On 9 July, federal, state and territory disability ministers met to debate a proposal to introduce independent assessments into the National Insurance Disability Scheme. The proposal attracted strong backlash from the disability community, resulting in 320 submissions to the NDIS Joint Standing Committee from a range of individuals, advocacy organisations, academics and more.
Ahead of this meeting, SACOSS joined our colleagues from the COSS network in echoing calls against the Federal Government's attempts to reform the NDIS without proper consultation from the disability community. This included the release of an open statement to the Minister for the NDIS, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC.
SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley commented: “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."
Under independent assessments, government-contracted health professionals would have examined individuals’ disabilities and therefore their eligibility for funding, and the rate of that funding. At the moment, those assessments are made by people’s own medical specialists.
Many advocates from the disability community argued that independent assessments were dehumanising and could lead to inappropriate plans, with a significant risk of traumatising participants.
Following this meeting, NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds confirmed that the federal government would not introduce independent functional assessments or other controversial reforms to the NDIS scheme.
While we celebrate this huge win for the disability community, there is still much to be done to ensure the NDIS remains true to the values of empowerment, choice and control that it was built on. We invite you to sign onto the open statement and help us protect the NDIS, and to advocate for keeping people with disability at the centre of the Scheme.
More information and updates:
- Department of Social Services - Disability Reform Ministers’ Meetings
- Disability sector celebrates after Coalition forced to scrap NDIS independent assessments (The Guardian)
- ‘Nothing about us without us’: The government should include the disabled when reforming the NDIS (The Age)
- Linda Reynolds apologies for concern caused by NDIS independent assessments (ABC News, RN Drive)