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A complete and joined up ecosystem of support

We have observed that support for Australians with disability is not planned, funded or governed as a whole ecosystem. There is not enough support for people with disability outside the NDIS. This is unfair and is undermining the sustainability of the NDIS. Which results in people falling through the cracks and missing out on much needed support.

Dougie Heard speaks on the ecosystem that the NDIS is supposed to operates within.

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What you told us is not working

From what you told us we understand:

  • The NDIS is supposed to be one part of an ecosystem that provides disability supports. The ecosystem was meant to:
    • Promote opportunities for people with disability, and create awareness of the issues affecting people with disability and the advantages of inclusion.
    • Inform on effective care and support options, and make referrals to relevant community and mainstream services for a range of community and carer support services for people with lower level or shorter term disabilities.
    • Fund individualised supports.
  • The ecosystem isn’t working as intended. All governments have significantly increased funding for disability services in the last decade – from $8.2 billion in 2012-13 to $31.3 billion in 2021-22. Almost all of this funding has gone to disability funding through the NDIS. In 2021-22, supports within the NDIS made up more than 93% of all disability funding.
  • There is a growing gap between the types of supports available inside and outside of the NDIS. Both adults and children with disability who do not receive funding from the NDIS miss out on the supports they need. This is deeply inequitable.
  • Government services for people with disability are not working together. Services and supports are split between multiple levels of government – federal, state or territory and local. They are also divided up into different systems, departments and agencies.
  • These disconnected systems are hard to navigate and there are gaps, which means people with disability can’t get the supports or assistance they need.
  • More time is spent arguing about who is responsible for what, and who should pay for it, than on making the ecosystem work.
  • The Information, Linkages and Capacity Building program is a short-term grants program and has not provided sufficient investment to match its ambition of delivering projects that benefit all Australians with disability, their families and carers.
  • Local area coordinators and early childhood partners have not been able to support people with disability outside the NDIS or deliver community capacity building and link people to services or community activities as intended.
  • Supports for people who aren’t eligible for NDIS, such as Home and Community Care programs and psychosocial support services, are provided insufficiently and inconsistently across jurisdictions and geographies.
  • There are not enough supports for children outside the NDIS despite growing demand.
  • There has not been enough attention or action in making mainstream services or community programs, services or activities more inclusive and accessible.
  • The Australian Disability Strategy needs to be adequately resourced.

Currently, all three tiers of government do not cooperate or collaborate in order to achieve the best outcome for an individual. There is a push and pull between departments with everyone protecting their funding.

– Organisation

The overwhelming majority of Australians with disability are reliant on programs outside of the NDIS to access supports and services… Many people living with disability struggle to access the support and services they need and must either self-fund or go without.

– Organisation

The failure of tier two has left significant support gaps and seen the closure of many community services. More and more organisations are only interested in offering services to those with NDIS plans and certain line items in those plans.

– Family member or carer

What we want to know now

What is the best way to provide supports for those not in the NDIS?

Prompts to help you answer this question:

  • What services and supports should be available to people with disability outside the NDIS and who should provide them?
  • How can governments work better to deliver a joined up system of inclusion and support for all Australians with disabilities (within and outside the NDIS)?
  • Should some supports be available to all people with disability both in and out of the NDIS?

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