ACOSS calls for constructive leadership to guarantee the NDIS as changes come before parliament

ACOSS is deeply concerned that the long-term sustainability and viability of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may be at risk, based on  discussions between different levels of government, including inaccurate references to the purpose of the scheme made recently by the responsible federal Minister.

With the Community Affairs Legislation Committee scheduled to report to the Senate today on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Amendment (Participant Service Guarantee and Other Measures) Bill, ACOSS believes it is vital that the NDIS does not become the subject of cost-cutting or blame shifting between governments, and that each party works to sustain and protect the scheme now and for the long-term.

Edwina MacDonald, Acting CEO of ACOSS, said “The NDIS is a powerful piece of social and economic reform, as impactful as the introduction of Medicare. All parties should be working to expand access to the scheme and at the very least, ensure people with disability can equitably and reliably access suitable supports through other mechanisms.

“There are still important policy conversations to be had between governments to make the scheme more accessible, fairer and more focused on those who require its support. But we must be clear that the scheme is intended to allow people with disability to fully participate in their community, as they see fit. The current policy discussion risks undermining the scheme’s foundation.

“ACOSS urges the Federal Government to demonstrate leadership with its state and territory counterparts in ensuring the NDIS is guaranteed for each participant across their life. It encourages the Federal Government to working closely and cooperatively with state and territory governments to ensure all people with disability in the community can access suitable support services.

“People who live with disability regularly experience marginalisation, discrimination, disadvantage and hardship, especially heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our national conversation should at all times be centred on how to improve the quality of their lives and the crucial role the NDIS plays in this.”