Opinion: NDIS: A Plane With No Pilot
Vanessa Toy and Roland Naufal, Pro Bono News, 17 May 2017
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a world leading approach to support for people with disability, exceptional in its principles and intentions.
Unfortunately, during its early implementation we are seeing a mass of teething problems, even more than we could have expected. The scheme’s roll out has been likened to a plane being built in flight and we have called it a “shitstorm”.
Current problems range from the ongoing IT mess and poor sector readiness to widespread misinformation and an increasing number of bad individual planning outcomes. Culturally and linguistically diverse people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and those in rural and remote areas are getting a really crappy deal, and the NDIA’s ability to respond may have hit rock bottom with the recent exit of so many senior staff (it must be a pretty unhappy place to work).
You know things are really bad when some families are now telling us they do not want to “join” the NDIS. That would be funny, except that it’s not.
We need leadership that can show integrity, admit to the problems and give all those families reason to believe that things will get better. The NDIS is so important to so many people, it’s infuriating when all we get is self-interested politicians looking to cover their arses or score points. There is a screaming absence of true national leadership in this time of trouble.
The plane has hit turbulence, the toilets do not flush and just when we thought things were pretty bad, it’s become clear that the plane has no pilot.
Bill Shorten showed leadership in the conception and early development of the NDIS. In his budget reply speech he said the NDIS was an “article of faith” for Labor and those that used it “would always be supported”. But when given the chance to guarantee the future of the NDIS by supporting the increase to the Medicare levy, Shorten decided to use his moment as yet another opportunity for political divisiveness and point scoring. He said he would only support the levy on higher income earners, when he had previously supported it on all, when the levy was first introduced by Labor. He of all people knows this is an insurance scheme and everyone should be paying for their potential futures.
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