“We are here to listen to you. We want to benefit from your understanding, knowledge, and experience.” Professor Bruce Bonyhady panel co-chair
On 21 February, NDIS Review co-chairs Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM and Lisa Paul AO PSM and panel member Dr Stephen King attended the NDIS and Mental Health Conference in Sydney. Bruce delivered a keynote address ‘A Real Say in the Solutions’ and the panel held workshops to listen to attendees’ experiences and solutions for improving the NDIS.
The nearly 400 attendees included people with psychosocial disability, families and carers, service providers, researchers, the Minister for the NDIS, the Hon Bill Shorten MP and the Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, the Hon Emma McBride MP.
Speaking at the conference, Bruce read excerpts from the more than 700 submissions the Review has received to date. Reflecting that “The NDIS is working well for many, but for some participants and their families the Scheme is not working well at all. In fact, in some cases, it has been a cause of distress and fear.”
Workshops were held to explore and co-design how the experiences of participants with psychosocial disability could shape all aspects of the NDIS. Facilitated by Debbie Hamilton, who has worked over the past 30+ years as a person with a lived experience to improve the treatment of people with mental distress/illness. Panel members sought attendees’ solutions to issues they have heard so far including:
- How can the experience of participants with psychosocial disabilities and mental health, and families and carers, be improved?
- How can the access criteria and required evidence be improved to help clarify who is eligible for the NDIS, with a particular focus on psychosocial disability?
- What should be the role of early intervention/prevention in relation to psychosocial disability, both inside and outside the NDIS?
- What would an effective Tier 2 look like for people with psychosocial disabilities not eligible for the NDIS? What should Tier 2 look like? How should it best support people with psychosocial disability?
The Panel will report back on what they have heard to test their understanding of what you have said and your solutions to improve NDIS supports for people with psychosocial disability.
The conference was organised by Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) and the panel would like to thank CEO Bill Gye for inviting us to be part of the conference, Debbie Hamilton for outstanding facilitation, and attendees for sharing their experiences and solutions.
As Professor Bonyhady said in his speech, “We want to find the best ways to deliver better outcomes – and we need your lived experiences of what is, and is not, working. And – given the tight timelines of the Review – we don’t have a moment to lose.”