The NDIS Rollout – More than an inconvenience for too many

As anyone who reads my blogs knows, I am a massive fan of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – once it is rolled out and working properly.

What you may not be aware of is that I am extremely nervous about the journey in getting to that point.
I regularly mention in the Imagine Better workshop that I see the process of the NDIS as a long renovation that will produce a much better product than it was before the renovation. And like with any renovation, we are going to have to put up with the mess and inconvenience whilst the renovations are happening.

What I failed to mention is that whilst we are being inconvenienced, we still have a roof over our heads and we are not in any danger of falling off the edge.

Since the introduction of the roll out of the NDIS I have heard some frightening things that are happening, including:

  • A 15km limit on the distance you are allowed to travel to get a service and that service providers are allowed to travel to a client.
  • Services being removed from a person before the NDIS is in place – leaving people with nothing.
  • Inexperienced planners preparing incorrect plans and people being left out in the cold with nothing and nowhere to go to get help or answers.
  • Making self-management of the funds so convoluted and paperwork heavy that no client can navigate them.
Although there is a phone number you can call, unfortunately I know from experience that the wait on hold time is insane. I was on hold for 96 minutes and in the end I gave up!

I seriously hope these are isolated issues that are being resolved very quickly, as they are completely unacceptable.

If even a few of these issues are true, many people are going to be tipped over the edge and there will be many more bushfires to put out in the disability community. There are already so many vulnerable people trying to keep it together, it really won’t take much to have them lose their grip on that tiny piece of string that barely holds them together.

I have a dream that the NDIS will be the end of a crisis to crisis driven industry – as the current system is. We are not helped until there is a crisis and because the crisis is being created by not helping those who just need a little bit of help, the crisis are not being managed, as there are too many that the system has created.
The NDIS is meant to be all about giving people with a disability the power to live their lives with dignity, empowerment and choice. It was conceived to remove the shackles of the antiquated system we have endured for far too many years.

As the Productivity Commission said in their report: ‘The system in place now is so broken it needs to be thrown out and completely started again.' Hence the introduction of the NDIS.

Please don’t make this a repeat of the old system with even more pain. People with a disability and their carers deserve more than the scrap heap. We deserve a safety net to be put in place to ensure we are not worse off whilst this mess is sorted out.

Come on powers that be, get working on a transition with dignity – because we certainly deserve it!

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