What we mean by an ecosystem of supports
Professor Kirsten Deane OAM
We've heard loud and clear from people with disability, their families and their representative organisations about their frustration on the lack of progress in areas covered by the Australian Disability strategy. We've also heard from just about everyone about the lack of support for people with disability and their families outside the NDIS compared to those who are in it.
We think one of the reasons for that is that support for people with disability and their families are not planned or governed or operated as a whole system. It's just a bit here and just a bit there and it's not all connected. And that's what we said in our what we have heard report. So we really want that to change.
We want to create a whole ecosystem so that everything works together more effectively. And we think the best way to do that is to create a new high level, high status intergovernmental agreement. And while that might sound all a bit bureaucratic and not very exciting, we think it's the best way to bring everyone to the table and commit to real action.
We want a real agreement with real teeth, real accountability and real consequences for failing to act. So what would be covered in this agreement is everything that's currently in the Australian disability strategy. All the things like transport and justice and education. We want to have real targets and be able to take action if they're not met. We also want to make sure other national agreements, like the agreements on education and housing, also have actions in them to meet the needs of people with disability, something that doesn't always happen at the moment.
The agreement would also cover all the bilateral agreements that govern the NDIS, and the last part of the disability agreement is something we're calling foundational supports. Foundation of supports would be some of the things that are currently called tier two or information capacity building ILC. But it would be much, much more. Foundational supports would be disability specific supports available to all people with disability and where appropriate, their families.
It would be things that are currently funded through ILC, like independent information and peer support, but at the moment they're done in a really patchwork short term way and we want them to be provided much more broadly and on a much longer term basis. Foundational supports would also include some limited, individually funded supports for things like shopping and cleaning, and that would be for people who are not eligible for the NDIS. While calling it an ecosystem
sounds all a bit of a mouthful. It's probably best to think about it this way. At the bottom layer of this new ecosystem is universal and mainstream services. We want those to be accessible and inclusive for all people with disability. That doesn't happen at the moment and we really want all of their services to up their game and meet their obligations to people with disability.
Then sitting on top of that would be foundational supports and then right at the top would be individually funded packages provided by the NDIS. So what we're trying to do is two things make sure all people with disability have access to the same mainstream and universal services as every other Australian, and that these services meet their obligations to people with disability.
We're also trying to make sure that there's more support for people with disability who are not eligible for the NDIS. So there's not such a big gap between being in and out of the NDIS. So that's what we mean when we talk about creating a new disability ecosystem.
We’ve talked about the need to re-imagine disability supports outside the scheme, and we are thinking of them as a new of category of community wide ‘foundational supports’.
Currently, there is not enough support for people with disability outside the NDIS. Support for Australians with disability is not planned, funded or governed as a whole ecosystem, which leaves the scheme as the only option for some. We need to think about how supports are delivered to people with disability at every level.
This eco-system working properly is essential for the scheme to work effectively. Looking to the future of the NDIS, this would include:
- The scheme’s individual support packages are provided alongside foundational supports.
- A new disability intergovernmental agreement that leverages national agreements in schools, skills, health, housing and transport.
- All levels of governments developing and implementing a foundational supports investment strategy for all people with disability.
- National commitments to deliver supports for specific groups of disabled people, particularly children with developmental delay and those with psychosocial disability.
Getting the ecosystem of supports right means that people with disability, their families and carers have access to the supports they need, regardless of their eligibility for the scheme.
Public submissions available to view
The NDIS Review panel would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to make a submission. Many comments, discussions and submissions commented on the need to improve the ecosystem. These included:
View the submissions published to date at the NDIS Review website - submissions page.