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Review Round-Up: 24 February 2023

Fifth edition

Read all editions of the Review Round-Up

A message from the Co-Chairs – Prof Bruce Bonyhady AM & Lisa Paul AO PSM

Welcome to our latest ‘Review Round-up’. We have had a busy start to the year. We have been working on our engagement plan which will create lots more chances to hear directly from you.

Since the start of the Review more than 81,000 people have visited our website. More than 783 individuals and organisations have given us their feedback and ideas. Thank you so much – it all makes an important contribution to our work!

We have also met with many, many people at 178 stakeholder meetings.

In March we will releasing a report with a summary of everything we have heard so far.

On 10 February we attended the Disability Reform Ministerial Council. At that meeting we told Federal and State Ministers how things were going with the Review. We shared our early work on quality and safeguards, steps towards building a more responsive and supportive workforce, and improving access to supports in remote and First Nations communities. The formal communique about the meeting can be found on the Department of Social Services website. More information about our meeting with Ministers and next steps is provided below in this newsletter.

If there are more things you would like to tell us, please visit our website and also watch out for updates.

Best wishes,

Bruce and Lisa
Co-Chairs, NDIS Review

Where are we up to

Last week Bruce and panel member Stephen King met with South Australian (SA) representatives of disability and community organisations as well as officials from the SA government. Lisa and panel member Kevin Cocks met with Queensland (QLD) disability and community sector representatives and officials from the QLD Government. At all of the meeting we heard about all the problems people experienced with the NDIS and other systems. We talked about how the Review should prioritise our work. We also asked representative groups about ways to make sure the views of people with disability and families remain at the centre of all our work. As always, we learnt a lot.

Bruce also attended the National Early Years Strategy Summit in Canberra. The Summit looked at a vision for the early years of all Australian children. People at the Summit talked about the importance of development in the early years, how to improve outcomes for children and families and the need for universal entitlement to early childhood services. Bruce was very pleased to hear that all children with disability were seen as a very important group which should be supported through the new Early Years Strategy.

NDIS Review panel member Kevin Cocks and co-chair Lisa Paul with 15 disability and community organisation representatives

NDIS Review panel member Kevin Cocks (seated far left) and Review co-chair Lisa Paul (seated next to Kevin) with disability and community organisation representatives at a meeting in Brisbane on 16 February.

Our meeting with Disability Reform Ministers

We attended the recent meeting of the Disability Reform Ministers Council where we let Ministers know about our early work on quality and safeguards, workforce, and improving access to supports for people with disability in remote and First Nations communities.

Disability Reform Ministers stand in front of a large screen hosting other council meeting attendees

Disability Reform Ministers Council Meeting considers NDIS Review early findings
Left to right: The Hon Natasha Maclaren-Jones MLC, Ms Emma Davidson MLA, The Hon Nat Cook MP, The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, The Hon Bill Shorten MP, The Hon Lizzie Blandthorn MP, The Hon Craig Crawford MP.
Pictured on screen behind: Mr Dylan Alcott AO, Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM, Mr Kurt Fearnley AO, The Hon Don Punch MLA, The Hon Ngaree Ah Kit MLA, The Hon Jo Palmer MLC

Quality and Safeguards

We have been reviewing the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework. The Framework was put in place in 2016, and talks about what needs to be done to make NDIS supports safe and good quality. We are thinking about what has worked well and not worked well in the Framework. It seems clear that the Framework needs updating and we will be asking you about what you think needs to be changed in the next few months.

Steps towards building a more responsive and supportive workforce

The commitment of NDIS workers, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic, has been essential to delivering quality supports in the NDIS.

The number of people working in the disability sector has grown substantially, with the NDIS workforce more than doubling over the past seven years. Even so, participants and providers face difficulties finding and keeping workers.

Workers, unions, and providers have told us about the challenges with the high numbers of workers leaving their jobs. Many NDIS workers are feeling burnt out. Jobs can be short term, with poor conditions and poor career prospects.

Similar challenges are felt across the care and support sector in aged and veterans’ care.

We talked to Disability Reform Ministers about the benefits of all governments working together to take action to grow a capable care and support workforce. We spoke to Ministers about testing new approaches to attract, train and retain workers in the sector. We also spoke about practical ways to make it easier for new workers to take up NDIS jobs.

This is just the first step. We have heard that the way the NDIS is set-up and operates is not always leading to quality NDIS supports or jobs. We will continue to explore ways to improve the Scheme with you over the next few months.

Improving access to supports in remote and First Nations communities

The NDIS has provided many participants with greater choice and control in their lives.

This is not the case for all participants. Gaps in services is leaving too many First Nations and remote participants without enough support.

A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to delivering the NDIS is not working. Past reviews have already heard from First Nations stakeholders calling for a different approach to access culturally appropriate, sustainable supports.

We talked to Disability Reform Ministers about the need to work in partnership with First Nations and remote communities on ways to select and fund providers that work best for them – to improve access to culturally safe supports where participants live, from people who are part of their community.

Over the coming months, we will continue to work with First Nations representatives, communities and governments on how these approaches and partnerships could be implemented in the NDIS.

Having your say

The Review is focused on ensuring that we are putting people at the centre of the NDIS. To do that we need to hear from you. In March we will releasing a plan which shows how we will reach out to people with lived experience, providers, peak bodies and government across Australia. Visit our website for updates.

Or you can have your say at anytime by visiting Have your say.

Out and about

In the coming weeks the chairs and panel will be talking with people with a disability, their families and carers, and other stakeholders across Australia.

Professor Lisa Brophy, Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM and Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM at the 4th National NDIS & Mental Health Conference

4th National NDIS & Mental Health Conference    
Left to right: Professor Lisa Brophy Discipline Lead Social Work La Trobe University, Professor Bruce Bonyhady AM Review co-chair, Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM Review co-chair.
  • Bruce delivered a keynote address at the 4th National NDIS & Mental Health Conference. Bruce, Lisa and Stephen will also be particpated in workshops at the conference with consumers, carers and providers focussing on understanding the experiences and perspective of people with lived experience. 20 – 21 Feb Sydney, NSW.
  • Kirsten attended the VALiD Having a Say Conference listening to people’s experiences and ideas for improving the NDIS. Geelong, Tuesday, 20-21 Feb.

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