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Disability, Medical Health Aged Care

Disability Sector Advocates Fuming at Federal and State Clash Over Clear Responsibilities and NDIS

Mr River Night and Developing Australian Communities 4 mins read
Mr River Night, National Disability Sector Advocate and Cofounder at Developing Australian Communities

Available for Comment 

Immediate Release 

Radio - Live, Prerecorded and Talk-back 




Mr River Night 

Leading National Disability Sector Advocate

Co-founder at Developing Australian Communities 

Public Officer at the National Disability Leadership Organisation

Mr Night is physically located in Brisbane this week


Mr Night is a National Disability Sector Advocate and outspoken supporter for reform and improvements in the Disability and NDIS sector and has worked across Disability, Youth Justice, Guardianship, Child Safety, Education, TAFE, Aged Care, Forensics Disability and Mental Health over 30 years.

Mr River Night has been working with disability groups and organisations across Australia and today said he was deeply disappointed by the current political rhetoric he is hearing regarding funding, disability services and responsibilities.

“Disability funding and departments in each state were not responsible for Medicare funded services, health, education and allied health services pre-NDIS and they still are not. Yet what we see is this thinking that because we have NDIS supporting around 10% of Australian’s living with disability all those other state services are somehow no longer required and can be scaled back”, said Mr Night today.

“Professionals like psychologists, OT’s, physiotherapy, early intervention in schools, school guidance officers and professionals supporting our teachers throughout educational institutions, hospitals and specialists like paediatricians, neurologists and psychiatrists, hospital-based clinics, community health services, community mental health and mental health services, general community services, forensic and justice-based program were not funded by State Disability Service Departments.

“The services funded by our State Disability Department budgets are rightly now in the hands of NDIS but that doesn’t mean all the other services states have always delivered and continue to, can save a buck by reducing their programs and spending and prioritising services expecting NDIS to do all.

“One of our biggest issues is that an individualised only approach like NDIS, is the most expensive way to deliver many types of services, such as, professional, or clinical services because they are external to other stakeholders.  

“When NDIS rolled out, we lost the local disability service contact point that case managed and supported people in a human way, networked with other local services from other areas like education, health and community programs and do things as smart and effectively with funds as possible.

“The local coordination role was the glue that connected everything around a person with complex needs, because most people with a diagnosis requiring significant support, will require a range of disability and mainstream services working together.

“The role of LAC’s or Support Coordinators should have continued that local case manager role and local coordination, but those roles have been hijacked and limited with the NDIS role out. 

“The loss of local knowledge and local level case support and coordination has resulted in a disconnect that costs Australian’s billions in double up of services, silo services that don’t work together and get the best out of every dollar spent.

“People living with disability don’t want more and more money spent on inefficient and ineffective service options and approaches. We want a good, coordinated health care system.

“Our pre-NDIS systems were struggling already but they were replaced with an even more disconnected, federal program, we lost the local coordinated response, we lost the human part of human services and we lost the capacity of the ‘system’ to respond in real time to crisis and changes.

“We could easily save billions if we planned directly with people, had a system where all agencies worked together easily, and it was coordinated by a local professional. It’s not rocket science!

“As part of the NDIS review outcome planning and the response to the 222 recommendations from the Royal Commission, I am demanding urgent reintroduction of local coordination and case management, not just to ensure funds are used effectively but to ensure the model NDIS was originally designed to deliver is done and to safeguard people from the shonky providers.

“When a local case manager brings together all the services in a person’s life with that person, looks at what is happening, what works and does not work and knows exactly what is really occurring, it makes it very hard for dodgy providers to hide. How is a NDIS planner 2 states away going to have a clue what is going on.

“While we argue about who is responsible for doing their own job at state or federal levels and why we can’t all just work together effectively, I am demanding the immediate increase of community visitors to visit every single group home and out of home accommodation setting and checking on how things are being done. Those experiencing abuse, neglect, violence, and exploitation can’t wait another day.

"The roll out of NDIS removed many of the essential local safeguards that were struggling to cope anyway, so seeing them disappear completely has resulted in the fraud and abuse free for all we have seen through the Royal Commission report. 

“We have seen from the Royal Commission that the cost to the Australian taxpayer and voter of not ensuring safeguards costs billions more every year that the entire NDIS budget. This makes the issue of cost mute. In fact, prioritising safeguard immediate will safe us billions. 

“Stop playing ‘hot potato’ with the lives of people living with disability and remember there are 4.4 million Australian’s living with disability and only a small percent of those access NDIS. It is not the answer to the majority accessing state-based programs that already exist.

“Removing the face to face, local level coordination of funding and funded services from a variety of agencies has been catastrophic to the NDIS budget and spending.

“Axing services for carers and to support families in the caring role, has devastated the informal supports and capacity of unfunded relationships, which traditionally were the buffer and the only thing preventing some people with complex needed entering full time institutional styled groups homes costing 100 times more.

“With so many of the local buffers and safeguards removed no wonder the NDIS budget is skyrocketing.

“We need to work smart not hard. I know Mr Shorten and each of the state leaders would all agree, so let’s cut out the volleyball game throwing these solutions and each agency’s responsibilities back and forth.

Contact details:

M 0401429403 



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