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Disability, Medical Health Aged Care

Disability Advocates Remind Australia that Legislation Change is Not Required to Fix Much of What is Needed to Get NDIS Right

Mr River Night and Developing Australian Communities 3 mins read
Mr River Night - National Disability Sector Advocate

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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 and is available to travel.

Mr Night is an adult Living with Disability, a National Disability Sector Advocate, carer, father and outspoken supporter for reform and improvements in the Disability and NDIS sector with a 30+ year career working across Disability, Youth Justice, Guardianship, Child Safety, Education, TAFE, Aged Care, Forensics Disability and Mental Health sectors.

 

"As we listen to the latest arguments in the senate, many people living with disability, advocates and sector leaders wait patiently for changes that are desperately needed, that require zero legislative amendment", said Mr River Night today. 

 

"After years of a Royal Commission and a NDIS review, I really thought we would be further along by now with fixing the basic things we have to get right to protect and support the 4.4 Million Australian's living with disability. 

"Automation instead of face to face reviews for intelligent decision making, checks and balances is not dependant on legislation. We started off doing this and it has been scrapped in favour of automation to help scale up. NDIS is not manufacturing cars, so we cant take this approach without a major human impact. 

“Many of the procedure changes we have seen that have resulted in a lack of safeguards, checks and balances, over servicing, over spending and risks of rorting are just that, procedure changes. Much of that does not require legislation to fix.

“Sitting down face to face and talking to participants and their service providers once a year at least to renew and approve a new plan worth hundreds of thousands of dollars may sound like a lot of work. If it saves us billions of dollars in unnecessary spending, makes it harder to rort the system and improves safeguards it is actually the smarter and cheaper way to do things. It saves time, so let’s do it now.

“Participants being told their plan is about to be reviewed, having a conversation with providers involved and the Guardians, reviewing evidence and asking some key questions is standard practice for good case work and due diligence. The suggestion this requires legislation amendment to do is untrue.

“Hearing the Hon Mr Bill Shorten talk about the urgency for the senate to consider the latest bill, as automation and poor decisions making at time of review is costing us billions, was odd given there is nothing in the current NDIS legislation to suggest poor decisions and automation should be occurring in the first place.

“There are real reasons for legislation change. When we hear comments about areas that have to be urgently improved, that require zero legislation reform, being held up with legislation as the excuse, it creates confusion.

“Legislation is not required to reintroduce face to face plan reviews and insist on better quality decision making and checks. We used to do them and they were ceased.

“A friend of mine that receives over $400 000 a year in NDIS funding, due to complex support needs, hasn’t talked to or heard from a NDIS delegate for over 2 and a half years and doesn’t even know when her plans are reviewed and a new one approved, because they receive no communication. They may not even need those funds anymore but NDIS hasn’t even asked the question for 3 plans in a row now. This is not legislation, this is poor process that any organisation could change in a heart beat without legislative amendment.  

“What the sector is calling out for is old school, good, professional practice, checks and balances. Can we not put our energy into this while legislation for big picture amendments is debated?

"We have local NDIS offices still so why do we have to talk to faceless delegates 2 states away and not be allowed to email or phone locals that know our regions and can also help us connect to local foundational services that don't need NDIS funds. 

“The cost of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation on the Australian economy is already in the tens of billions a year on top of NDIS and Medicare spending. That alone should make urgent change a priority.

 

With the largest event for the Disability and NDIS sector in Australia's history about to be held in Perth, 16-17 August 2024, it is a time the whole of Australia is connecting and looking at how we get the NDIS and state foundational services right. With hundreds of key organisations and thousands of participants attending we are seeing an unprecedented level of collaboration to get this right. 

Information about the 2024 Perth Disability Connection Expo, sponsored by St Jude's NDIS can be found here https://developingauscommunities.com.au/perth-expo-2024/


Contact details:

M 0401429403

E media@dacexpo.com.au 

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