choice and control for people with disability. The approach to designing the NDIS reforms has not been in good faith and de-humanising. Reforms need to be co-designed with people with disability, carers, disability representatives and advocacy organisations. The current approach is likely to harm and not help the people the scheme was designed to assist. We need to stop and start again as the impact on people with disability is too great.”
Carers ACT CEO, Lisa Kelly said that "Any changes to NDIS processes or funding has a significant impact on informal carers. As the third pillar of the foundation of the NDIS it is imperative that any future changes to the scheme are strongly influenced by the voices of family carers along with those of people living with disabilities. It is not appropriate for the system to continually change and add stress to carers who are already doing so much of the heavy lifting of the impact that occurs when the voices of carers and people with disability are not heard."
Bec Cody goes on to say, “We as peak bodies for community, disability and mental health sectors urge the decision makers in this matter to support the protection of choice and control in the NDIS by saying no to these changes and no to Independent Assessments.”
Media Contact: Bec Cody, Chief Executive Officer
(02) 5104 7716, Bec.Cody@mhccact.org.au
Communications Officer: Alison Hall, (02) 5104 7711
MHCC ACT is the peak body for community mental health services in the ACT. Find out more about MHCC ACT at www.mhccact.org.au.