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NMHCCF Official Statement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Final Report

19 February 2024


In October 2022, the Hon Minister Bill Shorten announced an Independent Review into the NDIS, run by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The NDIS Review released its final report on 7 December 2023, ten years after it was originally legislated. The NDIS Review looked at the design, operations, and sustainability of the NDIS on one hand, and examined ways to build a more responsive, supportive, and sustainable market and workforce on the other.

The NDIS Final Report made 26 recommendations along with 139 actions to be taken by the Australia, State, and Territory governments and their relevant departments. The overarching stated aims of the recommendations are to develop a unified system of support for people with disability, create markets, and support systems that empower people with disability, steward this new united ecosystem with appropriate safeguards and governance mechanisms, and implement this all within a five-year time period.

This summary report by the NMHCCF, informed by a series of consultations with people with psychosocial disability and their family, carers, and kin, was provided to the Review Secretariat on 2 October 2023, with the goal of having all of its recommendations included in the Independent Review’s final report. This was with the ultimate aim of subsequently having the recommendations implemented by the Australian Government to benefit people living with a psychosocial disability and those loving and caring for them.

Summary of Position

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) welcomed the release of the NDIS Review and the intentions behind some of the recommendations made for psychosocial disability. It appreciates the recognition that more foundational supports within the community will better serve those with psychosocial disability, as well as a more humanised planning process. In addition, a mental health system that is better integrated and coordinated will benefit people with psychosocial disability and their family, carers, and kin. However, the Lived Experience community is generally disappointed that service providers have been favoured in the recommendations and feel that their voices were not adequately heard. Choice and control remaining within the Scheme, misunderstanding the meaning of recovery, the reintroduction of independent assessments, and recommending that navigators be employed by service providers are just some examples of the Review failing to sufficiently listen to mental health consumers and carers. Close engagement and ongoing co-design with consumers and carers in the prioritisation, implementation, and evaluation of the recommendations by the Australian Government from here on in is the only way to ensure that the NDIS Review will have been beneficial for those most in need of psychosocial support.

Recommendations in the NDIS Final Report that are Missing or Require Expansion in Implementation

  1. Close engagement and co-design of the NDIS Review recommendations between the Australian Government and people with psychosocial disability and their carers, family, and kin. This is especially vital when implementing the proposed ‘early intervention pathway’ for new participants with psychosocial disability and the design of ‘independent assessments’.
  2. Nationally consistent definitions of the terms ‘psychosocial disability’, which follows that provided in the NMHCCF’s position statement, and ‘psychosocial disability service provider’.
  3. That the NDIS operates from a better understanding of ‘recovery’ as it relates to psychosocial disability, which needs to be considered in the implementation of all actions proposed under Recommendation 7.
  4. Standardisation of peer work certification across the mental health, disability, and social services sectors.
  5. Ensuring that members of the clinical workforce working with individuals with psychosocial disability have the proper education, qualifications, competencies, and skills. The NMHCCF strongly urges that the World Health Organisation (WHO) QualityRights Materials for Training, Guidance, and Transformation for specific mental health and trauma-informed training is mandatorily undertaken by the clinical mental health workforce (Action 27, Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Plan).
  6. The Australian Government broaden its scope of the health workforce capability recommendations to include psychosocial disability upon implementation, and that the National Mental Health Workforce Strategy 2022-2032 be followed as a guide for implementation, which requires it first being adequately resourced and funded.
  7. That NDIS psychosocial planners are compliant with the proposed Psychosocial Practice Standard under Action 7.4. Planners involved in assessments must have set competencies, be well-trained, and be family-inclusive in their practice.
  8. NDIS Navigators for psychosocial disability must be independent from service providers.
  9. Commonwealth, State, and Territory entities to take an approach encompassing the ‘social model of disability’.
  10. The Commonwealth should consider the NDIS Review Final Report and the Disability Royal Commission (DRC) Final Report as a single piece of work and that implementation of the recommendations of both documents is aligned and undertaken simultaneously. This is vitally important because the DRC Final Report makes up for the shortfall of the lack of human rights recommendations in the NDIS Review Final Report. Implementing the recommendations in the NDIS Review Final Report without implementing the human rights recommendations in the DRC Final Report will severely impact people with psychosocial disability, especially in relation to ‘choice and control’ remaining within the scope of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and authorities implementing restrictive practices.
  11. The WHO/OHCHR’s Mental Health, Human Rights, and Legislation: Guidance and Practice should be used by Australian Governments as the legislative lynchpin for psychosocial disability reform.
  12. In alignment with implementing Recommendation 10 above, extending the DRC Final Report’s human rights recommendations to facilities that overwhelmingly affect people with psychosocial disability and mental-ill health. These are namely, forensic psychiatric facilities and mental health inpatient units, which are not covered by international human rights treaties.
  13. Cultural safety recommendations to include CALD communities and cover a wider array of settings than merely criminal justice and the introduction of specific First Nations forensic psychosocial disability services that align with Closing The Gap targets to reduce disproportionate incarceration.
  14. Avoid creating a separate 'foundational support system' in addition to the current mental health, Alcohol and Other Drugs (AoD), suicide prevention, disability, NDIS, and health systems.

NMHCCF Official Statement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Final Report

NMHCCF Official Statement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Final Report