#IT’S YOUR NDIS

Yes really; fellow human being, citizen, taxpayer, whether you have a Disability or not, or have a family member or friend with a Disability, now or at some unknown date in the future, the NDIS is all of ours! Or for those who love a hashtag   # It’s Your NDIS.

Social Policy like the NDIS, is enacted by Government as a reflection of the will of the people, these policies are not fixed givens; but should be seen as very alive and changeable, and we all have the opportunity to keep contributing to their evolution.

The NDIS is the collective dreaming of the many thousands of people, their time, their energy their sheer determination and hard work to see the idea, the vision finally become a reality.[1]

As is the current thinking in this late Capitalist society, a bureaucracy was established to implement the scheme, to manage the money and basically see the vision enacted. This is called the NDIA, and thousands of articles/millions of words have been written regarding the rollout of this scheme, and what the NDIA is getting right and what they are not doing well. Much more on that in future articles.

The message, the meme, the talking point, the take-away is: drum roll…… The NDIA does not own the National Disability Insurance Scheme, they are there to administer it, and yes they will set policy, make decisions, choose what gets funded, ultimately you me and everyone you know, own the scheme, we the citizens of this country. We that pay tax, we that vote, we have as much or as little power over the NDIS as we choose. The NDIS will reflect, will be a direct result of how much we all care, and choose to contribute to its becoming.

But hey isn’t there activists and advocates and other agitators of the professional kind doing this? Well yes and they are doing incredibly well with rapidly shrinking funding[2], (for more read this good article from DSC)) to firstly help get the NDIS up in the first place, and now to shine a light on its many deficiencies.

So that work will continue and the voice of people with a disability will be heard louder in the ears of those making the decisions, and ultimately if the NDIS really does fulfil its vision; more and more people with a disability will be the decision makers.

What can we all do to play our part whether from a sense of common solidarity or from the recognition that disability for anyone or our families is possibly only a moment away:

  • Be informed, take notice, read what is going on, go on Google this: ‘NDIS Problems’
  • Listen to the many stories now being published in news articles, Facebook pages, and the like, both positive and negative. They matter!
  • If you pay tax, think about what you are helping to fund, (for example are millions of dollars in consulting fees really the best use of your hard earned?) [3]
  • Even the treasurer Scott Morrison agrees with this: “To ensure the NDIS is fully funded we will legislate to increase the Medicare Levy by 0.5 percentage points in two years’ time, when the extra bills start coming in.This will also provide further time to explain to Australians what the NDIS will deliver. Even if we are not impacted directly, this is all our responsibility. Our decision to increase the Levy reflects the fact that all Australians have a role to play.”[4]
  • Get involved in campaigns like “Stand by me “This is a vital campaign highlighting the perilous state of advocacy funding at this point in time. It seeks to ensure the continuation of Advocacy funding in NSW once the State Government ceases there funding of it this year.[5] This is part of an overall campaign to raise awareness of Disability Advocacy called “Advocacy Matters”.
  • Get to know your local MP. You are paying their wages, they are there to represent you and to reflect the will of their communities. So let them know your thoughts on the NDIS as it continues to evolve, as well as other social issues.

The Senate Estimates committee, has one of its roles of looking into how the NDIS is being delivered. If you have the time to read their transcripts, it gives some great insight into the current thinking of the people running the NDIA, (or there public face). It includes questions from a senator about a constituent they are representing, which reiterates the fact that MP’s do actually often respond to the needs of their electorate.

Robert De Luca the new NDIA CEO appeared recently before the committee, and in summary said many encouraging positive words about listening to feedback, making changes, and particularly about helping the NDIA achieve better participant outcomes.

“The NDIA is a relatively young organisation. We have a large and complex task ahead of us with no template to follow. It is clear that we need to grow and evolve in order to deliver a world-leading NDIS….”[6]

So let’s all commit to playing our part, and help Mr De Luca to make the NDIS a ‘world leading’ scheme!

 

[1] http://www.everyaustraliancounts.com.au/

[2] http://www.disabilityservicesconsulting.com.au/resources/2017/8/13/nsw-and-the-ndis-excuse

[3] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-25/ndis-disability-scheme-has-cost-30m-in-consultants/8980300

[4] Scott Morrison quoted in his  2017 Budget Speech

[5] http://standbyme.org.au/

[6] https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/ca/2017-18_Supplementary_Budget_estimates/socialservices