MEDIA RELEASE: We all want a sustainable and viable NDIS but mandatory independent assessments are not the way

Queenslanders with disability, their families, supporters and service providers are clear that a sustainable and viable NDIS is important to everyone, but do not support that the proposed NDIS reforms or compulsory independent assessments are the way of achieving this. The NDIS is changing the lives of Queenslanders with disability and the broader community, including 45,000 Queenslanders who are for the very first time getting much needed disability support. Australian’s supported the introduction of the NDIS. We heard that the system needed to change and Australian’s said yes to the NDIS to ensure people with disability can access the individual supports they need and have choice and control over their services.

On Friday 9 July, Disability Ministers from across Australia are coming together to meet with the Commonwealth at the Disability Reform Council (DRC) meeting to discuss the proposed NDIS reforms. There has been broad community feedback the introduction of compulsory independent assessments for NDIS participants and the broader changes are not supported.

It is important that State, Territory and Commonwealth Ministers are listening to people with disability, their families and the sector about what is going to work to deliver a world class, quality and sustainable NDIS. Any changes and reforms must involve people with disability, families and the disability sector in the design and discussion.

As a coalition of seven organisations who hosted the online forum, ”we are pleased that the Queensland Disability Minister, Hon Craig Crawford MP, Minister for Seniors, Disability Services and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships has listened to Queenslanders and is not supporting the reforms at the DRC meeting on Friday 9 July.”

Minister Crawford said, “We are opposed to mandatory independent assessments in their current form. We are not opposed to good ideas, but any changes around scheme sustainability needs to include people with disability, their families and the sector at the table to inform and co-design the approach. The Palaszczuk Government will continue to listen to Queenslanders and does not support the current NDIS reforms.”

On the 19 May 2021, a collaboration of sector peak bodies, advocacy and disability organisations came together to host an online forum – Pause, Reset, Co-design NDIS Reforms. Almost 250 registered participants that included people with disability, family members, supporters and service providers came together to discuss the current NDIS reforms on the table. The clear message from this forum to the Queensland Government was that mandatory independent assessments and a one-size fits all approach was not supported. The message from people was that in their current form, these NDIS reforms will destroy the scheme’s fundamental foundation of support based on individual needs and choice and control around services and supports.

A sustainable and viable NDIS is in the best interests of people with disability and their families. It is in the best interests of the fastest growing sector delivering disability services and supports. It is also in the best interests of the Australian community, delivering not only essential and fundamental supports to people with disability so they can live their day to day lives, but also economic contributions to communities delivering jobs and spending.

It is important that we work together. People and their families who use the services and the people who deliver the supports are best able to inform what changes need to happen to make it work for everyone. A one-size fits all approach is not going to work.

Queenslanders with disability, families, supporters and providers will continue to work with all levels of Government to ensure the NDIS remains focused on people as individuals delivering choice and control and access to essential everyday supports.

Media contacts:

Paige Armstrong, Queenslanders with Disability Network  ceo@qdn.org.au  0408 720 099

Collaboration of sector peak bodies, advocacy and disability organisations:

Queenslanders with Disability Network

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health

ADA Australia – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Queensland

National Disability Services

Community Services Industry Alliance

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

Parent to Parent Queensland

Queenslanders with Disability Network, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, ADA Australia Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Network of Queensland, National Disability Services, Community Services Industry Alliance, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated, Parent to Parent Queensland