The NDIS Policy was introduced during the dying hours of the Gillard Government in 2013. It was rushed and, as with all rushed legislation, did not make for a well thought out scheme.
The scheme is ostensibly funded and managed on a 50/50 basis. The States provide the majority of face to face contact with overall administration handled by the Federal Government.
As with any of these areas of combined State/Federal responsibility, blame for problems with the scheme defaults to the Federal Government and States do nothing to change public perspectives.
Most Participants will confirm that the NDIS has changed their lives. But that is what leaves them even more vulnerable than before, the fear that losing that support would plunge them back into that feeling that they were among the forgotten Australians.
The result is an NDIS Policy scheme where Participants are uncertain of their future and see the NDIA as the enemy. The request for the funding process has been likened to begging for pocket money. Participants live in fear of their reviews and feel the NDIA will take it away at any opportunity.
In 2021, the LNP introduced legislation to remedy this. They were flooded with submissions (mainly from Service Providers) and Participants panicked. Its detractors preyed on their fears that it was all an attempt to reduce their funding.
The legislation was badly written (yet again), but its main aims were sound.
There are more Participants in higher socioeconomic levels and they got more funding as well!
These issues still need to be addressed, but they can’t be without legislative change to the NDIS Policy and a solution still needs to be found.
At the same time, we see the following issues that need to be changed.
The NDIA is moving service coordinator functions to LACs, which is a big move towards making sure this support is available to all Participants where direct funding is not included in their plan, but it is vital that they also provide fund management assistance. It cannot also be expected of LACs, they are 2 very different skill sets.
The NDIS is a growing ‘drain’ on both Federal and State coffers. NDIS Policy needs proper financial management is vital for both Participants and the government and yet the Pricing Guidelines provide almost negligible funding for this aspect of a Participant’s funding.
A fixed fee of $100/mth on a plan ensures that those with larger plans are unable to get the financial overview their plan requires. They make the same mistake so many corporates have made in the past. Failure to recognise that financial oversight and management are the keys to efficient and effective use of funding, failure to recognise only leads to inefficiencies and misuse of funds.
Our plan involves the following;
To be done by Allied Health Professionals, who already know the applicant, using the standard assessment tools already identified, including statements from the applicant and other interested parties.
NDIA to advise Participants who are receiving disproportionately high funding levels in relation to the average with a view to bringing them back toward the average and increasing funding for those on the lower end.
Fund Managers and Service Coordinators (as Plan Supporters) to be held responsible for ensuring the proper support of participants with a view to ensuring they are protected from abuse and neglectable to achieve the most from their funding
Fund Management funding and fees are based on a % of total funding (not a fixed amount).
NDIS Policy Plan must not be in any way linked to those providing services to a Participant. Provide Fund Management support in parallel to LACs through the current provider network where separate funding is not included in a plan
Service providers who do not provide services to the benefit and satisfaction of Participants and their Plan supporters are held responsible for these failures. Restrictive clauses in Service Agreements to be removed.
NDIA to be charged with finding ways to better employ the disabled including part-time positions AT ALL LEVELS, flexible working hours and the concept of a nationwide office environment to encourage other employers (public and private) to do the same. Ensure substantial tax incentives to businesses whose workforce is more than 50% disabled or above 50 years old.