Ahead of a meeting of state and territory disability ministers with the Federal Minister for the NDIS tomorrow, the Councils of Social Service from across Australia are echoing calls of people with disability against the federal attempt to weaken the NDIS.
The Federal Government is considering, and in some cases already enacting, changes that would change the entire character of the NDIS: independent functional capacity-based assessments, changes to entitlement-based supports, changes to goal-based planning and changes to the types of supports and impairments which are included under the scheme.
Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie said: “People with disabilities, carers and families have been clearly united in opposition to these changes for more than a year, articulating their concerns that they would remove vital supports, traumatise people in the scheme, remove a rights-based approach to disability supports and disadvantage some of the people with greatest need. Despite a change in consultation style, it is clear that the Federal Government remains intent on changes that are strongly opposed by people with disability and their organisations.”
Western Australian Council of Social Service CEO Louise Giolitto said: “It is crucial that all governments work together to protect the integrity of the NDIS – an historic Australian social reform of the 21st Century in the footsteps of Medicare.”
ACT Council of Social Service CEO Emma Campbell said: “Independent assessments can see people with disability forced into explaining the support they need to a stranger in just a couple of hours, with the threat of losing their NDIS funding hanging over them. There is clear evidence, including from the Federal Government’s own pilots, that the independent assessments do not have support from people with disability.
New South Wales Council of Social Service CEO Joanna Quilty said: “The NDIS has come about thanks to the vision and persistence of people with disability and families who worked for decades to build a proper system of supports. It must not be weakened through changes that the disability community so clearly opposes.
Northern Territory Council of Social Service CEO Deborah Di Natale said: “We are calling on all governments to recommit to keeping people with disability at the centre of the NDIS. All territory and state governments should demand that the Federal Government immediately stop the roll-out of proposed changes and go back to the drawing board.
Queensland Council of Social Service CEO Aimee McVeigh said: “The NDIS has the support of millions of Australians who time and again have shown they want a better deal for people with disability and families. It must remain true to the values of empowerment, choice and control.
South Australian Council of Social Service CEO Ross Womersley said: “Instead of weakening the NDIS through changes that don’t have support from people with disability, the Federal Government should be working to improve it through genuine consultation as set out by organisations led by people with disability.
Tasmanian Council of Social Service CEO Adrienne Picone said: “We also oppose any moves to remove decision making about the NDIS from the states and territories. The changes the Federal Government is putting forward weaken state and territory input in the NDIS despite states and territories continuing to fund the scheme.
Victorian Council of Social Service CEO Emma King said: “Not only do the changes proposed fly in the face of united and direct representations from a range of disability advocates, we know that reductions in NDIS services will increase demand for health, education, housing and transport services, leaving states and territories to fill gaps created by federal cutbacks.