Australian Politics is NOT something we generally associate our supports with however, over the last week we have received several questions about what the change in government means for NDIS Participants and their families, so here goes!
As most of you know, the Labor Party have now formed a majority government, and Labor ministers have been sworn in.
Some of you may remember Bill Shorten as Opposition and leader of the Australian Labor Party from 2013 to 2019. In the last week, Bill Shorten has been sworn in as the Minister for Government Services and Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
So, what does this mean for you?
Anthony Albanese, the current Prime Minister has made public his commitment to protecting the vulnerable people within our communities - women, victims of domestic violence, people who are homeless, and people living with a disability.
As part of their commitment, the labor party have committed to their 6-point strategy which applies to the NDIS Scheme. The 6-point scheme promises to:
Re-Vamp The Scheme
Labor are promising to address issues that relate to the operation of the NDIS and ensure solutions are co-designed with people living with a disability, their friends, families, carers, and providers.
Labor have promised to increase the number of people with disability on the NDIA executive and board so the voice and experience of participants is returned to the scheme.
Labour have proposed governance with people with disability and their families and State and Territory Governments, and ensure the scheme is working with mainstream services.
Transparency - Data & Publishing
The Labor party have committed to ensuring changes to the NDIS are transparent in order to re-build the trust been the NDIA and people living with a disability, their friends, family, carers, and providers.
They have promised to ensure data relating to the NDIS is published to ensure the NDIS is accurately monitored and regularly evaluated.
Labor are promising to identify gaps in the current evidence base relating to the NDIS, and have committed to gathering more information, data, and research.
Reducing waste in the system by lifting the NDIA staffing cap
Reducing waste by reducing service provider fraud
Reducing waste by reducing spending on external lawyers and consultants.
Fixing the planning pathway and appeals to make NDIS decision-making more efficient, fair, and investment focused.
Ensuring plans are designed effectively in the initial planning stages, to proactively avoid S100 reviews and tribunal hearings.
Pause the current changes to Supported Independent Living (SIL) that are being progressed by the Morrison Government without proper consultation.
Investigate the $500 million Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) underspend to ensure people with disability can access appropriate housing.
Strengthen the disability services sector with a review of NDIS pricing, markets and compliance, and develop a comprehensive NDIS workforce strategy.
Appoint a senior officer within the NDIA to tackle the barriers to service delivery in remote areas of Australia and other areas.
Investigate the NDIA Call Centre operation so participants and their families get the best possible service.
Will It Happen?
That's the million dollar question and a question no one can answer at this stage.
Positively, Bill Shorten - whether you love him or hate him, was central to the establishment and formation of the NDIS in its initial roll out in Australia in 2013. Since 2019 he has been shadow Minister for the NDIS and so, he is absolutely familiar with the NDIS Commission, its purpose, and its current short falls.
Hopefully, for people living with a disability, their parents, family members, friends, carers, and providers - this means we may see some positive change ahead.
Stay tuned for further industry updates as they come.